Monday brought the return of Arkansas State star Norchad Omier, who announced he’d be coming back for a third season with the Red Wolves.
A little more than 24 hours later, it was made official that the man who brought Omier to Jonesboro would stick around a bit longer as well.
ASU announced Tuesday afternoon that it had reached a two-year extension with men’s basketball Coach Mike Balado, keeping the 46-year-old with the Red Wolves through the 2023-24 season. Balado will continue at a base salary of $375,000 — the same amount he received in each of his first five seasons since being hired in March 2017.
However, if ASU fails to win the Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship, compile 10 conference wins or reach the NCAA or NIT tournaments next season, Balado’s buyout drops from $375,000 to half that amount after March 15, 2023.
“Coach Balado and I concur that neither of us is satisfied with the overall on-court results,” Athletic Director Tom Bowen said in a statement. “We will not settle for progress alone. We are encouraged that with our talented roster currently in place and healthy recruiting, we are in a strong position to reach the championship and postseason goals we are all striving to accomplish
Under Balado, ASU has gone 69-80, never advancing past the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference tournament. But 2021-22 was his most successful season yet, finishing 18-11 — only the fourth time since 1999-2000 that the Red Wolves have won at least 18 games in a season.
With Omier and Jonesboro native Desi Sills in the mix, ASU won 11 games at First National Bank Arena, the fourth-most in the building’s history. The Red Wolves also beat Louisiana-Monroe in the Sun Belt tournament, marking consecutive seasons with postseason wins for the first time since 2012-13 and 2013-14.
“I am honored and blessed to continue as Arkansas State’s head men’s basketball coach,” Balado said. “Striving for excellence is top priority in this program, along with developing and mentoring this group of quality young men. I would like to thank Chancellor [Kelly] Damphousse and Tom Bowen for their unwavering support and trust.”