35-Year Coaching Veteran Mike Cavanaugh Named Offensive Line Coach
TEMPE -- Head Coach Herm Edwards has tabbed another addition to his Sun Devil Football coaching staff today, announcing 35-year coaching veteran Mike Cavanaugh as the program's offensive line coach.
Cavanaugh, who has spent nearly his entire coaching career mentoring offensive linemen, spent the last three seasons as the offensive line coach at Syracuse. Cavanaugh owns 15 seasons of Power-Five experience and has developed a host of players who have gone on to successful NFL careers.
"I am just excited to get a chance to work with Herm Edwards. He has put together a great staff. I look forward to getting to work with my fellow offensive coaches in Zak Hill, Shaun Aguano, Prentice Gill and Adam Breneman," Cavanaugh said. "As someone who has coached in the Pac-12 previously, I know Arizona State as a great place to recruit and a program that has great potential to take things to the next level. I'm going to come in there and have the ability to teach technique. I'm a huge technique guy and people know I'm all about developing players. That's my passion. I'm going to come in there and coach technique and just be a steady guy for the staff."
In addition to his 33 years of collegiate experience, Cavanaugh spent two seasons (1997-98) in the National Football League as an assistant offensive line and quality control coach with the San Diego Chargers.
"I'm very enthusiastic about the addition of Mike Cavanaugh to the Pro Model," says Herm Edwards. "Mike was in final contention the first time we opened this position. He brings to our program a quality resume of coaching and recruiting experience from Power 5 schools. I'm excited to see him begin to work with our returning offensive lineman because he is exactly what they need. He's an excellent teacher and technician. His expertise, matched with our returning talent, will be fun to watch."
Cavanaugh arrived at Syracuse in 2018 and his influence was a key factor in the Orange's success. His work with the front five aided an offense that propelled Syracuse to a 10-3 record and a Camping World Bowl victory over West Virginia. The Orange ranked 11th nationally in scoring (40.2 ppg), tallied 50+ points a school-record five times and scored 40+ points in eight out of 13 games. In addition, the Orange scored a school-record 523 points and generated more than 6,000 yards of total offense for the second time in program history.
Cavanaugh's presence paid immediate dividends in the run game. The Orange increased their rushing average by 37.7 yards per game from 2017 to 2018 and tallied a school-record 38 touchdowns on the ground. Two of Cavanaugh's charges – left tackle Cody Conway and right tackle Koda Martin – received 2018 All-ACC honors and signed free-agent contracts with NFL teams after the season. Conway is a member of the Green Bay Packers, while Martin is with the Arizona Cardinals. A third member of that unit – guard Evan Adams – was a free-agent pickup by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2019 campaign.
In addition to Adams' ascension to an NFL-caliber guard, Cavanaugh oversaw the development of right tackle Matthew Bergeron in 2019. The first true freshman to start a game at tackle for the Orange since 2002, Bergeron made five first-string appearances and earned Pro Football Focus Freshman All-America honors.
Before joining the Orange, Cavanaugh was the offensive line coach from 2015-17 at Nebraska where his units were among the best at protecting the passer. The Cornhuskers ranked in the top 15 in fewest sacks allowed in two of Cavanaugh's three seasons in Lincoln. In 2016, Nebraska surrendered 15 sacks to rank first in the Big Ten and 14th in the country, as the Huskers went 8-4 record and advanced to the Music City Bowl.
The previous season, the Huskers gave up 14 sacks to rank second in the conference and ninth nationally. Cavanaugh's front five helped Nebraska finish in the top three of the Big Ten in scoring offense, passing offense, total offense and third-down percentage. The Huskers also generated 3,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in the same season for just the third time in program history.
Prior to his Nebraska appointment, Cavanaugh spent 10 seasons (2005-14) as the offensive line coach at Oregon State where the performance of his unit led to record-setting offensive numbers and six bowl appearances. Behind the play of Cavanaugh's group, quarterback Sean Mannion, who completed his career in 2014, set single-season and career Pac-12 records for passing yards. Oregon State's offensive line also cleared the way for several all-conference runners, including Yvenson Bernard and Jacquizz Rodgers, who each produced three 1,000-yard seasons while Cavanaugh was on staff.
Because of the Beavers' success, Cavanaugh's Oregon State players were regularly rewarded for their performance. Andy Levitre, Jeremy Perry and Isaac Seumalo garnered All-America honors, while 23 of his players earned all-conference recognition. Levitre and Seumalo were among the several Beavers who played for Cavanaugh to be drafted into the NFL.
As the offensive line coach at Hawaii from 1999-2004, Cavanaugh played a key role in directing some of college football's top offenses. The Warriors ranked in the top 10 nationally in total offense three times in Cavanaugh's six seasons. His Hawaii units featured future pros Samson Satele, Adrian Klemm, Kynan Forney and Wayne Hunter, among others.
Before his stint at Hawaii, Cavanaugh made college coaching stops at Ferris State, Sacred Heart, Murray State, Alma College and Wesleyan College (Conn.).
A player at New Haven from 1981-82, Cavanaugh got his coaching start as a graduate assistant at Albany in 1986. That same year, he received his bachelor's degree in physical education from Southern Connecticut State.
Cavanaugh and his wife, Laurie, have two sons – Blair and Shane.