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Phil Bennett is Arizona State football's new defensive coordinator

Posted: 1:14 PM, Jan 11, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-11 15:16:03-05

The Arizona State Sun Devils football team announced Wednesday that Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett has been hired to the same position at ASU.

The 61-year-old Bennett was the head coach at SMU from 2002-07. He previously served as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, Kansas State and Pitt. He had been the defensive coordinator at Baylor since 2011.

Bennett helped lead Baylor to a 31-12 win over Boise State in the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix on Dec. 27.

"Phil Bennett is a 39-year coaching veteran who brings a wealth of defensive knowledge to our staff," ASU coach Todd Graham said in a statement. "He was the head coach at SMU for six seasons, so he knows first-hand what it takes to run a program.

"He has been associated with successful defenses everywhere he's been. We are very fortunate to have him bring his level of experience to the Sun Devil program."

Bennett will replace Keith Patterson, who served as ASU's defensive coordinator last season. The Sun Devils will retain Patterson as the team's linebackers coach going into next season.

Bennett will be tasked with improving one of the worst defensive units in college football last season. The Sun Devils were 127th among all 128 FBS teams in yards allowed per game and dead last in passing yards allowed. 

ASU went 5-7 and lost each of its final six games in 2016. The Sun Devils failed to advance to a bowl game for the first time in Graham's five seasons as head coach.