UNC offensive coordinator Anderson taking head job at Arkansas State
Posted December 19, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offensive coordinator Blake Anderson will soon leave the Tar Heels to become the head coach at Arkansas State University.
"I'm excited to announce Blake Anderson as our new head football coach!" Arkansas State Athletics Director Terry Mohajir tweeted Thursday morning.
Anderson will be Arkansas State's fifth coach in five years, taking over for Bryan Harsin, who left recently to become the head coach at Boise State.
Gus Malzahn, who is preparing the Auburn Tigers for the BCS National Championship game, coached at Arkansas State in 2012, leading the Red Wolves to a 10-3 record and a bowl win over Kent State.
Mohajir said the coaching turnover played a large factor in in Anderson's contract, a five-year, $700,000 annual agreement that includes a buyout of $3 million for the first two years. The buyout tapers to $2 million in the third and fourth years, and then to $1 million in the final year.
Anderson came to Chapel Hill with Larry Fedora prior to the 2012 regular season, helping the Tar Heels put up record-breaking offensive numbers in his two seasons with the team.
Led by quarterback Bryn Renner and running back Gio Bernard, the 2012 Tar Heels averaged 40.6 points per game and finished the year 8-4.
In 2013, UNC averaged 32.2 points per game despite losing Renner midway through the year due to injury. In the final six games of the season, the Tar Heels averaged better than 41 points per game. The only loss in the final six weeks of the season came to Duke, as the Blue Devils beat the Heels 27-25 on Nov. 30 to clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game.
Fedora said Wednesday that Anderson deserves a lot of the credit for UNC's midseason turnaround in 2013. The Tar Heels won five of their last six games to finish the regular season 6-6 and qualify for the Belk Bowl.
"Blake is an outstanding football coach and I’m thrilled he has the chance to be the head coach at Arkansas State," Fedora said in a statement Thursday. "It’s been a goal of his for a long time to be a Division I head coach and he deserves this opportunity."
Anderson will not coach in UNC's Dec. 28 bowl game against Cincinnati. The school has not announced who will call the plays for that game.
The 2013 Red Wolves finished the regular season 7-5 and will take on Ball State Jan. 5 in the GoDaddy Bowl.