HONOLULU - Dirk Koetter does not know what his employment future entails, but the outgoing Arizona State coach will begin pursuing it after arriving home from the Hawaii Bowl.
“I plan to open presents; that’s the first thing,” Koetter said on Friday when asked his immediate post-bowl plans. “I need a whole new wardrobe, because I guess I can’t wear my ASU stuff any more. Hopefully, Santa will be good to me on Christmas. Then, I’m going to be on the job trail.”
Koetter has no desire to take next season off.
“If I were a betting man, I’d bet I’m working in January,” Koetter said.
After running his final full practice with the Sun Devils — the team will have a walk-through today at its hotel — Koetter stood behind an end zone at Aloha Stadium and spoke about what his last days with the team has meant to him, and what might be next.
The 47-year-old has options in the pro and college levels, but is unsure of his next step. Though he has never coached in the NFL, he has many friends — notably, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid — there.
“That’s been weighing on me, because the NFL seems like a career change,” Koetter said. “I don’t know that. My friends in the NFL say it’s not, but to me, for some reason, it feels like it. We’ll see.”
Koetter took the ASU assistant coaches and their wives out to dinner on Thursday. He will address the team tonight, a speech the coach said he has “spent most of my time in Hawaii” thinking about.
“I do my big talk the night before the game,” Koetter said. “In the locker room, that’s a 30-second talk that’s quickly forgotten. I’ll speak from my heart and tell these guys how I feel about them.”
On Friday, an ASU official said two members of Koetter’s staff — director of football operations Tom Kleinlein and strength and conditioning coach Joe Kenn — will be retained by incoming coach Dennis Erickson.
Former ASU defensive end Junior Ah You, whose home is on Oahu island’s famed north shore, addressed the team after practice.
“I was grateful to the men who brought me to ASU to play,” Ah You told the players. “Be grateful to the (coaches) who brought you here. If not for them, you might be somewhere else — or nowhere else.”
Ah You was defensive MVP of the first two Fiesta Bowls (1971 and ’72). He later starred with the Montreal Alouettes and was inducted into the Canadian Football League’s Hall of Fame in 1997.
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan is two touchdown passes away from setting a new NCAA mark for a season. Should the record-breaking toss happen on Sunday, Sun Devils safety Zach Catanese hopes, half-seriously, that he is not involved in the play.
“They’ll always flash back to that pass, and the ball will be going over my head,” Catanese said, smiling. “It better not be me, but records are broken, and that’s life.”
Brennan has 53 TD passes. David Klingler of Houston set the record of 54 in 1990.
Two Sun Devil seniors — Catanese and defensive end Kyle Caldwell — have been invited to return to Hawaii for the Hula Bowl all-star game on Jan. 14....
A reception for Erickson was held at ASU’s Carson Center on Thursday, with 112 former Sun Devil players — ranging from Dick Allen (1947-48) to Lee Burghgraef (2002-05) — showing up to meet the coach. . . .
Rumored to be attending Sunday’s game is Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who was born in Hawaii and is spending the holidays here.