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Herm Edwards brings number of black coaches in FBS to 12

Arizona State taps former NFL coach, player and analyst to lead its program

Herm Edwards, the former NFL cornerback, coach and ESPN analyst, is the new head football coach at Arizona State.

Edwards brings the number of African-American coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) to 12. Going into the 2017 college football season, 13 of 128 teams in the FBS were led by black coaches. With the firing of Kevin Sumlin from Texas A&M and Paul Haynes’ dismissal from Kent State, that number dropped to 11 before Arizona State announced Edwards’ hiring on Sunday.

Sumlin is reported to be the top choice for Central Florida, which just lost coach Scott Frost to his alma mater, Nebraska, after Central Florida completed a perfect season and won the American Athletic Conference title game.

Edwards was to be introduced at a news conference Monday morning. The former Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Rams defensive back will become the 24th head coach in the Sun Devils’ history. Arizona State fired Todd Graham after six seasons.

“Passion for my faith, my family and my occupation as a football coach are the things that have driven me back to the grass,” Edwards said in a statement released by the school. “My personal commitment to build young men to be whole people through the game of football is completely in alignment with the vision President Michael Crow and Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson have for this program. I stand ready for the challenge of working with them to elevate Sun Devil Football. I am very excited and humbled to be the Arizona State head football coach.”

“During my years with and around the NFL, there is not a more respected man that has the passion for the game of football like that of Herm Edwards,” Anderson said. “I have no doubt his ability to lead, inspire and develop young men will translate into his staff and into recruiting, and I’m confident he is the visionary and leader we need to command this new ASU football model.”

The 63-year-old has most recently coached in the Under Armour All-America Game, which some of the country’s best high school recruits play in, for the past eight years. Edwards last coached in the pros in 2008, when the Kansas City Chiefs finished 2-14 and he was subsequently fired. He also served as head coach of the New York Jets. Edwards coached his teams to the postseason four times.

Edwards spent 18 years as a scout, position and assistant coach before being hired as a head coach. It’s been almost 30 years since he coached the cornerbacks at San Jose State in 1989.

After stops at Cal and San Diego State as a player, Edwards made his way to the pros as an undrafted free agent and had a 10-year career and Super Bowl XV appearance with the Eagles. The corner didn’t miss a single game during his nine-year tenure with Philadelphia, including starting all 16 games in seven of nine seasons.

But Edwards may be most famously tied to how teams end the game with the victory formation.

With the New York Giants leading 17-12 with seconds remaining, Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik fumbled the handoff and Edwards did a scoop-and-score to give the Eagles a 19-17 victory in 1978. The play became known as “The Miracle at the Meadowlands.”

In 2016, African-American players made up 53.8 percent of student-athletes at the Division I level in FBS football, while black coaches made up only 10.1 percent of their respective category.

The black coaches in FBS, including Edwards:

  • James Franklin, Penn State
  • David Shaw, Stanford
  • Charlie Strong, South Florida
  • Willie Taggart, Oregon
  • Derek Mason, Vanderbilt
  • Dino Babers, Syracuse
  • Lovie Smith, Illinois
  • Frank Wilson, Texas, San Antonio
  • Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina
  • Mike Jinks, Bowling Green
  • Everett Withers, Texas State
  • Herm Edwards, Arizona State

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.