Arizona State Spotlight: Kenny Dillingham

The 2023 Arizona State Sun Devils are under new leadership, a young up and coming, home grown coach by the name of Kenny Dillingham.

Under the old regime of Herm Edwards the Sun Devils struggled with the “NFL style leadership model” Edwards brought to the valley. Although consistent for the most part, not in a good way, the Edwards era underperformed drastically culminating with a non-conference loss to Eastern Michigan 30-21 at home and ending his tenure with an overall record of 26-20.

Thus leading to the arrival of Kenny Dillingham. Dillingham has deep roots to the state of Arizona, coaching at powerhouse Chapparal high school as an offensive coordinator while attending Arizona State for interdisciplinary studies, he met soon to be Sun Devil OC Mike Norvell. Norvell, not to long after the move up to ASU brought Dillingham in as an offensive assistant in 2014. The Sun Devils went 10-3 that year and were ranked as high as #6 in the nation before falling to Oregon State in Corvallis.

From there Dillingham followed Norvell to Memphis, helping them post back to back years of top 5 offenses in 2017 and 2018, as well as starting to make a name for himself on the recruiting trail, being ranked in the top 5 best recruiters in the country across multiple seasons.

After his continued success, others started to take notice, and in 2019 Dillingham was brought in by Gus Malzahn and Auburn to be their offensive coordinator. During his only year the tigers went 9-3 and had the most improved offense in the SEC, while Dillingham also headlined as one of the best recruiters in the country.

After his lone season at Auburn, he reunited with Norvell who took over the head coaching position at Florida State. Dillingham’s tenure there was also short lived before joining Oregon in 2021 under head coach Dan Lanning.

Then in the fall of 2022 his opportunity had come, to return home and lead his alma mater, and to the delight of Sun Devil nation he accepted. Dillingham is a proven offensive mind and top tier recruiter and has what it takes to bring the Sun Devils back to prominence and out of mediocrity. At the age of 33 he is the youngest head coach in college football, and although the first couple years may be slow he has the potential to build and bring a dynasty to the desert, with the rally cry to “Activate the Valley!” Arizona State might have there hands on someone special to transform the culture and re-vitalize the tradition that is Sun Devil football!