ASU’s Athletic Director Ray Anderson returned to the National Football League Players’ Association, not because he was unhappy at ASU, but to lure away executive Scottie Graham to the desert.
Scottie Graham has become ASU’s Senior Associate Athletics Director.
Graham brings a “breadth of experience” according to Anderson. He served as the NFL’s Director of Player Engagement for the past three and a half years and as a regional director for a dozen years prior to that.
“He will be an asset to Jean Boyd’s national championship-caliber academic staff,” said Anderson in a university press release. “He will also bring his talents to designated sports in operations and program development.”
Scottie Graham will bring a surge of energy to student athlete development at ASU. DieHard Devil caught up with Graham as he settles into his new position.
“I worked closely with (Ray) Anderson at the NFLPA,” Graham told DHD. “He was definitely a mentor for me, and I let him know if there was ever an opportunity for me to further my career, I was available.”
“The main thing that I will show the student-athletes is persistence,” said Graham. “Doing your best every day, not just in their chosen sport, but in their everyday lives. This will not only make them better players but also make them better people.”
The ultimate finished product should be yet another benefit to ASU and its athletes. “We are going to focus on the student in student-athlete. We are going to strive for academic excellence, increased graduation rate—and above all, integrity.”
About James “Scottie” Graham
- 45 years old
- Excelled as a Division I running back at Ohio State and was named a team captain in his senior year
- Went on to be drafted in the seventh round by the New York Jets in 1992
- Played for the Minnesota Vikings for four seasons, and became the team’s leading rusher in 1993
- Earned his Master’s degree in Black Studies from Ohio State in the off-season
- Played his final season in Cincinnati in 1997
Due to his time at tradition-rich Ohio State University, I asked Graham how he would elevate Arizona State to the level of that of the Buckeyes.
“Tradition is developed by strong leaders,” he said. “The leaders set the standards as good citizens, and the rest will fall in to place.”
Ray Anderson is proving to be that type of leader in his short time at the helm of Sun Devil athletics. He is quietly filling the athletics department with several experienced, knowledgeable and dynamic leaders.
“You reach a certain point in your life when it’s no longer about you,” Scottie Graham said. “I am excited about the opportunity to give back to the students.”