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Football coach, athletic director commit $500k each to stadium project

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TEMPE ­– Arizona State University’s football coach and athletic director are pledging $500,000 a piece to help fund a $260 million renovation of Sun Devil Stadium.

Appearing at a news conference Monday with their wives, Todd Graham and Ray Anderson said they want to lead by example as the university seeks funds for the project.

“I’m a competitor,” said Graham, in his third year as football coach. “If I didn’t believe that we could do it I wouldn’t make this kind of commitment.”

“This isn’t just a football project,” Anderson said. “This is a project that will benefit Sun Devil Athletics in our university and our community in so many ways by upgrading our ability to have academic facilities and medical facilities and training facilities and classroom facility and multipurpose, multi-use facilities.”

Graham makes $2.3 million per year plus incentives. Anderson, who came to ASU in January after serving as the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, has an annual salary of $600,000 plus incentives.

The university has committed $210 million to the project and launched the Momentum Campaign in January to raise the remaining $50 million. In addition to seeking private donations, the campaign aims to identify new revenue streams to fund the renovation.

The renovation plan includes a double-sided video board in the north end zone, a new student section in the south end zone, a new terrace pavillion, more restrooms and concessions, escalators connecting concourse levels and a new sound system. The biggest addition will be a video system that will project images and video onto the outside of the stadium.

Work has already begun, upper-deck sections in the north end zone removed.

The 56-year-old stadium was last renovated in 1988.

The donations by Graham and Anderson are the largest ever given by athletic-department employees.

“I think it speaks volume of their personal commitment to what they do every day and it sends a tremendous message across the country to how emotionally involved they are with the success of what’s going on here at Arizona State University,” said Steve Butterfield, an alumnus and longtime supporter of Sun Devil Athletics who co-chairs of the Momentum Campaign.

Anderson declined to say how much of the $50 million has been raised, adding that an announcement is planned in the next few days.