The Arizona State football program is bringing in a big name to be an assistant coach. Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is joining the Sun Devils as the program's wide receivers coach, per ESPN.

Ward was a Super Bowl champion with the Steelers, as well as one of the most popular players of that franchise. Ward finished his NFL career with 1,000 receptions for 12,083 yards. He played his entire career in the Steel City, winning two championships in the 2005 and 2008 seasons. His best season with the Steelers was in 2002, when the wide receiver gained 1,329 receiving yards. He scored 12 touchdowns that season, with 112 catches. Ward played for the Steelers from 1998-2011, retiring after reaching the 1,000 reception mark. Ward played his college football at Georgia.

Ward's coaching experience

Following his time in the NFL, Ward has spent several years working his way up the coaching ranks. He worked for the Steelers in 2017 as an offensive intern, before spending time with the New York Jets as an offensive assistant for two seasons.

Ward previously coached wide receivers at Florida Atlantic University, in 2021. He also served as a head coach for the XFL franchise in San Antonio, Texas, in 2023. Ward posted a 3-7 record in his only season as head coach of the Brahmas. The Arizona State job will be Ward's first position as an assistant to a power 5 college program.

Arizona State's new league

Arizona State football joins the Big 12 conference for 2024 competition, after spending several years in the Pac 12. Arizona State is joining Arizona, Colorado and Utah in the Big 12. The Sun Devils have struggled recently, finishing the 2023 season with a 3-9 record under coach Kenny Dillingham. The school is going through a change in leadership as well, as the athletic director left the school last year.

Ward will take command of a wide receiver room with some promising talent. The Sun Devils are expected to have key receiver transfers Jake Smith and Jordyn Tyson, per ESPN. Arizona State football is also expected to have their leading receiver from last season back in the fold, with Elijhah Badger back as well. Dillingham is entering his second season as coach, and Sun Devils' fans are looking forward to the future.

Arizona State football lost their wide receivers coach following the season, when Ra'Shaad Samples left for Oregon. Ward and the Sun Devils will fight for position in a Big 12 conference filled with uncertainty, as Texas and Oklahoma have left for the SEC. There is a power void at the top of the Big 12 conference.

Arizona State football opens their season against Wyoming on August 31. The team also has non conference games against Mississippi State and Texas State, before playing Texas Tech on September 21 in the school's first Big 12 game.