As FBS programs across the country slash budgets, Arkansas State and its head football coach have become the first to do an extension amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Back in December, it was reported that Blake Anderson had emerged as a strong candidate at Missouri. Five months later, Arkansas State announced that it had reached an agreement on a “restructured contract extension” with the football coach. The terms of the new agreement weren’t released.
Last year, Anderson made $825,000. That was second to Louisiana’s Billy Napier ($875,000) among Sun Belt Conference schools.
“Due to our unprecedented FBS success under a head coach with Blake’s tenure, we started the process before the 2019 season to extend his contract,” said athletic director Terry Mohajir in a statement. “During this process, it gave us an opportunity to restructure his contract as well to be more beneficial for all parties. We believe this strengthens the continuity for our emerging football brand with Blake serving as a strong leader for our young guys in their athletics and academic pursuits. He has been very instrumental in our development of lettermen who go on to be great alumni representing Arkansas State University so well.”
In six seasons as the Arkansas State football head coach, Anderson has gone 47-30. The Red Wolves have won two conference championships and appeared in six straight bowl games.
Last August, Anderson lost his wife Wendy following a lengthy battle with breast cancer. He took a three-week leave of absence and missed the 2019 opener. The coach returned to the sidelines the following weekend.
“I’d like to thank our athletics director Terry Mohajir, chancellor Dr. (Kelly) Damphousse and system president Dr. (Chuck) Welch for their leadership and support,” said Anderson. “When Wendy and I and our family arrived at Arkansas State over six years ago I talked about how ecstatic we were to be here, and I am just as excited today as I was then to be a part of this wonderful program, university and community. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished with two Sun Belt championships and six straight bowl games, but by no means are we satisfied. We have an outstanding group of players and coaches with goals we are working hard to achieve, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future of our program.”
If you’ve been thinking, “boy, I sure could use some scheduling news involving South Alabama and Louisiana Tech,” are you ever in luck.
South Alabama Wednesday announced a future home-and-home series with Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs will head to Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile on Sept. 24, 2022. The Jaguars will then take a trip to Ruston’s Joe Aillet Stadium on Sept. 25, 2027.
South Alabama and Louisiana Tech have squared off twice previously. Those two matchups were part of a home-and-home in 2017 and 2018. Both of those were wins for the Bulldogs.
USA had previously announced a home-and-home with Ole Miss.
South Alabama is coming off a 2-10 season in the second year under Steve Campbell. The Jaguars have never finished above .500 since making the move to the FBS level in 2012. The closest they came was a 6-6 record in 2013.
Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, is coming off a 10-3 2019 campaign. The 10 wins set a school record as an FBS program. In beating Miami 14-0 in the 2019 Independence Bowl, Tech became the first Group of Five school to shut out a Power Five member in a postseason game.
In seven seasons under skip Holtz, the Bulldogs have gone 56-36. Those are the most wins for a Bulldogs head coach since Tech moved up to the Div. I-A, now FBS, level. With 151, Joe Aillet holds the school’s all-time record.
Like Boise State and Nebraska before it, Eastern Michigan continues a late filling of its 2020 football recruiting class. Even as its eyes are mostly on the 2021 class.
Eastern Michigan football Wednesday that its has officially signed tight end Lucas Luft as part of its Class of 2020. With Luft’s signing, the Eagles now have a class that’s 24 recruits strong.
Luft spent the past two seasons at Fullerton College. In 2018, Luft was a first-team All-Southern California Football Association selection after averaging a ridiculous 31.5 yards per catch.
According to 247Sports.com, Luft is the No. 17 JUCO tight end in this year’s class. He’s also a three-star signee according to that recruiting service.
“In Lucas, we have found exactly what we were looking for,” said head coach Chris Creighton. “He’s a tough 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end that can really stretch the field and catch. He was an excellent wide receiver in high school and has grown into a man who can do it all. Best of all, he is the kind of person we look for off the field. He is a great fit for Eastern Michigan football.
Eastern Michigan now holds the No. 7 football recruiting class in the MAC.
EMU is coming off a 6-7 campaign that ended with a QuickLane Bowl loss to Pitt. The Eagles have now played in a bowl game three of the past four years, the only time in school history that’s ever happened.
Creighton’s 28 wins (in six seasons) are already fifth-most in the program’s history.
For once, Alabama and Marshall have something in common when it comes to football.
Earlier this week, it was reported that a pair of Marshall football players had tested positive for coronavirus. The positive tests came after the Thundering Herd players had returned to campus for voluntary workouts. Both of those individuals were placed in quarantine.
After being allowed to by the SEC, Alabama football players began returning for voluntary on-campus workouts Monday. Four days later, it’s now being reported that at least five Alabama football players have tested positive for COVID-19.
All of the Crimsin Tide players who tested positive are asymptomatic. Based on protocol, all of those have been isolated from the rest of the team. Al.com wrote that “[a]t least one of the players who tested positive for COVID-19 was in attendance for player-led workout sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday.” Obviously, the players involved have not been named publicly.
One report, however, stated “that the list of players included a lineman, a couple of skill players and one quarterback.”
Thursday evening, Alabama released a statement that neither confirmed nor denied the reports.
The health and safety of our student-athletes is a top priority. Resources and protocols are in place to ensure they receive the best medical care when returning to campus. Due to privacy laws we cannot share information specific to the health of our student-athletes.
Chris Beaty may be gone, but the former Indiana football player won’t be soon forgotten.
It was reported Monday that Beaty “was one of two men shot and killed in separate incidents over the weekend as violence erupted in Downtown Indianapolis.” The 38-year-old Beaty was shot multiple times shortly before midnight local time Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Chris Beaty was a defensive lineman for the Indiana Hoosiers football team from 2000-04.
This week, Beaty’s nephew, Jared Thomas, set up a GoFundMe page to honor his uncle’s legacy. The goal of the fundraising page, Thomas wrote, is to collect “donations in his memory to the Chris Beaty Memorial Scholarship Fund that will benefit Indiana University & Cathedral High School, his alma maters which he loved so dearly.”
As of this posting, more than $40,000 has been raised.
Despite being away from the Indiana football program as a player for nearly two decades, Beaty remained close to it.
HoosierHuddle.com wrote that “Beaty was still actively involved with IU football. He tweeted on April 26th a screenshot of head coach Tom Allen, Mark Deal and several other Indiana football alumni. He thanked Allen for checking in with the former players and said that IU football was in good hands.”
Included was a tweet from Beaty’s personal Twitter account.
“I am at a loss for words,” a statement from Allen began. “The news of the passing of Chris Beaty is just devastating. Since I returned home to coach at Indiana, Chris embraced me, encouraged me and supported me! His passion for life and Indiana Football energized me every time we were together. He was one of our first alumni that displayed his unwavering support for what we are building here at Indiana and how we are building it. I am so heartbroken for his family and he will be deeply missed by all those that were blessed to call him a friend! LEO”