Donnie Henderson promoted to role of Arizona State defensive coordinator
After serving as the team’s interim secondary coach during the 2021 season, Donnie Henderson was promoted Friday evening to Arizona State’s new defensive coordinator.
Arizona State announced the move with a press release Friday evening. Henderson, 64, replaces the team’s former defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, Antonio Pierce, who resigned earlier this month amid an NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations under his watch.
Henderson previously served as an analyst on head coach Herm Edwards’ staff before being elevated to the interim secondary coach when Chris Hawkins was placed on administrative leave. Hawkins was dismissed in late January and replaced with Missouri’s Aaron Fletcher.
This will be Henderson’s second stint as an on-field, full-time assistant in Tempe. He served as the team’s secondary coach in 1996, one of six seasons spent with the team from 1992-1997. He spent the next 15 years working in the NFL, where he crossed paths with Marvin Lewis.
Lewis co-coordinated the ASU defense during the 2020 season before transitioning into his current role as a special assistant to the head coach, where he’ll remain for the upcoming year. According to a release from ASU, Lewis will “play a big role in developing game plans and devising schemes” with Henderson.
“I want to thank (athletic director) Ray Anderson, (associate athletic director) Jean Boyd, and Coach Edwards for this opportunity,” Henderson said in a statement. “I am excited about the challenge to continue the standard of the way we play football here that has been established by the coordinators before me. My family is thrilled and humbled to have this opportunity.”
Under Henderson’s guidance last season, Arizona State finished with the eighth-most interceptions of any team in the country with 16. The Sun Devils picked off multiple passes in five games.
“We are very fortunate to have an experienced and deep bench on our coaching staff. This will allow us to continue the advancement of our defensive plan through the elevation of former analyst and interim defensive backs coach Donnie Henderson,” Edwards said in a statement. “He’s coached some of the game’s great players at the highest level with the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and coordinated a defense for me with the New York Jets. He coached with five other NFL teams and was on the Rose Bowl staff of the late Bruce Snyder at ASU. He’s coached some of the game’s finest players in NFL Hall of Fame Rod Woodson, Ed Reed, and Jonathan Vilma.
Donnie helped us last year when he mentored our secondary, helping it to achieve a fine season. He will work in tandem while coordinating our defense with (Lewis), one of the game’s great defensive minds. Our defensive players will have two of the game’s finest defensive minds working with them.”