A-State fires Mike Balado after 6 seasons


Balado was hired on March 20, 2017, and became the 16th head coach in school history. Balado signed a two-year extension after the 2021-22 season. Over a month span, A-State lost 10 conference games to finish the regular season 13-20. The team also dropped their last 15 of 19 games. 

The buyout of Balado’s contract officially dropped by half from $375,000 to $187,500 on Thursday. He was making $375,000 every year he was at Arkansas State. According to Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Balado’s buyout would be cut in half if A-State failed to win the SBC regular season championship, collect 10 conference wins or reach the NCAA or NIT tournaments in the 2022-23 season. The Red Wolves failed to accomplish all of those tasks. 

“Following a thorough evaluation of our program, the decision was made that now is the time for a fresh start. We will move forward with high expectations to advance the program and consistently compete for championships,” vice chancellor of intercollegiate athletics, Jeff Purinton said. 

In Balado’s six seasons, he was 82-100 with three wins in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. One of those wins was this year, with an 86-69 victory over Coastal Carolina in the first round of the SBC Tournament. Balado’s last game as a Red Wolf resulted in a 63-59 loss to Troy in the second round.

A-State finished 16-16 in 2019-20 and 18-11 in 2021-22, for the only .500 or better seasons under Balado. The Red Wolves were 40-64 in conference play.

“I would like to say thank you to the community of Jonesboro and Arkansas State University for the opportunity to be your head coach,” said Balado.

He was previously an assistant coach at the University of Louisville from 2013 to 2017. In the 2016-17 season, he helped lead the Cardinals to a 25-9 record and a number two seed in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament. 

“I’m very proud of the players we’ve recruited here and that we’ve been able to graduate 100 percent of our seniors who exhausted their eligibility.  To all the players who have played for me, I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication to the program, as well as me and my family,” Balado said.

Balado’s wife, Alicia, is an instructor at A-State. In 2021, she was making $50,000, which was 22% higher than the average and 51% higher than the median salary in Arkansas State.

A-State will begin an immediate search for their next head coach.

Categories: Sports

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