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Sources: Arizona St. to hire John Simon as new RB coach

Louisiana-Lafayette wide receivers coach John Simon will be the new running backs coach for Arizona State coach Todd Graham, according to sources.

It’s a reuniting of Simon and new Sun Devils offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Chip Lindsey. The duo spent the past two seasons together in their current roles at Southern Miss.

Simon replaces former Arizona State running backs coach Kodi Burns, who left after just over a month to become Auburn’s wide receivers coach. Simon departed Southern Miss early this month to become Louisiana-Lafayette’s wide receivers coach.

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This past season was Simon’s third as running backs coach at Southern Miss. It was also his best as the Golden Eagles had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Ito Smith (1,128 yards and 10 touchdowns on 171 carries) and Jalen Richard (1,098 yards and 14 touchdowns on 185 carries). 

The duo helped propel the program to the Conference USA championship game and its first bowl game since 2011. Prior to Southern Miss, the 37-year-old Simon was at Franklin D. Roosevelt High in Dallas for five years, the last of which was as the school’s athletic director. 

Before that, he was the football team’s interim head coach and athletic director for a year after being assistant athletic director while coaching special teams and the secondary in 2010. He was Roosevelt High’s assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2009 and the school’s receivers coach in 2008. 

Simon’s also a renowned motivational speaker, who has his own nonprofit organization called I.M.A.G.E., which is focused on improving minority areas and speaking to at-risk youth. He was a running back for the Tennessee Titans in 2002 and Washington Redskins in 2003 after a standout career at Louisiana Tech from 1998 through 2001.

Arizona State had a 6-7 record this season, the first losing campaign of Graham’s four-year tenure after back-to-back 10-wins seasons. He has a 34-19 record with the Sun Devils.