JONESBORO Blake Anderson got a decent anniversary present on Thursday afternoon, his first Division I head coaching job.
Arkansas State on Thursday afternoon formally introduced Anderson as its newest head football coach, doing so on he and his wife's 21st wedding anniversary. The program's fifth in as many years.
“For however it happened, they chose me," Anderson said, shortly after taking the podium in front of a crowd of supporters at The Convocation Center.
Anderson replaces Bryan Harsin, who left to take the same position at Boise State University last week.
ASU Athletic Director Terry Mohajir first announced Anderson’s hiring on Twitter on Thursday morning.
“I know we have the best head coach in the country that wanted our job,” Mohajir said.
A Hubbard, Texas native, Anderson comes the program after two seasons as offensive coordinator at the North Carolina, where he helped the Tar Heels to a 14-10 overall record with back-to-back bowl berths. The program is set to play in the Belk Bowl against the University of Cincinnati on Dec. 28.
Mohajir said that while certain details of Anderson’s contract still have to be determined, it will be for five years with a $700,000 base salary per season. The buyout will be much larger than in past contracts, with the first two years of the contract featuring a $3 million buyout, a $2 million buyout for years three and four and a $1 million buyout in the fifth year.
“But I’m not here to leave,” Anderson, who added that the buyout wasn’t an issue for him, said. “…I’m not here to get out the door. I’m not here to sprint through town.”
Anderson described his offensive scheme as “fast-break basketball on grass," advising fans to never go to the bathroom or the concession stand while the ASU offense is on the field while he is coach.
“You will never be bored,” Anderson said.
As far as when his term will begin, Anderson said details of whether he will coach the Belk Bowl with North Carolina or if he’ll be at the Red Wolves appearance in the GoDaddy Bowl are still to be determined.
The Red Wolves finish their season in the GoDaddy Bowl in Jan. 5 against Ball State. Anderson said he would like to be at ASU's bowl game appearance, but as a spectator.
While he said he hasn’t met with the current assistant coaches, Anderson said every coach will get a chance to be considered for his staff, should they want it.
“I will bring people in here with energy," Anderson said. "I will bring people in here with class that will never embarrass the university."
Anderson met with the current roster of players around noon on Thursday, adding that "everyone will have a clean slate" under him.
In two seasons at Chapel Hill, Anderson led a balanced offensive attack. During the 2013 regular season, the Tar Heels averaged 286.3 passing yards and 162.7 rushing yards per game. In total, the Tar Heels finished the season ranked 44th in total offense and 47th in points per game, averaging 432.4 yards and 31.8 points, respectively.
As a player, Anderson spent three seasons as a quarterback and wide receiver at Baylor University from 1987-1989 and two seasons as a receiver at Sam Houston State after that. As a coach, Anderson has spent time on staff at two Sun Belt Conference schools in Louisiana-Lafayette and Middle Tennessee State, as well as an assistant at New Mexico, Eastern New Mexico, Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College, and Southern Mississippi.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details on this story.