American Football Database
For the Australian ice hockey player, see Todd Graham (ice hockey).
Todd Graham
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamArizona State
Biographical details
Born (1964-12-05) December 5, 1964 (age 57)
Mesquite, Texas
Playing career
1983–1986East Central
Position(s)Defensive back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Poteet (TX) HS (Assistant)
East Central (DC)
Midwest City (OK) Carl Albert HS
Allen (TX) HS
West Virginia (LB)
West Virginia (co-DC)
Tulsa (DC)
Arizona State
Head coaching record
Overall57–34 (college)
College Football Data Warehouse
Accomplishments and honors
3 C-USA West Division (2007–2008, 2010)

Todd Graham (born December 5, 1964) is an American football coach and former player. He is currently the head football coach at Arizona State University, a position he assumed in December 2011.[1] Graham previously served as the head football coach at Rice University (2006), the University of Tulsa (2007–2010), and the University of Pittsburgh (2011).

Playing career

Graham was an all-district defensive back at North Mesquite High School, from which he graduated in 1983. He then went on to play at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, where he was a two-time All-NAIA defensive back. After graduation from East Central, Graham had a brief stint with the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL.[2]

Coaching career

Graham began his coaching career in 1988 as an assistant at Poteet High School in his hometown of Mesquite. He later held head coaching positions at Carl Albert High School in Midwest City, Oklahoma, and Allen High School in Allen, Texas before becoming linebackers coach under Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia University in 2001.[3] The following season Graham was assigned to defensive co-coordinator.

In 2003, he was hired by Steve Kragthorpe as the defensive coordinator at Tulsa, where he helped guide the Golden Hurricane to two bowl games in three seasons. Graham built one of the best defensive units in Conference USA and the nation before leaving the position following his third year at Tulsa for his first head coaching stint.


Graham was hired as the head coach at Rice on January 1, 2006, following the resignation of long-time coach Ken Hatfield after the Owls had finished 1–10 in 2005. At Rice, athletic director Chris Del Conte helped Graham raise $5.5 million for renovating Rice Stadium and replacing the dated AstroTurf with FieldTurf. He hired former University of Texas quarterback Major Applewhite as his offensive coordinator,[4] replacing the triple option offense Hatfield had been running with a more balanced attack. Behind quarterback Chase Clement and All-American receiver Jarett Dillard, Rice pulled off the biggest turnaround of the 2006 season, finishing 7–5 and earning an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl, the school's first bowl game since 1960. Graham was named Conference USA Coach of the Year, and was rewarded by the Rice administration with the offer of a significant pay raise and contract extension.[5] After signing this extension, Graham left for Tulsa only a few days after. Graham received much criticism for this move. On November 24, 2007, when Tulsa played Rice at Rice Stadium, the Rice University Marching Owl Band presented a halftime show named "Todd Graham's Inferno"[6] (based on Dante's "The Divine Comedy"). This resulted in a formal protest to Conference USA by Tulsa's athletic department. Chuck Throckmorton, the marching band's director, later apologized for offending anyone, but not for the show.[7][8] Following Graham's exodus, Rice hired David Bailiff, who led Rice to its 2008 Texas Bowl victory.


When the Tulsa head coaching position was vacant following the 2002 season, Todd Graham sent in his application. But it was not until five years later that Graham would take over the reins as the Golden Hurricane head coach. After serving three years as Tulsa defensive coordinator and one year as Rice head coach, Graham was introduced as Tulsa's new head football coach on January 12, 2007.[9] He is the 27th head football coach in Golden Hurricane history. For his offensive coordinators, Graham turned to his good friend Gus Malzahn, then offensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas,[10] as well as then WVU tight ends coach Herb Hand.[11] He also hired former Tulsa quarterback and Tulsa Union HS coach Bill Blankenship as wide receivers coach.

With an annual salary of $1.1 million Graham was the second highest-paid coach in Conference USA, behind SMU's June Jones in 2010.


Graham was announced as Pittsburgh's head coach on January 10, 2011,[12] and subsequently led the team to a disappointing 6–6 regular season later that fall. Less than one year from his hiring, on the evening of December 13, Graham informed Athletic Director Steve Pederson that he had discussed a head coaching opportunity at Arizona State.[13] After being informed he did not have permission to talk to the school about the job and refusing conversations with Pederson and another administrator, Graham resigned and subsequently accepted the head coaching job at Arizona State University.[14] Graham informed the Pitt players of his departure the following day by having a text message forwarded to the team by director of football operations Blair Philbrick.[15] Two weeks prior to leaving the University of Pittsburgh, Graham referred to assistant coaches who left to join the staff of Rich Rodriguez at Arizona as "nothing but mercenaries."[16] In later interviews, Graham claimed those comments were taken out of context. He said he wasn't referring to the coaches who left Pittsburgh and that he was having a conversation with reporters generally about college football coaching and said, "A lot of times coaches jump around everywhere, they're like mercenaries."[17]

The style in which Graham left, in combination with his quick departures from other universities, lead to criticism of Graham in both local and national media[18][19][20][21][22] and led ESPN writer Mark Schlabach to title him as "The King of Liars."[23] University of Pittsburgh players also openly criticized Graham for his quick departure. Defensive tackle Chas Alecxih said most players were "shocked and appalled." Wide receiver Devin Street's comments were a little more severe stating, "It's been all a lie this whole time. Everything he told us has been a lie." Another one of Graham's players at the time senior offensive tackle Lucas Nix stated that he felt Graham's exiting text message wasn't worthy of the trust the team had put into Graham and his program. "We put our trust in him, and all he could do was send us a text message," Nix said.[24]

Arizona State

Graham was announced as Arizona State University's head coach on December 14th, 2011.[25] In his first season at Arizona State, the Sun Devils went 8-5 securing their first winning season since 2007. With a win in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against the Navy Midshipmen, the 2012 Sun Devils won the final three games of the season for the first time since 1978.[26] ESPN's Pac-12 Blog writer Tedd Miller called Todd Graham's first season at Arizona State an "unquestioned success." [27]

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Rice Owls (Conference USA) (2006)
2006 Rice 7–6 6–2 2nd (West) L New Orleans
Rice: 7–6 6–2
Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Conference USA) (2007–2010)
2007 Tulsa 10–4 6–3 1st (West) W GMAC
2008 Tulsa 11–3 7–2 T–1st (West) W GMAC
2009 Tulsa 5–7 3–5 3rd (West)
2010 Tulsa 10–3 6–2 T–1st (West) W Hawai'i 24
Tulsa: 36–17 22–12
Pittsburgh Panthers (Big East Conference) (2011)
2011 Pittsburgh 6–6 4–3 T–4th BBVA CompassA
Pittsburgh: 6–6 4–3
Arizona State Sun Devils (Pacific-12 Conference) (2012–present)
2012 Arizona State 8–5 5–4 T–2nd (South) W Fight Hunger
Arizona State: 8–5 5–4
Total: 57–34
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
  • ^A Graham resigned before Pittsburgh's 2011 bowl game.


  3. Head Football Coach Todd Graham Happy to be at TU
  4. Applewhite named offensive coordinator at Rice
  5. Graham strikes deal in contract extension
  6. Todd Graham's Inferno
  7. Rice band's 'Todd Graham's Inferno' not a hit with Tulsa,
  8. Rice band director apologizes for Graham routine
  9. Graham leaving Rice for Tulsa job
  10. Gus Malzahn Leaves Arkansas
  11. Hand Leaves West Virginia For Tulsa
  12. Zeise, Paul; Brink, Bill (2010-01-11). "Pitt's search ends with hiring of Tulsa's Graham". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA). Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  13. "Keith Patterson Named Interim Coach for Pitt Football". 2011-12-14. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  14. Zeiss, Paul (2011-12-15). "Graham leaves Pitt for Arizona St.". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  15. "Todd Graham to coach Sun Devils". 2011-12-14. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  16. Zeise, Paul (2011-12-15). "Graham leaves Pitt for Arizona State". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  18. Ford, Pat (2011-12-15). "Graham’s classless departure for ASU nothing new". Yahoo! Sports.;_ylt=AqHA7cqj0spXI2VaQtt0E4I5nYcB?slug=pf-forde_graham_quits_pitt_asu_121511. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  19. Adelson, Andrea (2011-12-14). "Pitt has to start over -- again". Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  20. Solomon, Jerome (2011-12-15). "Todd Graham makes another despicable decision". Houston Chronicle ( Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  21. Morgan, Craig (2011-12-15). "Graham's actions belie talk of 'character'". Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  22. Collier, Gene (2011-12-14). "Pitt was a dry run for Graham". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  23. Schlabach, Mark (2011-12-15). "Todd Graham lacked sincerity". Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  24. DiPaola, Jerry (12-14-2011). Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 12-20-2012.
  25. "Todd Graham Profile". Arizona State University. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2012-09-14.
  26. [:// "ASU football routs Navy in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl"]. azcentral sports. 2012-12-29.
    // Retrieved 2013-1-2.
  27. [:// "Pac-12 Power Rankings Week 14"]. ESPN. 2012-11-26.
    // Retrieved 2012-11-27.

External links