A-State welcomes new men's basketball coach

A-State welcomes new men's basketball coach

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Monday officially marks the start of the Mike Balado era at A-State.

Balado had an introductory news conference at the Convocation Center auditorium Monday morning.

Balado was an assistant at Louisville the past four years before accepting the job at A-State.

While at Louisville, Balado helped coach the Cardinals to a 106-32 record and an Elite Eight appearance.

Outside of Louisville, Balado has also spent time at Miami, FIU, and FAU as an assistant coach.

On Sunday, Balado talked highly of the Arkansas State program.

"I am excited," Balado said. "Arkansas State's a great university. Jonesboro is a great community. They've got a great fan base and great people in the town. I spoke to some of the kids on the phone. Great young men, had great conversations, so I'm looking forward to working for them and I'm looking forward to making Arkansas State one of the top premier programs in the country."

He also went in depth on what makes A-State such an attractive job.

"I had a great job, but when you're looking for a head job, some of the things you look at is, are they top three in recruiting, budget, arena facilities, people that you work with," Balado said. "You know all that fit. When you look at all those boxes, they all check and when I spoke to coach [Pitino], he said, look I just want you to make the right decision and I want you to just want to be a head coach. We sat down, him and I, and spoke together at length and he spoke to everyone involved and we both came to the conclusion that it's a good opportunity and that's what we all strive for. That's what we all strive for, running your own program at a certain time."

Balado signed a five-year contract with a salary of $375,000 a year. His contract buyout is $1 million.

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