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ASU defensive coordinator Phil Bennett decides to leave football program

Posted at 4:53 PM, Dec 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 18:57:43-05

Arizona State Sun Devils defensive coordinator Phil Bennett will not return to the program next season, despite new head coach Herm Edwards' offer to have him remain with the team.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Edwards said he appreciates that Bennett "has chosen not to stay based upon family reasons. Family always comes first and right now he needs to turn his attention to that.  

"My top priorities right now going forward are to solidify our recruiting class and to assemble a defensive coaching staff. Both objectives are moving along quite well.”

Bennett addressed the media Tuesday afternoon.

"I visited with Herm twice. (He was) very gracious. A really good man. I just looked at a couple things going on right now in my life, and I had to make a decision that I probably wasn't gonna be able to stay here," Bennett said per a video posted by Jordan Kaye for

"I will always be a Sun Devil fan. I will pull for these kids and this program. I think it's in good hands. I'm just very appreciative to all of them."

The 62-year-old Bennett joined the Sun Devil football staff under then-head coach Todd Graham after the 2016 season. He had spent the previous six years as Baylor's defensive coordinator.

ASU has already announced that Edwards will retain offensive coordinator Billy Napier and the rest of the offensive coaching staff.