Trying to follow the success Justin Fuente had in reviving Memphis' program, the Tigers are going with another young offensive coordinator in Arizona State's Mike Norvell as their new head football coach.
A person with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press that Norvell will be Memphis' coach. University President Dr. M. David Rudd wrote on Twitter late Thursday afternoon that he hired a ''great football coach'' who would be introduced at a news conference Friday. That coach is Norvell, according to a person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the hiring hasn't been announced yet.
The Commercial Appeal in Memphis first reported Norvell's hiring.
The 34-year-old Norvell replaces Justin Fuente, who was hired by Virginia Tech on Sunday after four years at Memphis. Fuente came to Memphis after a stint as TCU's co-offensive coordinator.
Norvell will take over a program in much better shape than what Fuente found. The Tigers had gone 5-31 during the three years before Fuente was hired. The Tigers went 10-3 in Fuente's third season, won a bowl game and finished No. 25 in the Top 25 for the first end-of-season ranking in Memphis' history.
Fuente left the Tigers with a 9-3 record and bowl-bound again, though he won't coach them in that game. The Tigers averaged 510.4 yards per game and scored 42.6 points a game. Memphis is working on an indoor practice facility, and local officials are talking about further improvements to the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Norvell may have to replace redshirt junior Paxton Lynch, the quarterback who threw for 3,670 yards with 28 touchdowns and only three interceptions this season.
Norvell has run the Sun Devils' offense for the last four years under coach Todd Graham and was promoted to deputy head coach in December 2013. Norvell started coaching as an offensive graduate assistant at Central Arkansas where he started all four seasons and was the school's career receptions leader.
He joined Graham at Tulsa as a graduate offensive assistant and receivers coach and had only worked for Graham since then, following the coach from Tulsa to Pittsburgh to Arizona State.
This season, Arizona State (6-6) averaged 474 yards and 33.8 points.