Memphis hires Arizona State OC Mike Norvell as next head coach

Memphis has hired Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell as its next head coach, according to a source. Norvell replaces Justin Fuente, who left for Virginia Tech.
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Memphis has hired Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell as its next head coach, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. He replaces Justin Fuente, who left Memphis for Virginia Tech earlier this week.

Norvell, 34, is considered one of the sharpest young offensive minds in the country, as he’s run Arizona State’s high-powered spread offense for the past four years. In Norvell’s first three seasons at Arizona State, his offenses averaged 38.4 points per game, which put them in the top 10 nationally over that span.

Norvell was promoted to deputy head coach at Arizona State in December, 2013 and commanded a $900,000 salary as an Arizona State assistant.

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Norvell wasn’t as hot of a name this season as in past years, as Arizona State went just 6–6 after starting the season with great expectations. But it’s hard to argue with Norvell’s body of work, as he emerged as a candidate for head coaching jobs last season. Colorado State and Tulsa expressed interest in him last year.

Arizona State coach Todd Graham told SI previously that Norvell is the best assistant coach he’s ever worked with. That’s high praise considering his former assistants include Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, SMU coach Chad Morris and Houston offensive coordinator Major Applewhite. “Mike is the best assistant football coach I've ever had," Graham said. "He's the total package when it comes to understanding offense, defense and then recruiting. He's just off the charts."