Blake Anderson is taking a leave of absence from Arkansas State to attend to his wife, Wendy, the program has announced. Wendy has been in a multi-year battle with breast cancer.
"Coach Anderson has decided to take a leave of absence to be with his wife during this difficult time to be with his wife, Wendy, and his family," A-State AD Terry Mohajir said in a statement "We will continue to pray for peace for his family and provide assistance any way we can."
Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator David Duggan will serve interim head coach in Anderson's absence. Mohajir noted he will continue to be in communication with Anderson during his time apart from the team, but the program placed no timetable for his return.
“I fully expected I’d be standing before you today telling you, ‘Man, we beat cancer.’ I would love to be telling you that,” Anderson said during Sun Belt media days last month. “It’s just not where God’s got us right now… It has been a tough summer. It’s been a long, hard summer, but she is one of the toughest fighters I’ve ever met. We are still knee deep in the battle; the prayers are needed now more than ever before. We just continue to fight every day. Even my players have been inspired by her willingness to fight and not make excuses and just battle every day.”
Obviously, the situation at home is far more important than the Red Wolves' oncoming season, and Anderson will take as long as he needs to be with his wife and children.
Wendy and the entire Anderson family will be in our thoughts during this time.
Arkansas State begins its season Aug. 31 against SMU in Jonesboro.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.