Arizona State defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce resigns, per reports
Allegations of recruiting violations and an ongoing NCAA investigation have seemingly cost the job of another Arizona State assistant coach.
According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, ASU defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce has resigned from his position with the program. Thamel wrote that Pierce plans to look for job opportunities at the NFL level and that an ASU spokesperson confirmed the departure.
Arizona State spokesman just confirmed this. Pierce is no longer employed by ASU. https://t.co/e2krhUAfyn
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 2, 2022
That would mark five departures from on-field assistant coaches in the last week-plus for Arizona State, which has now seen both of its coordinators tender their resignations. Last week, offensive coordinator Zak Hill resigned and was replaced within days by longtime NFL assistant Glenn Thomas.
The three assistant coaches placed on administrative leave last summer also exited the program after reportedly being offered the chance to resign or face termination. According to Devils Digest, Pierce was not asked to resign as the other assistants were.
Pierce also held the titles of associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. It’s alleged he led a recruiting operation during a 15-month dead period (March 2020 through May 2021) brought on by COVID-19 that included coaches paying for the travel of recruits to Arizona State’s campus and for their lodging while in town, meeting with them in-person both on and off-campus, and leaving the state of Arizona during the recruiting dead period for recruiting purposes.
Since opening an investigation into the alleged violations, the NCAA has reportedly interviewed high school prospects who allegedly visited Arizona State during the dead period as well as program staffers, according to The Athletic. ASU could face Level I violations if the NCAA finds sufficient evidence.
The move from Pierce comes on National Signing Day, when ASU and coach Herm Edwards are set to sign a class that has been severely impacted by the investigation and self-imposed restrictions put in place by ASU to try and ease any punishment from the NCAA.
The high school/JUCO recruiting class ranks dead last in the Pac-12 and 104th nationally by 247Sports, behind programs like UConn, Western Michigan, Old Dominion, and UNLV. ASU has signed only nine recruits and only one 4-star recruit.
Pierce had been with the ASU program since 2017.