Arkansas State Red Wolves
|Arkansas State Red Wolves|
|University||Arkansas State University|
|Conference||Sun Belt Conference|
|Athletic director||Terry Mohajir|
|Varsity teams||16 (7 Men's, 9 Women's)|
|Football stadium||Centennial Bank Stadium|
|Basketball arena||First National Bank Arena|
|Mascot||Howl and Scarlet|
Scarlet and Black|
The Arkansas State Red Wolves are the athletic teams of Arkansas State University. They are a member of the Sun Belt Conference in all sports, competing at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I level.
The name “Indians” officially became the school’s athletic nickname in 1931 following “Aggies” in 1911 (sometimes called “Farmers”), “Gorillas” in 1925, and then “Warriors” in 1930.
Arkansas State officially retired the Indian mascot on February 28, 2008, during the last home basketball game of the season. The school retained the Indians nickname for the remainder of the 2007–08 school year.
On January 31, 2008, Arkansas State University’s Mascot Selection Steering Committee decided to use the "Wolves" as a mascot. The Red Wolves was officially approved by the NCAA on March 7, 2008. The unveiling ceremony for the new Red Wolves logo was held March 13, 2008. The University planned on doing a slow phase out of the Indian imagery on the Arkansas State University campus. Dr. Dean Lee, the University's athletic director at the time, announced the Indian imagery would be phased out by importance, meaning the most visible sports would have the Red Wolves imagery first. Also, as part of the phaseout of the "Indians" nickname, the school immediately changed the name of its football stadium from Indian Stadium to ASU Stadium. In September 2012 the stadium's name was changed to Liberty Bank Stadium (now, as of 2015, known as Centennial Bank Stadium).
|Men's sports||Women's sports|
|Cross country||Cross country|
|Track & field†||Tennis|
|Track & field†|
|† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor|
Under head coach Keith Kessinger, ASU's baseball team usually finished in the middle of the pack in the SBC. ASU has claimed several victories over major teams in the last few years, including wins over the University of Mississippi, University of Kentucky, and Michigan State University. Arkansas State University director of athletics Dr. Dean Lee announced on July 1, 2008, that Tommy Raffo had been named head coach of the Red Wolves baseball team. Raffo was hired from Mississippi State after the controversial retirement of Ron Polk at MSU.
In 1987 Arkansas State University received a bid to play in the National Invitation Tournament. The first game was against the University of Arkansas and was played in Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas. While the Indians led for the majority of the game, the Razorbacks eventually won in overtime. The game is the only meeting between the two universities in Men's Basketball.
On March 19, 2008, Arkansas State named John Brady as the university's 15th head basketball coach. Brady had previously coached at Louisiana State University, taking the Tigers to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in 2006. Brady is the only head basketball coach in the Sun Belt Conference with Final Four experience. Brady resigned following the 2015-2016 season.
Arkansas State first fielded a football team in 1911. Since then the team has compiled six conference championships and one College Division (now NCAA Division II) football championship. The team was briefly discontinued during the First and Second World Wars. In 1953, the Indians moved from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), where they competed in the College Division. In 1975 they were promoted to NCAA Division I, and Arkansas State briefly played at the I-A level from 1978 to 1981. From 1982 to 1991, the Indians competed at the Division I-AA level before, again, being promoted to I-A, which is now known as Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
In 1970, as a member of the Southland Conference, Arkansas State was crowned the NCAA College Division national champion after they defeated Central Missouri State (now known as University of Central Missouri) to complete an 11–0 season. It was the Indians' third consecutive bowl appearance. In 1975 the team's first year at the Division I level, Arkansas State recorded an 11–0 season as one of only two undefeated teams. As a member of the Southland Conference, Arkansas State did not receive an automatic bowl game bid and was not selected for post-season play. The Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana, was created as a direct result of the snub. In the 1980s, Arkansas State made four appearances in the Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) playoffs, including a 48–21 loss to Georgia Southern in the 1986 championship final.
During the 2005 football season, Arkansas State finished the regular season as Sun Belt Conference champions with a 6–5 record and played in the New Orleans Bowl, which they lost to Southern Mississippi. In 2011 the Red Wolves again finished as Sun Belt Conference champions with a 10–2 record and played in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, losing to Northern Illinois. In 2012 the Red Wolves finished as Sun Belt Conference champions for the 2nd year in a row with a 9–3 record and played in the GoDaddy.com Bowl against #25 Kent State, winning the game 17–13. In 2013 the Red Wolves again finished as Sun Belt Conference champions for the third straight year with a 7–5 regular season record and again played in the renamed GoDaddy Bowl, defeating Ball State 23–20.
The Red Wolves achieved football success in the 2010s despite frequent coaching turnover. Arkansas State has won three of the last five Sun Belt conference titles outright and are co-champions of another.
Notable non-varsity sports
Arkansas State plays college rugby in the Mid-South conference of Division 1-A. The Red Wolves hired former ASU player Shaun Potgieter in 2015. Prior to that, they were led by Head Coach NeMani Delaibatiki between 2013–2014. From 2000–2007, Arkansas State reached the Division II finals three times under Head Coach Curt Huckaby.
Arkansas State was promoted to Division 1 and made the commitment to dedicate resources to its rugby program, offering the in-state tuition rate to qualifying out-of-state players. Consequently, Arkansas State has become one of the most successful college rugby programs in the country. The Red Wolves won the Mid-South Conference in 2011 and defeated St. Mary's in the national quarterfinals to reach the semifinals of the 2011 college rugby national championship, finishing the season ranked third in the nation. The Red Wolves defeated Army and St. Mary's in the 2012 national playoffs to reach the finals of the 2012 college rugby championship, losing to BYU 49–42 before 8,700 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The Red Wolves won the Mid-South conference in 2013 and finished 3rd in the nation.
The Red Wolves have also been successful in rugby sevens. Arkansas State finished third at the 2011 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships. Led by tournament MVP Zac Mizell, Arkansas State won the 2012 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, winning its pool by defeating rugby powerhouse Cal, and defeating Life University 21–7 in the finals. Arkansas State repeated in 2013, going 6–0 to once again win the USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, this time behind tournament MVP Dylan Carrion. Arkansas State won the 2015 Las Vegas Invitational and, as of May 2015, Arkansas State carried a three-year unbeaten record in rugby sevens.
In February 2014 Arkansas State Rugby announced a partnership with the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand (IRANZ) allowing Arkansas State to promote itself as an international rugby academy and gain preferential access to IRANZ coaches, clinics, and mentors.
In July 2014 Arkansas State was invited to join University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, Notre Dame, BYU, Clemson, UCLA, Cal, Central Washington, Dartmouth, Air Force, Utah, and Navy at the top of college rugby as the Varsity Cup Championship's 13th member.
- Sound of the Natural State – perform during football games and events.
- The Howlers – perform during basketball games and various collegiate events.
Notable sports figures
- George Kell – Broadcaster and Hall of Fame baseball player Detroit Tigers
- Bryan Hall – Defensive Tackle #95 for Baltimore Ravens
- Fred Barnett – former NFL wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins
- Earl Bell – Olympic bronze medal pole vaulter and former world record holder
- Bill Bergey – NFL linebacker
- Ray Brown- retired veteran NFL offensive lineman
- Maurice Carthon – NFL/USFL player and NFL coach
- Carlos Emmons- NFL linebacker who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants
- Brad Franchione – college football coach
- Jeff Hartwig – US record holding pole vaulter
- Thomas Hill – Olympic silver medalist in 110-meter hurdles in 1972
- James Johnson – Most Valuable Player of 2007 CFL Grey Cup
- Tyrell Johnson – drafted with 43rd pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2008 NFL Draft
- Ken Jones – 12-year NFL offensive lineman, primarily with the Buffalo Bills
- Al Joyner – Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump
- Larry Lacewell – former head coach of Arkansas State; former director of scouting for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League
- Cleo Lemon – quarterback for Toronto Argonauts
- Dan A. Sullivan – basketball player in early 1970s; member of the Arkansas House of Representatives for Craighead and Greene counties since 2015
- Kellie Suttle – two time Olympic pole vaulter and silver medalist at 2001 World Indoor Championships and 1999 Pan American Games
- Charley Thornton – sports figure
- Corey Williams – defensive tackle for Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns
- Jerry Muckensturm – former linebacker for Chicago Bears
- J.J. Montgomery - Former ASU Basketball 2003-2005, International Basketball Player.
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