Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Kenny Dillingham is a first-time head coach. But even though the 33-year-old is only three games into his tenure, his competitive spirit is evident. And reporters found that out firsthand on Thursday.
This Saturday, the Sun Devils face the 5th-ranked USC Trojans. It’s indisputably Dillingham’s biggest test as a head coach so far. ASU is 1-2 on the year, with its first win of the season coming against Southern Utah last week. The Sun Devils coach held court at media availability on Thursday, and he did not disappoint. Dillingham sounded an awful lot like former ASU coach Herm Edwards in going on an animated rant. The video came courtesy of Cameron Cox and 12News.com in Phoenix.
“If you don’t expect to win every game, you got a problem,” Dillingham said. “I don’t care if I’m playing Michael Jordan in basketball. I’m not playing to lose! Otherwise, why would I play? I’m not just gonna play cause it’s fun. No! What’s fun is competing to win. So, you’re playing to win! That’s it! And if you don’t, whatever happens after the game, it doesn’t matter.
“You then watch the tape, and you get better, and you grow, and you get better and grow and get better. And eventually, right? Saturday nights are gonna feel better. But if you don’t take the field and you expect to win the football game, something’s wrong. You should expect to win. Otherwise, you shouldn’t be on the field.”
— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) September 21, 2023
Perhaps most noteworthy about the rant isn’t the words being said but how Dillingham is delivering the message. Clearly very animated, the ASU coach frequently moved his hands around and appeared pumped up.
Frankly, these are the vibes that you almost have to go with. USC is one of the best teams in the nation. But we have seen in the past that not everyone is always so immortal, and adding juice to the situation is imperative for some teams. In ASU’s case, they may be overmatched on Saturday. But, perhaps inspired confidence from their coach’s animated rant Thursday will do the trick.
With that said, let’s hope this Herm Edwards imitation is the only one Dillingham has up his sleeve.