Steve Roberts Resigns as Arkansas State Football Coach; Search for Replacement Begins

by Jim Harris  on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010 5:05 pm  

Arkansas State Red Wolves Head Coach Steve Roberts

This story is from the archives of

Steve Roberts, whose last two seasons in a nine-year head coaching career at Arkansas State ended with 4-8 records, resigned Monday as the Red Wolves' football coach. According to ASU athletic director Dean Lee, Roberts' resignation is effective Tuesday at 5 p.m. and a search for his successor will begin immediately. No ASU assistant coaches have been let go, seven went out on the road recruiting Monday, and Lee did not rule out hiring from within.

Lee said Monday he would prefer the new hire have head coaching experience on the collegiate level and some level of coaching experience with a Bowl Subdivision level program.

Roberts did not attend a 4 p.m. press conference announcing the resignation. Asked of Roberts was forced out, Lee said that Roberts was offered options, one of which was to resign. Roberts had one year left on his contract. Lee said that Roberts would be paid for his last year through private funds but did not reveal what the buyout amount would be. Roberts' base salary, according to the most recent records available, is $140,000 per year.

Roberts led the Red Wolves to 45 wins in his nine seasons. It's the most wins over that amount of time since 1985-93, in which five of those seasons were played in NCAA Division I-AA. ASU was "bowl eligible" in four of Roberts' seasons, starting with the 2002 year, but only in 2005 did the team advance to a bowl. ASU was the Sun Belt's representative as champion in the New Orleans Bowl, losing to Southern Mississippi in a game played at Lafayette, La., because of damage the Louisiana Superdome suffered from Hurricane Katrina.

Attendance for ASU's first two home games topped 23,000 fans, and inclement weather was a major factor in a small attendance for a Tuesday night nationally televised game with Middle Tennessee on Nov. 2. Attendance was low for ASU's two other home games, both Sun Belt Conference matchups.

Roberts' last team did set several school offensive records. Roberts made a chance at offensive coordinator following last year's 4-8 record and brought in Hugh Freeze to install a no-huddle spread offense. ASU had five losses in 2010 that came down the late possessions, and the Red Wolves led in the fourth quarter in four of those. A blunder in the kicking game late in a 36-35 overtime loss to downtrodden Western Kentucky sent ASU on a three-game tailspin to close ths season.

Some highlights from the ASU athletic department press release we received in Little Rock at 5:15 p.m.:

“We are thankful to Coach Roberts for his nine years of service to Arkansas State University and its athletic department,” said [Dean] Lee. “He led our football program to a number of accomplishments, and he has been a great ambassador for our program and this University.”

Under Roberts, the Red Wolves had 70 All-Sun Belt Conference selections, a Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year, an SBC Offensive Player of the Year, two SBC Defensive Players of the Year and an SBC Newcomer of the Year.

Under Roberts’ guidance, ASU picked up notable non-conference victories over teams such as Tulsa, Army, SMU, Memphis and Texas A&M. The 2008 victory over the Aggies was ASU’s first over a team from a BCS automatic qualifying conference since it joined the FBS.

Roberts led ASU?to a 32-12 record at ASU?Stadium for a .727 winning percentage. The Red Wolves had five players drafted and 12 others sign a free agent contract with a NFL?franchise during Roberts tenure.

A-State excelled academically under Roberts, winning seven Sun Belt Conference Team Academic Awards. The Red Wolves regularly placed a large number of football players on the ASU Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, had three players named Academic All-District, one named Academic All-America and one receive the NCAA postgraduate scholarship.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.