There might not be a more impressive Group of Five football program than Arkansas State right now.
The Red Wolves have had five different head coaches since 2010. This season under Blake Anderson is the first that’s seen the same head coach in back-to-back seasons since 2009-10, with Hugh Freeze (2011), Gus Malzahn (2012) moving on to positions at Power Five schools and Bryan Harsin (2013) taking the job at his alma mater Boise State in that span.
But the most impressive facet of the program? The success amidst all of the change.
Thanks to ASU’s 52-28 win over New Mexico State, the Red Wolves pushed their 2015 record to 8-3 overall and 7-0 in league play and landed them another Sun Belt Conference trophy. Appalachian State (6-1 in conference play) had a slight chance at its first outright SBC championship, but they would’ve needed two wins combined with two ASU losses to close out the season. The Mountaineers could still claim a co-championship with a win next week and a Red Wolves loss, while the latter would claim it outright with a win.
Regardless it’s the first title for Anderson, but the program’s fourth in the past five seasons — three outright, one shared — with all four coming with a different head coach on the sidelines.
Coach Anderson and his program won’t get the credit they deserve nationally, but they should be applauded for building upon and sustaining the foundation they’ve been given by their predecessors.