Last Friday, Shaun Aguano returned from his trip to Florida, where he was the offensive playcaller in the Under Armour All-America Game.
Shortly after, Arizona State coach Herm Edwards got to work in convincing Aguano to join him as the Sun Devils’ running backs coach.
By midweek, word got out Aguano would be Edwards’ new hire. By Friday, Aguano was already at work recruiting in California.
It’s been a whirlwind week for Aguano, whose resume became so impressive in the past five years at Chandler High School (Ariz.), where he led the Wolves to four 6A state football championships – including the past three – that it became obvious the 48-year-old was ready to be part of something bigger.
This is Aguano’s first college coaching job. And after 18 years at Chandler, the past eight as head coach, he has earned it.
“It’s been a learning process, but I’m excited for it,” Aguano said Saturday. “This came right out of the blue.”
But it’s not like he just got to know Edwards. They worked together before, coaching in the All-America Game that features top senior high school football players.
“Everything he stands for, I try to do at Chandler,” Aguano said. “It’s a good fit.”
Aguano’s wife works at Chandler High and he has children who attend school there. And he’ll still be a frequent Chandler visitor because, he said, “I want to recruit Chandler hard.”
“That’s a big key to keeping Chandler kids in state,” he said.
Aguano, an offensive mind who turned over the Wolves’ offense the past three years to Rick Garretson and Chris Chick, has sent numerous players to Division I college football, including 2,000 yard rushers T.J. Green (Utah), Drake Anderson (Northwestern) and this year DeCarlos Brooks (Cal). And Aguano was Chandler’s offensive coordinator when Paul Perkins was a standout running back.
Aguano also helped groom quarterbacks Brett Hundley, Darell Garretson, Mason Moran, Bryce Perkins and Jacob Conover.
He said that it was “bittersweet” telling his Chandler players this week that he was leaving.
“The thing that made it easier for me is that Coach Edwards has the same vision of family and taking care of kids,” Aguano said. “That was a huge factor for me.”
Aguano said he has a strong relationship with ASU offensive coordinator Rob Likens, who has recruited some of Aguano’s players. Wide receiver N’Keal Harry played for Aguano, before starring at ASU the last three years. Chase Lucas was turned into a cornerback at ASU after playing running back and receiver at Chandler.
Aguano said he hopes he will be able to help attract the top in-state recruits to ASU.
He can’t comment on specific players, but it’s a no-brainer that one of ASU’s primary targets for the Class of 2020 is Tucson Salpointe Catholic junior running back Bijan Robinson, winner of this past season’s Ed Doherty Award.
“I understand we want to keep the best kids in the state of Arizona (and) make sure Arizona State is the first school they look at,” Aguano said. “That is what Coach Edwards wants. I want to make sure to be a part of that.”
Chandler, meanwhile, is conducting a nationwide search for Aguano’s replacement.
Aguano would like to see one of his assistants get the job. He feels it is important for Chandler not to break up the current staff.
“It’s going to be absolutely key for Chandler (coaches) to stay intact,” Aguano said. “That is the best core of coaches around. It would be advantageous to keep them together. They’re a family, too.”