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Blake Anderson next ASU football coach

By ArkansasOnline

This article was originally published December 19, 2013 at 8:18 a.m. Updated December 19, 2013 at 8:49 a.m.


Blake Anderson

Arkansas State University Athletic Director Terry Mohajir announced Thursday that Blake Anderson will be the football program's new head coach, succeeding Bryan Harsin.

Mohajir announced the hiring of the University of North Carolina offensive coordinator Thursday morning on Twitter.

The website reported Wednesday night that Anderson, who has spent the past two seasons leading the Tar Heels offense under Coach Larry Fedora, had agreed to be ASU’s next coach. Another website,, had refuted the report.

Mohajir said more details would be forthcoming soon. ASU announced on its Facebook page that it would hold a news conference at 2 p.m.

Anderson will be ASU's fourth coach in as many years. Hugh Freeze succeeded Steve Roberts in 2010 and then left after a year to become head coach of Ole Miss. Gus Malzahn was hired to replace Freeze, but Malzahn left for Auburn in 2012. And Malzahn's successor, Harsin, was hired by Boise State earlier this month.

In his first year, Harsin led the Red Wolves to a 7-5 record and a share of the Sun Belt Conference Championship. The team earned a berth in the GoDaddy Bowl for the third straight year.

Anderson, a native of Hubbard, Texas, holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Sam Houston State and a master’s degree in sports administration from Eastern New Mexico. Anderson arrived at Chapel Hill after coaching at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg since 2008, where he spent his first two seasons as the Golden Eagles' quarterbacks coach and run game coordinator, and developed Austin Davis, now a St. Louis Ram, into one of the nation’s top quarterbacks.

On Wednesday, interim coach and defensive coordinator John Thompson said Mohajir had taken his name out of the running become the full-time successor to Harsin.

Mohajir told Thompson, who is in his second season at ASU, that he was no longer being considered for the opening because of ASU’s desire to hire a coach with a background on the offensive side of the ball. Thompson has been ASU’s defensive coordinator the past two years and has coached defense his entire career.

Mohajir had named Thompson interim coach for the second time Dec. 11, the day Harsin officially took the head-coaching job at his alma mater Boise State.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full coverage.

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Displaying 1 - 6 of 6 total comments

RonalFos says... December 19, 2013 at 8:30 a.m.

John Thompson needs a big pay raise to keep him on staff. He has been a great defensive leader and has saved ASUs bacon twice now leading the team in bowl games.

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LevyRat says... December 19, 2013 at 8:54 a.m.

ASU, your "plum" hires keep leaving and John Thompson keeps picking up the pieces. You will appreciate him when he is gone. Hope things work out with this hire, an OC from a BASKETBALL SCHOOL that went 6-6 in the ACC!

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outinthesticks says... December 19, 2013 at 8:54 a.m.

I too hope Thompson stays, but that isn't the way it works usually. It's sort of like when the presidency changes, all the cabinet, department heads, and advisors change. I hope Anderson will recognize Thompson's talents and tries to keep him. I appreciate what Thompson has done in his time at ASU and wish him the best whatever he decides to do.

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razorback715 says... December 19, 2013 at 12:42 p.m.

Once again, the situation at ASU provides a shinning example of what loyalty brings you in NCAA football. Three coaches in a row bail out after a year for a better job and a guy who knows the program, knows the kids and has coached in two bowl games gets the shaft. Mohajir is a real piece of work. He isn't too good at judging loyalty or showing it either.

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CommonSenseHelps says... December 19, 2013 at 3:47 p.m.

Just one thing . . . who cares what happens in Jonesboro?

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outinthesticks says... December 19, 2013 at 7:07 p.m.

I do, CommonSense, and I'm not from Jonesboro, nor am I an alumnus of ASU. I happen to be a UAM grad, and my spouse, Ouachita. Anyone care about what happens in Conway, Arkadelphia, Monticello, or Russellville? Certainly. There are other universities and football teams that people care about. Now I have a question for you, because I am sure this is probably where you're going with this. Does everyone care what happens in Fayetteville? Certainly not me, nor a lot of other people I know. You obviously misnamed have no common sense about this matter.

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