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ASU promotes Rob Likens to offensive coordinator following Billy Napier's departure

Posted at 6:11 PM, Dec 15, 2017

Just hours after offensive coordinator Billy Napier left Arizona State to become the new head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette, the Sun Devils announced they have promoted from within to replace him.

New ASU coach Herm Edwards announced Rob Likens, who spent the 2016 season as ASU's co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, will take Napier's place.

"There was no doubt in my mind that Rob Likens was the man we needed to step up and fill this role as offensive coordinator. Coach Likens provides much needed consistency and stability as we continue to build our staff," Edwards said in a statement. "He has been heavily involved in the offensive game planning and play-calling and the improvement on offense this season with Coach Likens as Co-Offensive Coordinator speaks for itself.  

"I have quickly learned that Rob cares deeply for these young men. I am excited to work with Rob as we continue to build upon this program."

The role won't be new to Likens, who has served as offensive coordinator for five other college football programs during his career, most recently at Kansas. Likens was also an assistant head coach at Cal under then-head coach Sonny Dykes.

ASU also announced running backs coach John Simon will continue in his role with the team.

Likens' promotion came hours after Napier accepted the head coaching job at Louisiana-Lafayette. Napier, who served as offensive coordinator at ASU under Todd Graham last season, was originally retained for that same role while being promoted to associated head coach under Edwards.

"To be a source of stability for these young men and to have the chance to see them develop and grow as individuals is the reason I got into this business. I'm going to be able to be there for those guys," Likens said in a statement.
"It's also an opportunity to work with Coach Edwards and I am thankful for this opportunity. We hit it off instantly when we met and had discussions about the future and the direction we both saw this program going. Between his energy and mine, I don't know if kids will be ready to handle us both in the same room. I'm so excited to learn from him and the experience he has had will be shared with the kids and with my self. It excites me that he has been in the business for so long and I think he will learn from me a little bit as well as it pertains to college football."

Earlier this week, the Sun Devils lost defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, who decided to step away from the program for family reasons despite an offer from Edwards to remain in that role. ASU is yet to name his replacement.

ASU athletic director Ray Anderson announced the firing of Graham following ASU's win over Arizona on Nov. 25. Edwards was introduced as Anderson's choice to replace Graham one week later, with the understanding that Edwards would retain Graham's assistant coaches, including Napier and Bennett.