Almost immediately after longtime Texas coach Mack Brown resigned Saturday, speculation began that Arizona State coach Graham could be a candidate for the job in Austin.
The connections are there, as Graham has deep Texas roots — he was born and raised in the Dallas suburb of Mesquite and coached high school football in the state before getting his first college head coaching job at Rice — and came to ASU under now-Texas athletic director Steve Patterson.
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Any such move, however, would be extremely complicated. Upon his exit, Patterson agreed not to hire any Arizona State coach at Texas, reportedly for five years. While there would presumably be ways around that, ASU president Michael Crow has said he would pursue legal action if Texas came after Graham.
That has not stopped pundits from including Graham’s name among possible candidates, with at least two doing Saturday night. But Graham on Sunday said he does not pay attention to such lists and isn’t distracted by speculation.
“I don’t worry about stuff I can’t control,” Graham said. “I’m focused on our team, these seniors, enjoying my time with them and getting us ready to go be bowl champions. I don’t worry or spend any time on stuff like that.”
Graham also expressed great respect for Brown, whom Graham admired while coaching high school teams in Texas.
“Coach Brown is a tremendous person and a great coach,” Graham said. “One of the great people in this business that really cares about his players (and) runs a program with great integrity. Tremendous influence on other coaches, and I know I have tremendous respect for him. The service he’s given to young people and his players over the years is phenomenal. Tremendous coach and a coaching legend.”