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Arkansas State Red Wolves

Arkansas State Red Wolves
University Arkansas State University
Conference Sun Belt Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Terry Mohajir
Location Jonesboro, AR
Varsity teams 16 (7 Men's, 9 Women's)
Football stadium Centennial Bank Stadium
Basketball arena Convocation Center
Mascot Howl and Scarlet (formerly The Indian Tribe, Jumping Joe, Running Joe, and Red)
Nickname Red Wolves (2008–present)
(Indians 1931–2008)
     Scarlet       Black

The Arkansas State University Red Wolves (known as the Indians through Spring 2008) is the name given to the athletic teams of Arkansas State University. The university is a member of the Sun Belt Conference in all sports, competing in at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I level.

Sports teams

Arkansas State sponsors teams in seven men's and nine women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[1]


Indians (1931–2008)

The school's sports teams were nicknamed "Indians" in honor of the Osage Nation that inhabited the area until the 1800s.[2][3] The name “Indians” officially became the school’s athletic nickname in 1931 following “Aggies” in 1911 (sometimes called “Farmers”), “Gorillas” in 1925, and then “Warriors” in 1930.[4]

Arkansas State officially retired the Indian mascot on February 28, 2008 during the last home basketball game of the season. The school retained the Indians nickname for the remainder of the 2007–08 school year.

Main article: Red (mascot)

Red Wolves

On January 31, 2008, Arkansas State University’s Mascot Selection Steering Committee decided to use the "Wolves" as a mascot.[5] The Red Wolves was officially approved by the NCAA on March 7, 2008.[6] The unveiling ceremony for the new Red Wolves logo was held on March 13, 2008. The University planned on doing a slow phase out of the Indian imagery on the Arkansas State University campus. Dr. Dean Lee, the University's athletic director at the time, announced the Indian imagery would be phased out by importance, meaning the most visible sports would have the Red Wolves imagery first. Also, as part of the phaseout of the "Indians" nickname, the school immediately changed the name of its football stadium from Indian Stadium to ASU Stadium. In September 2012, the stadium's name was changed to Liberty Bank Stadium.


Arkansas State first fielded a football team in 1911. Since then, the team has compiled six conference championships, and one College Division (now Division II) football championship. The team was briefly discontinued during the First and Second World Wars. In 1953, the Indians moved from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), where they competed in the College Division. In 1975, they were promoted to NCAA Division I, and Arkansas State briefly played at the I-A level, from 1978 to 1981. From 1982 to 1991, the Indians competed at the Division I-AA level, before again being promoted to I-A, which is now known as Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
File:Arkansas State Football Player.jpg
An Arkansas State football player wearing his home uniform.

In 1970, as a member of the Southland Conference, Arkansas State was crowned the NCAA College Division national champion after they defeated Central Missouri State (now known as Central Missouri) to complete an 11–0 season. It was the Indians' third consecutive bowl appearance. In 1975, the team's first year at the Division I level, Arkansas State recorded an 11–0 season, as one of only two undefeated teams. As a member of the Southland Conference, Arkansas State did not receive an automatic bowl game bid, and was not selected for post-season play. The Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana was created as a direct result of the snub. In the 1980s, Arkansas State made four appearances in the Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) playoffs, including a 48-21 loss to Georgia Southern in the 1986 championship final.

During the 2005 football season, Arkansas State finished the regular season as Sun Belt Conference champions with a 6–5 record and played in the New Orleans Bowl, which they lost to Southern Mississippi.[7] In 2011, the Red Wolves again finished as Sun Belt Conference champions with a 10–2 record and played in the Bowl, losing to Northern Illinois. In 2012, the Red Wolves finished as Sun Belt Conference champions for the 2nd year in a row with a 9-3 record and played in the Bowl against #25 Kent State, winning the game 17-13. In 2013, the Red Wolves again finished as Sun Belt Conference champions for the 3rd straight year with a 7-5 regular season record and again played in the renamed GoDaddy Bowl, defeating Ball State 23–20.

The Red Wolves achieved football success in the 2010s despite frequent coaching turnover. The current 2014 season is the Red Wolves' fourth consecutive season with a new head coach.


Arkansas State shares an in-state rivalry with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Trojans (UALR).[citation needed] In recent years, the basketball series has gone in favor of Arkansas State with ASU winning five of the past six games (updated 2007–2008 season). This series has become one of the more intense rivalries in the Sun Belt Conference.[citation needed] The schools play each other twice per year, with one game each in Little Rock and Jonesboro.

In 1987, Arkansas State University received a bid to play in the National Invitation Tournament. The first game was against the University of Arkansas and was played in Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas. While the Indians led for the majority of the game, the Razorbacks eventually won in overtime. The game is the only meeting between the two universities in Men's Basketball.

In 1999, ASU went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time, losing to Utah in the first round.

In the 2006–2007 season, ASU won the Sun Belt Conference West Division Championship, finishing just ahead of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The Indians went on to lose to the North Texas Mean Green in the finals of the Conference Tournament. After an 18 win, 15 loss season and a finals appearance in the Sunbelt Conference Tournament that year, ASU managed only a 10 win, 20 loss record the next season. One of the worst performances in school history, this record was a huge contributing factor in head basketball coach Dickie Nutt's resignation.[citation needed]

On March 19, 2008, Arkansas State named John Brady as the university's 15th head basketball coach. Brady had previously coached at Louisiana State University, taking the Tigers to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in 2006. Brady is the only head basketball coach in the Sun Belt Conference with Final Four experience.


Under head coach Keith Kessinger, ASU's baseball team usually finished in the middle of the pack in the SBC. ASU has claimed several victories over major teams in the last few years, including wins over the University of Mississippi, University of Kentucky, and Michigan State University. Arkansas State University director of athletics Dr. Dean Lee announced on July 1, 2008 that Tommy Raffo had been named head coach of the Red Wolves baseball team. Raffo was hired from Mississippi State after the controversial retirement of Ron Polk at MSU.

Notable non varsity sports


Arkansas State plays college rugby in the Mid-South conference of Division 1-A.[8] The Red Wolves have been led by Head Coach Mani Delaibatiki since 2013. From 2001-2007, Arkansas State reached the Division II finals 3 times, under Head Coach Curt Huckaby.

Arkansas State was promoted to Division 1, and made the commitment to dedicate resources to its rugby program, offering the in-state tuition rate to qualifying out-of-state players.[9] Consequently, Arkansas State has become one of the most successful college rugby programs in the country. The Red Wolves won the Mid-South Conference in 2011, and defeated St. Mary's in the national quarterfinals to reach the semifinals of the 2011 college rugby national championship, and finished the season ranked third in the nation. The Red Wolves defeated Army and St. Mary's in the 2012 national playoffs to reach the finals of the 2012 college rugby championship, losing to BYU 49-42 before 8,700 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.[10] The Red Wolves won the Mid-South conference in 2013 and finished 3rd in the nation.[11]

The Red Wolves have also been successful in rugby sevens. Arkansas State finished third at the 2011 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, Led by tournament MVP Zac Mizell, Arkansas State won the 2012 USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, winning its pool by defeating rugby powerhouse Cal, and defeating Life University 21-7 in the finals.[12] Arkansas State repeated in 2013, going 6-0 to once again win the USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, this time behind tournament MVP Dylan Carrion.[13] Arkansas State won the 2015 Las Vegas Invitational, and as of May 2015, Arkansas State carried a three-year unbeaten record in rugby sevens.[14]

In February, 2014 Arkansas State Rugby announced a partnership with the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand (IRANZ) allowing Arkansas State to promote itself as an international rugby academy and gain preferential access to IRANZ coaches, clinics, and mentors.[15]

In July, 2014 Arkansas State was invited to join University of Texas, University of Oklahoma, Notre Dame, BYU, Clemson, UCLA, Cal, Central Washington, Dartmouth, Air Force, Utah, and Navy at the top of college rugby as the Varsity Cup Championship's 13th member.[16]

Fight song

On, On, On to victory
Brave team you're second to none
Let's make this game history
along with the others we've won
with all your might
so that the world may see that
RED W-O-L-V-E-S means Victory! Go stAte!

Originally written and composed by George L."Pop" Hodge, of Marked Tree in 1960 but rewritten in 2007 when the Indians became the Red Wolves. The original song still doubles as the Fight Song for the Marked Tree Indians.

Athletic bands

  • Sound of the Natural State – perform during football games and events.
  • The Howlers – perform during basketball games and various collegiate events.

Notable sports figures


  1. ^
  2. ^ "NCAA May Force ASU To Drop Indian Mascot". 
  3. ^ "NCAA won't allow Indian mascots at playoff games". Noble Savage Media. Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  4. ^ "Mascot Retirement". 
  5. ^ "Mascot Selection Steering Committee votes to recommend ‘Wolves’ as next ASU mascot". Arkansas State Athletics. 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Rued, Monika (2008-03-07). "Arkansas State Goes With Red Wolves". TodaysTHV. Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-03-07. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ USA Rugby, College Conferences,
  9. ^ USA Rugby, College Scholarships,
  10. ^ Arkansas State University, Red Wolf Rugby's championship quest falls short to Brigham Young, May 21, 2012,
  11. ^ D1A Rugby, LIFE WINS, RED WOLVES GET LAST LAUGH (FOR NOW), April 14, 2013,
  12. ^ Rugby Mag, Texans Help Arkansas State to Title in Texas, Dec. 2, 2012,
  13. ^ Rugby Mag, Men's 7s Final Brackets, Standings, Scores, 25 November 2013,
  14. ^ "Arkansas State Carries 3-Year Streak into CRC", Rugby Today, May 26, 2015.
  15. ^
  16. ^

External links