How much does a win at the FBS level cost? For Nick Bhardwaj, it was $11,700 of well-spent funds.
Earlier this month, Arkansas State and head coach Blake Anderson announced that it was auctioning off the opportunity for a fan to coach one of the Red Wolves’ squads in the annual spring game. The winning bid went to Bhardwaj, who is the 25-year-old CEO of a California-based tech company.
Friday, Bhardwaj put his football mettle to the test… and came out on the winning side as his Black team dropped a 48-17 decision on the Red squad. Bhardwaj, a release from the school stated, “gave the team’s pregame and halftime speeches and communicated with the coaching staff on headset throughout the entire game while making play-calling and fourth-down decisions.” That decision-making came after an extensive film session with offensive coordinator Walt Bell.
Also as part of the promotion, Bhardwaj received a Powerade bath (pictured)following the lopsided win.
“The truth was I was just a fan of the sport, a fan of the game, and just happy to be a part of this opportunity,” Bhardwaj, who had never been to the state of Arkansas prior to the spring game, said during a press conference. Even a day after the game, Bhardwaj was still basking in the glow of the unique experience while Anderson was praising the man with the unblemished coaching mark.
In addition to Bhardwaj, ASU had another surprise up its spring sleeves as beloved former Red Wolves head coach Larry Lacewell was on the Red team sidelines as coach. Lacewell stills holds the school record for career wins.
“[Athletic director] Terry [Mohajir] kept this a big secret that I was going to coach because he didn’t want the crowd to get so big, or he was scared that when everybody finds out I’m going to coach again that nobody’s coming,” Lacewell said.
Well done and very classy on all fronts by Anderson and the football program.
(Photo credit: Arkansas State athletics)