Arizona State athletic director Ray Anderson resigns after nearly a decade

Ray Anderson is stepping down after nearly a decade as Arizona State’s athletic director.

Anderson will remain at the school as a professor of practice and senior advisor at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

“It has been a privilege to serve as ASU’s athletic director for nearly a decade,” Anderson said in a statement Monday. “We have entered an unprecedented era where the number and magnitude of changes in the college sports landscape are astounding.

“As I approach my seventh decade of life, these are not matters that my leadership would be able to corral during my tenure. Continuity of leadership will be needed, and I am choosing to step aside to let the university find that leader.”

Jim Rund, ASU senior vice president for educational outreach and student services, will serve as interim athletic director. Rund was the interim athletic director when Steve Patterson left for the University of Texas in 2013.

A former NFL executive and agent, Anderson was hired in 2014 to reshape Arizona State athletics. He was instrumental in the school’s decision to leave the Pac-12 for the Big 12 next year and helped land one of the largest naming rights deals in college sports history when Sun Devil Stadium became Mountain America Stadium.

Anderson also took criticism for the hiring of former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, who was fired three games into his fifth season in 2022. Edwards, one of Anderson’s former clients as an agent, had not coached in a decade and had not coached in college since 1989 at the time of his hiring, which the school also trumpeted as the debut of a new “CEO model” in how the leadership of the football program was structured. Anderson said at the time the model would mimic that of NFL teams.

Edwards and Anderson were also at the helm when the NCAA began investigating the football program for illegal recruiting practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation prompted a self-imposed bowl ban by the school for the 2023 season. 

ASU is currently 2-7 and in the midst of a rebuild under first-year head coach Kenny Dillingham, a 33-year-old Phoenix-area native and ASU graduate who was hired last December amid strong support from boosters.

Anderson is also responsible for the key hirings in ASU’s other major sports — current men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley, current women’s basketball head coach Natasha Adair and current baseball head coach Willie Bloomquist.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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