New Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham had some strong praise for his top donor this week. As the Sun Devils move through preseason camp, Dillingham took a moment to express thanks to Nap Lawrence.
Lawrence was an integral part of the program’s NIL initiative, giving a $1 million gift on the day the head coach was hired. The team certainly needed it following a frantic offseason.
Arizona State found itself in an awkward position last season when it fired Herm Edwards. Having been at the helm for five years, Edwards’ tenure in Tempe was immersed in controversy.
Opposing coaches had nothing nice to say about the former NFL player, and it appears that some of his staff felt the same after it was reported a someone within the program leaked intel to opponents during the 2022 season.
In his three games on the sidelines last year, the Sun Devils went 1-2. A loss against Eastern Michigan was the straw that broke the camel’s back as Edwards was fired, possibly before he even made it off the field.
Herm Edwards was met by the ASU President and AD on the way off the field last night.
I’ve heard of getting tarmac’d but I think Herm is the first coach I’ve seen to get end zone’d… pic.twitter.com/GLQXU5XC9F
— Jon Tweets Sports (@jontweetssports) September 19, 2022
Following Edwards’ dismissal, a number of players hopped in the transfer portal. Dillingham had the duty of restocking the roster.
ASU coach credits top donor for $1M gift.
The head coach got a major boost in his rebuild thanks to top booster Nap Lawrence, who gifted the football program $1 million for NIL on the day the new coach was hired.
He said as much in a recent media appearance.
“We wouldn’t have a football team without (booster) Nap Lawrence” giving $1 million in NIL.
“…that dude is as valuable to the program as anybody on the field. I called him the other day and said, ‘Come out on the field, do whatever you want. Without you, we don’t have a team.” pic.twitter.com/bawTcqm3F5
— SunDevilSource.com (@SunDevilSource) August 10, 2023
“Nap Lawrence built our football team,” the ASU coach said about the major donor. “That dude is as valuable to the program as anybody on the field… Without him, we wouldn’t have a team. Point blank, simple. That’s the new day and age in college football.”
Who is Nap Lawrence?
Lawrence is a long-time supporter and graduate of Arizona State University. Here’s more on the Eloy, AZ native from TheSunDevils.com.
Lawrence was part of the initial four-year graduating class of Arizona State University in 1962, earning his degree in Marketing. He was a founding member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.
During his time as a student, Lawrence sold life insurance to pay for his school. Once he graduated and made a living selling insurance, he was in a situation where he could give and help. “I did pretty well from the beginning, but I started making donations, probably when I was in my 30s. I had much more than I needed so I looked into helping.”
The insurance salesman and donor has officially put his stamp on Arizona State football. With the help of that generous NIL donation, the Sun Devils were able to land the nation’s 15th-ranked transfer class while also securing a commitment from top signal caller Jaden Rashada.
ASU kicks off its season on August 31 against Southern Utah.