Team preview: Arizona State
Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2005 college football season, exclusively on Insider.
The worst fears of any coach were realized by Dirk Koetter on the morning of March 26, 2005. And the results couldn't have been more tragic.
Much-maligned tailback Loren Wade, who was slated to be this season's starter, allegedly murdered former ASU player Brandon Falkner outside a nightclub. Wade was charged with first-degree murder as several witnesses saw Wade, who was carrying a gun, approach Falkner's car and pull the trigger.
Wade, who broke the 48-year old ASU freshman rushing record with 773 yards in 2003, started three games last season before being suspended for receiving illegal benefits from a former ASU athletic department employee regarding an overdue utility bill. Previously, Wade had also made verbal threats to two female athletes at ASU but no charges were filed.
On the afternoon of the murder, Koetter told the assembled media that he has been concerned with Wade's behavior since last September when he was suspended and even enrolled him in counseling after Wade said he didn't want to play football any longer because he was afraid of being injured. He went on to say, however, that he never interpreted any of it as cause for alarm.
"I did not connect that dot. I missed it," Koetter said.
The team is determined, however, in not allowing this situation to monopolize its 2005 campaign. After Arizona State's impressive Sun Bowl win over Purdue, many are predicting Arizona State as the second best team in the Pac-10 this season.