Has Arkansas State launched another coach with Blake Anderson going to Utah State?

Dan Wolken
USA TODAY

Blake Anderson, who led Arkansas State to six consecutive winning seasons before struggling in 2020, accepted the head coaching job at Utah State on Thursday. 

This could be considered one of the rare moves that is a net positive for all involved. 

Utah State, which fired Gary Andersen on Nov. 7, gets a proven winner who went 38-18 in the Sun Belt Conference with one outright conference title and one shared championship. Anderson, who has spoken at length about the personal difficulties he’s endured since his wife Wendy died of breast cancer in August 2019, gets a fresh start and is expected to receive a raise from the $825,000 he made at Arkansas State.

Blake Anderson, coaching Arkansas State in Aug. 2019.

It also gives the Red Wolves program, which has been a launching pad for successful coaches such as Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze in recent years, an opportunity to reset after slipping to 4-7 this season, which caused alarm among some corners of its fan base.

“We’re excited about this search,” Arkansas State athletics director Terry Mohajir said. “We believe we have an attractive program and that we’ll have a great pool of candidates. We look forward to finding our next head coach to continue advancing our program and building our emerging brand.”

Anderson previously spent time coaching in the Mountain West from 1999-2001 as an assistant at New Mexico. He takes over a program at Utah State that has the potential to compete at the top of the conference, as it did between 2013-2018 under Matt Wells with five bowl game appearances in six years.