By now, you know that Todd Graham is the new head football coach for the University of Hawaii. You know that he has led programs at Rice, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State. You probably know that he has an overall95 head coaching record of 95-61 (5-4 in bowl games). If you heard the press conference this afternoon on ESPN Honolulu, you know that he counts former UH head coach Dick Tomey as one of his mentors.
But what were some of Graham’s best moments in his 12 previous years as a head coach? We dug into the record books and came up with Todd Graham’s five greatest coaching victories.
Nov. 25, 2006
RICE 31, SMU 27
Graham wasn’t an overnight success as a college football head coach. In fact, the Rice Owls started the 2006 season by losing four straight games. However, after notching his first W – a resounding 48-14 victory over Army – Graham told his players that they were just getting started, and that they would wind up in a postseason bowl game. He made good on that pledge, as the Owls defeated SMU in the regular-season finale to become bowl eligible and earn an invite to the New Orleans Bowl. It was the program’s first bowl bid since 1961.
Jan. 6, 2008
TULSA 63, BOWLING GREEN 7
Graham capped his first season with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in a big way, leading the Golden Hurricane to their tenth of the season. It was the first time the program reached 10 victories since 1991. QB Paul Smith passed for 312 yards and 5 TDs and set an NCAA record for consecutive games with at least 300 passing yards (14).
Oct. 18, 2008
TULSA 77, UTEP 35
The Golden Hurricane’s historic win over the Miners represented more than just a lopsided win. The victory meant that Tulsa would remain undefeated (7-0) to start the season. “I would be very surprised if we’re not [ranked],” Graham told reporters after the game. “I think we’re very well-deserving.” He was right. Tulsa would land at the No. 19 spot the in the next poll.
ON THE DOORSTEP
Nov. 30, 2013
ARIZONA STATE 58, ARIZONA 21
By thumping arch-rival Arizona in the final game of the regular season, Graham’s Sun Devils earned the right to host Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game. Although ASU fell to the Cardinal (38-14), the 2013 season was an unqualified success for the program. The Sun Devils beat Wisconsin, USC, Washington, UCLA and Utah that year. Graham was named the Pac-12’s “Coach of the Year.”
TAKING THE FIGHT TO THE FIGHTING IRISH
Nov. 9, 2014
ARIZONA STATE 55, NOTRE DAME 31
In a clash of Top 10 teams, No. 9 ASU blitzed No. 10 Notre Dame in front of a sold-out crowd at Sun Devil Stadium. The victory was ASU’s first over the Fighting Irish. It was also the first win over a Top 10 school since 2002. Said Graham after the game: “It makes a big statement that we can beat a very good football team. We have not reached any of our goals, but that has been the biggest win we have had since I have been here.”
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