ASU keeps Roberts as head coach for 2010 season

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - After an annual meeting between Arkansas State head football coach Steve Roberts and the athletic director Dr. Dean Lee, Roberts will stay on for at least one more year.  Offensive coordinator Doug Ruse, however, has been fired.

Ruse had been the offensive coordinator for the Red Wolves since January 2002 when Roberts took the job.  He was the offensive coordinator with Roberts at Northwestern State in Louisiana.

In a statement from the school Roberts says, "We have made a decision to go a different direction with the offensive coordinator position. Coach (Doug) Ruse is an outstanding football coach and has done a tremendous job in his position at Arkansas State, but sometimes change can be healthy for your program."

Coach Roberts is coming off a 4-8 season where a number of first and second string players ended up on the side-lines with injuries.  ASU dropped five games in 2009 by eight points or less, including three-point setbacks against nationally-ranked Iowa and Sun Belt Conference champion Troy.  Four losses came against teams that will play in bowl games and six against teams that finished the year .500 or better.

"As a result of our annual evaluation with Coach Roberts about the status of our program, we are confident the changes that are being made will assist us in making positive strides for the future," said Lee.  "We are all working to put ourselves in the best possible position to advance this program and  look forward to Steve's continued leadership in directing our football team."

ASU-Jonesboro Chancellor Robert Potts expressed his continued support for Roberts and Lee as the football program moves forward.

"I commend Coach Roberts and Dr. Lee for formulating a positive plan, following a comprehensive evaluation, to take our football program forward," said Potts.  "Our fans and our university deserve a winning program, and we have confidence that Coach Roberts is the right person to continue to lead the effort to achieve that goal."

Roberts, the 2005 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year, holds the fifth most victories in school history with 41 and led ASU to the 2005 New Orleans Bowl, ASU's first bowl appearance as an NCAA Division I-A member.

The Red Wolves ended the season ranked first in the Sun Belt Conference in total defense, marking the fourth consecutive year they have ranked among the top two teams in the league defensively.  While ASU slipped from third in the conference in total offense in 2008 to seventh in 2009, it ranked among the top four teams in several special teams categories that included kickoff coverage (1), field goals (3), punt return average (3), kickoff returns (4) and punting (4).