When Dowell Loggains was hired at Arkansas in June 2021, the move was seen as curious across the football world. Sure, Loggains had played quarterback at Arkansas, in a third-string role, and the Newport native certainly had ties to the Razorbacks’ program. But going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a tight ends coach at a struggling college program seemed like a strange fit.
Loggains’ reputation, fairly or otherwise, did take a hit those years in the NFL. He was a wunderkind of sorts early on with the Tennessee Titans, going from quality control assistant in 2008 to getting the offensive coordinator job in 2012 as a 31-year-old. From there, it was off to the Browns for a season of coaching quarterbacks, then to Chicago for a gig as QB coach and OC until 2017, one season in Miami with the Dolphins running their offensive show and 2019 and 2020 in New York with the Jets.
Trading the fishbowl of New York for the foothills of the Boston Mountains made sense in one way, anyway. The New York media is quite a bit harsher than the Razorbacks’ daily beat. Loggains had pedigree and geography on his side when he joined coach Sam Pittman’s staff. He’s done a dynamite job in turning Trey Knox, who was a wide receiver in the head coach’s doghouse upon Loggains’ arrival, into a borderline All-SEC-type tight end.
Now, it turns out, his phone is ringing again.
Loggains a Head Coach Candidate?
Loggains is being pushed by former players at the school to become the next head coach at Arizona State – the school most outside of Arkansas associate with “A-State” or “ASU” – per a report by CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd.
The Sun Devils are a program in strife. Not quite as bad as Arkansas was when Pittman took over permanently for Chad Morris following Morris’ two disastrous seasons in Fayetteville. Herm Edwards led Arizona State football to three bowls in his four complete seasons, including an 8-5 record last year. But, internally, issues were everywhere. The same month Loggains was hired at Arkansas, ASU went under investigation from the NCAA regarding recruiting during the COVID dead period. And following last year’s eight-win season, several coaches left and 17 players entered the transfer portal. Two weeks ago, Edwards was let go after his team lost to moribund Eastern Michigan.
One thing Loggains doesn’t bring is baggage. Edwards was always a face, a talker. When you went to Arizona State, you went to play for Herm Edwards, former Jets and Chiefs head coach and former NFL analyst for ESPN. If someone goes to play for Dowell Loggains, you’re going to play for the man best known for carrying a clipboard on the sidelines following Houston Nutt and the Arkansas offensive coaches around on the Hogs sidelines.
OK, not really. Loggains is mostly known for his whiz-kid persona he developed in more than a decade in the NFL. Here in Arkansas, college football is king. But across the country, NFL rules the roost and it really isn’t even all that close. Arizona State would be hiring someone they could tell recruits has the professional experience at almost the highest level and doesn’t carry the scrutiny of its previous such head man.
Loggains is the guy who didn’t correct Joe Ferguson for two months when the Arkansas icon and then-quarterbacks coach for the 2000 Razorbacks kept calling Dowell “Darryl.” Loggains was a 5-foot-6 quarterback who went to Arkansas to, basically, learn how to be a coach. He sits, watches, listens, learns, then speaks. In that order.
The First, but Not the Last
Which means he has said nothing about the gig and isn’t likely to. Pittman hasn’t said anything about the gig and isn’t likely to. Almost nothing will be decided – publicly, anyway – for the next two months, at least. It shouldn’t be a surprise, though, that Loggains is a desired commodity. As for which former A-State players are pushing for the Arkansas tight ends coach, it’s unclear. His path didn’t cross with too many former Sun Devils even in his 10 years in the NFL, at least not when he had an opportunity to coach them. Will Sutton played defensive end at ASU and then was on the Bears roster the same time as Loggains was coaching. That’s about it.
From January to March, most of the conversation about Arkansas potentially losing coaches to promotions at other schools focused on offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and defensive coordinator Barry Odom. Most fans were thrilled when it was announced in the spring they were both signed to extensions through 2024. Less now, perhaps, but that’s more a product of the constant what-have-you-done-for-me-lately thinking that pervades sports. It isn’t fair, but it’s the reality in this day and age.
Loggains hasn’t had to deal with that. Position coaches only sometimes do. Rarely. Ask Sam Pittman about his stint with the Hogs in the Bielema era. And at tight end, not exactly a glamor position and not even one dozens of teams use on the regular, it’s easy to fly under the radar. If Arizona State were to attempt to poach Loggains, it wouldn’t be because of what he’s done with Knox.
No, it’s because Loggains was always over-qualified to be where he is now, anyway. Whether it works with A-State or somewhere else, count on the Sun Devils to be just the first suitor, definitely not the last.
Other Arizona State Coach Candidates
- Oregon OC Kenny Dillingham
- BYU coach Kalani Sitake
- Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule
- Auburn coach Bryan Harsin
- Utah State coach Blake Anderson
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