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December 18, 2013

Graham, Norvell committed to ASU



Arizona State coach Todd Graham issued a strong declaration of his intent to remain at the school Tuesday and a day later the school issued a release that his right-hand man will be returning as well.

There's a lot of stuff out there, and I'm kind of getting tired of it," Graham said of persistent rumors of his candidacy for the head job at Texas. "We are committed to be here, to build a top-five national power. I'm tired of it. I'm not talking to anybody, I'm not going to talk to anybody. That's what we're doing. We're focused on that.

"We're putting together the top recruiting class in the league and doing some great things, and obviously when you're doing those things a lot of people don't think of anything but negative things to say. But the reality of that is just absolutely false."

Graham was asked about the Texas position specifically Sunday and was more diplomatic in his response, but after several recruits told ASUDevils.com that rival Pac-12 schools were telling them Graham might be leaving -- allegations which Graham did not address specifically -- he became more adamant.

"I hate even commenting on stuff like that, but I'm getting tired of it," Graham said. "We're looking forward to taking this thing to the next level, and that's top 10, top five in the country."

Two recruits, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said multiple coaches brought up Graham's status and Texas specifically in an effort to destabilize their commitment to the program.

One offensive prospect also said that a college recruiter told him that ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell would likely be leaving to take another position, possibly a head coaching job.

That appears almost certain to not be the case after ASU announced Wednesday that Norvell, 32, had been promoted to deputy head coach by ASU in a deal that includes a contract further improved from the raise to $500,000 per year he had already received this year.

"In addition to his offensive prowess, coach Norvell is one of the greatest teachers I've ever worked with," Graham said. "Character, discipline and work ethic are all ideals he not only stresses, but holds himself to as well. His ability to connect and motivate young people is unparalleled, and I'm looking forward to coaching with him for many years to come."

In a rare if not unprecedented move, ASU President Dr. Michael Crow commented on the announcement of Norvell's promotion in a media release issued by the school.

"I am committed to the long-term success of this program under the leadership of Todd Graham," Crow said. "Rewarding the skills of a master teacher like Mike Norvell is a demonstration of that commitment. Coach Norvell's performance as offensive coordinator has been nationally recognized, and this promotion reflects the remarkable track record he has established in the last two years at ASU."

Norvell joined Graham's staff at Tulsa as a graduate assistant and receivers coach in 2008 and became his co-offensive coordinator at Pittsburgh in 2011.

Norvell's significant raise to $500,000 per year came after he turned down an opportunity become Auburn coach Gus Malzahn's offensive coordinator following the 2012 season, his first at ASU.

This year, Norvell was nominated for the Broyles Award, given to nation's most outstanding assistant football coach, and his offense finished the regular season ranked No. 9 nationally in scoring.


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