Sources tell us North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson will be the new head coach at Arkansas State.
In continuing with the theme, this is the fourth offensive coordinator the Red Wolves have tabbed to be their head coach in as many off-seasons. First, they promoted their own offensive coordinator Hugh Freeze after the 2010 season, then hired Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn after the 2011 season, and then hired Texas offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin following the 2012 season. Arkansas State is 27-11 over the past three seasons with a 20-3 Sun Belt record, claiming outright conference championships in 2011 and 2012 and a share of the league title this season.
Clearly, the Red Wolves have realized four things: 1) the current formula is obviously working, 2) the new marketability that's attached with being the Arkansas State head coach, 3) the current trend can't last forever, and 4) even if it does, it means they've had a successful season, and some BCS school is about to send them a hefty buyout check.
Anderson has spent the past seasons working for Larry Fedora, three at Southern Miss and the past two at North Carolina. After helping the Golden Eagles set a school record by averaging 461.4 yards per game in 2011, Anderson immediately helped North Carolina set 35 offensive school records in 2012, including scoring and total offense. This season, North Carolina ranked 44th in total offense, 41st in yards per play and 47th in scoring as the Tar Heels rebounded from a 1-5 start to finish 6-6 and clinch an appearance in the Belk Bowl opposite Cincinnati.
Prior to spending the 2007 as the offensive coordinator at Louisiana-Lafayette, Anderson stepped out of coaching to work in private business from 2004-06. Before his coaching sabbatical, Anderson spent three seasons at Middle Tennessee (2002-04) and three seasons at New Mexico (1999-2001). A 1992 Sam Houston State graduate, Anderson has also worked at Eastern New Mexico, Howard Payne and Trinity Valley Community College.
Anderson is the 11th FBS head coach to be hired this season, joining first-time head coaches Bob Diaco (Connecticut) and Charlie Partridge (Florida Atlantic). Only the Army and Texas jobs remain open at this time.
As always, we will have more updates as they become available.