Arkansas State to hire Mike Balado - The Herald: Sports

Arkansas State to hire Mike Balado

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Posted: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 5:30 pm

The search for the Arkansas State head basketball coach comes to an end with the hiring of Mike Balado.

Balado is the 16th head coach in program history at Arkansas State, agreeing to a five-year deal that will pay $375,000 annually. 

“I am extremely humbled and honored to be the head men’s basketball coach at Arkansas State University,” Balado said. “The vision that athletic director and Systems President Dr. Chuck Welch have for this prestigious university is off the charts. I look forward to helping these young men fulfill their dreams in the classroom, on the court and in life after basketball.”

In Balado’s first season with- the Cardinals the program posted a 27-9 record in the American Athletic Conference, also reaching the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament.

In Balado’s four seasons working under Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, the Cardinals posted a 106-32 overall record for a .768-win percentage. In the 2016-17 season, he helped lead Louisville to a 25-9 record and a No. 2 seed in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament

“It’s a great tribute to our emerging brand that we can hire a lead assistant from an elite program,” director of athletics Terry Mohajir said. “Without a doubt, I think there is no one in the country more prepared to lead our program than Mike Balado.”

 Welch added, “It took about five minutes of talking to Coach Balado to realize he is the man to lead our basketball program. His enthusiasm, energy and experience at a high-level program makes him the perfect fit. Most importantly, he made it very clear that he had done his research and wanted this job. When we made the offer, he said, ‘Let’s go win some championships.’ I have no doubt that is exactly what we are about to do with Coach Balado.”

Arkansas State added 15 bonus opportunities to increase his pay for his success on and off the court.

“The pay cut he took was his base salary,” said Mohajir. “Now with his bonuses, he can make a lot more.”

Pitino agreed when he said, “Mike Balado is a hardworking, special person that will put Arkansas State on the college basketball map. He is an outstanding recruiter and a great tactician.”

Balado will replace Grant McCasland, who accepted a head coaching position at the University of North Texas. 

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