Christopher Smith

Arkansas State Hires UNC Coordinator

Created on Dec. 19, 2013 6:12 PM EST

Arkansas State named North Carolina offensive coordinator Blake Anderson its head coach Thursday, the school announced.

Anderson becomes the fifth Red Wolves coach in five years, including one-and-done Hugh Freeze, Gus Malzahn and Bryan Harsin. The latter recently accepted the head coaching position at Boise State.

Arkansas State, apparently done with the instability at head coach, negotiated a ridiculous buyout into Anderson's contract. According to Pete Roussel of, Anderson will earn $700,000 per season, but his buyout clause would cost opposing schools $3 million in 2014 or 2015, $2 million in 2016 or 2017 and $1 million in 2018.

"Being a proud Arkansas State alum, our first and foremost criteria is who wants to coach these kids and be the head football coach at Arkansas State?” athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement. “That was the first criteria. We’re not just going to go out. You have to want to coach here at Arkansas State. Guess what? We found that guy. He wants to coach here at Arkansas State. He will be here at Arkansas State. You’ll see that later (with the contract).

“We’re excited about that. When I was a student-athlete here, I had three coaches, as well. I know what our players are going through right now. Although we want to continue momentum and success, we want to create some type of stability, as well.”

The Red Wolves wanted to hire an offensive coach who could take advantage of the skill players recruited by Freeze, Malzahn and Harsin. They'll get it in Anderson, one of five play callers to average at least six yards per play the last three seasons.

Anderson followed Larry Fedora to North Carolina last season after serving as offensive coordinator under the coach at Southern Miss. He previously was an assistant at Louisiana-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee State and New Mexico. The Tar Heels set records for points per game and total offense, among other things, in 2012 with Anderson calling the plays.

Defensive coordinator John Thompson will serve as the interim coach when Arkansas State faces Ball State in the GoDaddy Bowl on Jan. 5, the school announced.

That leaves two FBS coaching jobs open as of Thursday: Texas and Army.

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