Introducing the New Boss
March 20, 2017
by Chase Gage
JONESBORO, ARK. — The new boss has made it to town. Coach Mike Balado was officially introduced as the men’s basketball head coach at Arkansas State March 20.
A press conference was held at the Convocation Center at 10 A.M. on Monday, March 20 to introduce Coach Balado and his family. The conference was held in front of a crowd of upwards of 200 attendees, notably including Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin, Jonesboro High School recruit Marquis Eaton and the beloved mascot, Howl.
Chancellor Doug Whitlock was the first to speak, saying that Balado had “a fire in his belly.”
“He wants to win,” Whitlock said.
Next up to the podium was the President of ASU Systems, Chuck Welch. Welch said that once he and Athletics Director Terry Mohajir, whom he called the “best AD in the country”, met with Balado there was “no question” that he was going to be the next head coach at AState. Welch went on to say that the first words out of Balado’s mouth when he was offered the job were “I want it. Let’s go win some championships.”
“Terry (Mohajir) has hit a home run,” Welch said.
“(It is) another exciting day to be a Red Wolf,” Mohajir said, receiving a standing ovation as he took the stage.
“First and foremost: Do you want to be a Red Wolf?” That was the number-one question Mohajir had for any candidate. He went on to say that Balado met every criterion he was looking for. He then called Balado an “elite assistant from an elite program.”
Mohajir worked with Balado briefly at Florida Atlantic University while Balado was an assistant coach. He recalled an exchange in which he told Balado that he would be a big-time head coach one day. Now he is the one to hire him to his first head coaching job.
Balado was greeted with a standing ovation and a roar of howls from the crowd while the AState fight song played.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to be the head men’s basketball coach at Arkansas State University,” Balado said. “(Welch and Mohajir) gave me the best recruiting pitch for this school. I am really, really excited to be here and to be a part of the Red Wolf family.”
“Championship.” That’s the only word he said he wants to hear come out of his player’s mouths.
“Will it be easy? Absolutely not. No successful person has ever had an easy road.”
Balado said that the Red Wolves will be the best-conditioned team in the country and have the best defense.
“If you’re tired, your opponent will be exhausted,” he said in reference to the team’s conditioning. “We will outwork and out-prepare our opponents.”
Balado made a point that he wants players who are bought into the team, not themselves.
“If you play for the name on the front of the jersey, the name on the back will prosper,” Balado said. He went on to say that he wants humble players and that there is no room for ego on his team.
“Character is number one.”
When asked about what style of basketball he will bring to the Convocation Center, he said he wants his guards, wings, and bigs all to be able to pass, handle the ball and shoot well. He wants fast guards, a fast pace and a lot of possessions. He said it will be a similar system to the one of his former boss, Rick Pitino, head coach at Louisville.
“I want to build something special here. I don’t want to be a ‘hopper’,” Balado said. “My plan is to be here for a long period of time. I promise you will be proud to be a part of the Red Wolf family.”