After Arkansas State and Dickey Nutt parted ways the next guy to step up and take over the basketball program in Jonesboro would be John Brady. Before his first season with Arkansas State in 2008, Brady spent eleven years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
While at LSU he would take the Tigers to four NCAA Tournament appearances that included a Sweet 16 and one Final Four. LSU under John Brady would finish first in the SEC West three times and second twice. In his eleven years at LSU the basketball team would finish the year with 20 plus wins four times. Brady would leave Baton Rouge with a 192-139 overall record and was 74-93 in SEC games.
When Brady took the Arkansas State job in 2008, the Red Wolves was a year removed from finishing tied for first place in the Sun Belt’s Western Division under Dickey Nutt. Coach Nutt would resign at Arkansas State on January 18th, 2008 with a 9-17 overall record and was 4-11 in SBC play.
Brady’s first season in Jonesboro would not be that good. The Red Wolves would finish the year seventh in the SBC West with a overall record of 13-17 and 5-13 in conference play. The next two seasons would show some promise for the program though. Brady and the Red Wolves would go 34-28 overall the next two years. During that same time the Red Wolves would go 22-12 in SBC play. That would also lead to a second place finish in the SBC West division in 2009 and a first place finish in the division in 2010.
Arkansas State would get another division title in 2012 with a 19-12 overall record while going 12-8 in the Sun Belt. The Red Wolves would reach 19 wins again in 2013, but after that things started to go down hill for State.
The last two seasons at Arkansas State have been kind of dark for basketball fans. The Red Wolves are just 22-38 the last two years overall. But, I think the thing that really got to fans the most here lately is the fact that State went 13-27 in SBC play the last two seasons.
The 2015 season result didn’t have much to do with Brady stepping down as he would announce it after just a few games early in the season. Brady put in eight years as the basketball coach at State. During this time he would go 121-128 overall and go 68-78 in the Sun Belt. Was it time for change at Arkansas State? I think so honestly.
The direction of the program has been moving in the wrong direction. With a program that doesn’t have a lot of history to pull up and compare next to Brady’s success, it’s hard to understand why there was so much pressure. But, I think it comes from the success of other programs. The football program is one of the best G5 programs in the country right now. So I think that has added a lot of outside pressure to the basketball program.
Then you look at what Boyer has done with the women’s basketball program and you start to ask yourself as fans or as a University. Is this the best we can do? I don’t think it is. Arkansas State basketball with the right staff and support can climb out of this dark hole it’s in now. But, the fans have to trust the University and it’s leaders to find the missing piece and with Terry Mohajir leading Arkansas State I have faith that this will happen.