Arkansas State fires head men’s basketball coach Mike Balado after 6 seasons

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:46 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 11:09 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State is looking for a new men’s basketball coach.

AStateNation and Jeff Goodman of Stadium were first to report that Mike Balado has been dismissed from his duties after six seasons. The school made it official Thursday afternoon.

“Following a thorough evaluation of our program, the decision was made that now is the time for a fresh start,” Vice Chancellor of Intercollegiate Athletics Jeff Purinton said in a statement. “We will move forward with high expectations to advance the program and consistently compete for championships.”

Balado was 82-100 in charge of the Red Wolves, including three wins in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. A-State finished at .500 or better in two seasons, going 16-16 in 2019-20 and an 18-11 mark in 2021-22. In conference play, A-State was 40-64 under Balado.

They finished 13-20 overall this season, marred by a 10-game conference skid from December 31st to February 2nd. The Red Wolves dropped 15 of their last 19 games, reaching the 2nd Round of the SBC Tournament.

Season-ending slumps were a theme for the Red Wolves under Balado’s six seasons. The Red Wolves were 21-39 in the months of February and March in his tenure, including dropping 5 of their final 8 games in 21-22, 4 of the final 5 in 20-21, 9 of the final 10 in 19-20 and 7 of the last 10 in each of his first two seasons.

Thursday marks the day that the buyout in Balado’s contract officially drops in half ($187,500). He had signed a two-year extension after the 2021-22 season.

“First, 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. “I have nothing but great things to say about this city and the people in it, and they’ve made this a very special place for me and my family.”

The Red Wolves are the 2nd Sun Belt team to change men’s basketball coaches this offseason. Georgia Southern hired Charlie Henry (Alabama assistant coach) on March 14th.