HomeSportsSources: 4 ASU coaches out amid NCAA probe

Sources: 4 ASU coaches out amid NCAA probe

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Four Arizona State assistants, including offensive coordinator Zak Hill, are no longer with the football program amid the NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations within the program, sources told ESPN.

Hill, who coached with the team during the 2021 season, resigned his position, according to sources.

Wide receivers coach Prentice Gill, secondary coach Chris Hawkins and tight ends coach Adam Breneman, who all were placed on administrative leave last summer when the NCAA investigation began, also are out. Gill and Hawkins were fired, while Breneman resigned, according to sources. All four coaches were implicated in the alleged violations, which occurred after the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Arizona State on Jan. 19 announced the hiring of Aaron Fletcher from Missouri as its new defensive backs coach. Juston Wood and Bobby Wade, who coached tight ends and wide receivers on an interim basis during the 2021 season, on Friday were elevated to full-time roles for the 2022 season. Neither Wood nor Wade have been implicated in the NCAA probe, sources said. Arizona State has started its search for Hill’s replacement. Former NFL coach Brian Billick, whom Arizona State hired Monday as an offensive analyst and adviser to head coach Herm Edwards, will not serve as offensive coordinator, according to a source.

Sources told ESPN that part of the NCAA’s investigation involves Arizona State hosting prospects during the recruiting dead period, which lasted from March 2020 to June 1, 2021. FBS programs were prohibited from having recruits on campus during that period. Several sources in the Pac-12 told ESPN that Arizona State also faces allegations about recruiting practices that occurred when the dead period ended, including possible improper contact with prospects at an off-campus recruiting camp in June.

Sources told ESPN that the departed Arizona State coaches implicated in the dead-period recruiting allegations have yet to speak with NCAA investigators.

Devils Digest first reported the Arizona State coaching changes. According to 247 Sports, Gill is planning to file a wrongful termination claim against the university.

Arizona State announced immediately after the regular season that Edwards, 67, would return as head coach in 2022. Defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce, who is also part of the NCAA investigation and did not participate in off-campus recruiting in 2021, also remains in his role.

Information from ESPN’s Pete Thamel was used in this report.

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