JONESBORO, Ark. (3/15/22) – Arkansas State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Tom Bowen announced Tuesday that A-State has finalized a two-year contract extension with head men’s basketball coach Mike Balado.
“Our men’s basketball program saw improvement and progress this season and is moving in a good direction,” said Bowen. “Coach Balado and I concur that neither of us is satisfied with the overall on-court results. We will not settle for progress alone. We are encouraged that with our talented roster currently in place and healthy recruiting, we are in a strong position to reach the championship and postseason goals we are all striving to accomplish. We look forward to Coach Balado’s continued leadership as our head men’s basketball coach.”
Balado has guided A-State to 69 wins during his tenure, increasing the program’s win total from one season to the next in four of his five years at the helm. Most recently in 2021-22, the Red Wolves posted at least 18 victories for just the fourth time since the 1999-2000 season.
“I am honored and blessed to continue as Arkansas State’s head men’s basketball coach,” said Balado. “Striving for excellence is top priority in this program, along with developing and mentoring this group of quality young men. I would like to thank Chancellor Damphousse and Tom Bowen for their unwavering support and trust. The future continues to be bright, and I can’t wait for the upcoming season.”
Including a 67-60 victory over Sun Belt Conference regular-season champion Texas State, A-State also finished this past season with 11 home wins to tie the fourth most in First National Bank Arena history.
“At the end of each sport’s season, I seek an assessment from Vice Chancellor Bowen as to the status of the program,” said Arkansas State Chancellor Kelly Damphousse. “Ultimately, we agreed that Coach Balado has our men’s basketball program moving on the right trajectory. We believe that our incoming and returning student-athletes put us in great position to achieve our championship and postseason aspirations in the coming years. I am pleased that we were able to agree on an extension that gives Coach every opportunity to succeed here at Arkansas State.”
The Red Wolves have won six road games twice under Balado, marking just the 13th and 14th time over the last 50 seasons an A-State team won six or more road games. The 2019-20 and 2021-22 seasons saw A-State finish the regular season with 16 or more wins for the 18th and 19th time in 52 seasons at the Division I level (since 1970-71).
Balado has guided A-State to wins in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.
Balado recruited and has overseen the development of Norchad Omier, the 2022 Sun Belt Player of the Year and Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year. Omier became the third player in league history to win both honors in the same season. Averaging 17.9 points and 12.2 rebounds while shooting 63.2 percent from the floor, Omier became the first player in league history to average at least 15 points and shoot better than 63 percent from the floor.
Omier, the fourth NCAA Division I freshman in the last 30 years to average at least 12 points and 12 rebounds, was named Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Sun Belt in 2020-21. It marked the first time an A-State player earned the Freshman of the Year award since 2009-10 and a first team all-conference selection since 2006-07.
Marquis Eaton, a two-time All-Sun Belt selection, played all five seasons under Balado and finished his career fourth among the all-time leading scorers in program history. Eaton, a third team All-Sun Belt choice in 2019-20 and a second team all-conference selection in 2020-21, finished with 1,654 career points while playing in a program record 149 games spanning 4,375 minutes. Among career leaders in program history, he also finished third in assists (476), fifth in steals (154), eighth in three pointers made (163) and eighth in free-throw percentage (.825).
A-State finished the 2021-22 season shooting .451 from the field, marking just the second time in the last 14 seasons it shot 45 percent or better. The team was 74.5 percent at the free throw line, the third-best percentage in program history and best since the 1984-85 season.
Defensively, A-State limited opponents to 68.1 points per game, the fewest by a Red Wolves team since 2012-13. Per KenPom, A-State has improved defensively each of the last five seasons to an adjusted defensive ranking of 133 this season, the best since the 2012-13 campaign.
For the latest on A-State men’s basketball, follow the team on Twitter (@AStateMB), Facebook (/AStateMB) and Instagram (@astatemb).
Original article source: https://astateredwolves.com/news/2022/3/15/mens-basketball-a-state-announces-contract-extension-for-a-state-mens-basketball-head-coach-mike-balado.aspx | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council