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Arkansas State Red Wolves

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Title: Arkansas State Red Wolves  
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Subject: USA Rugby Sevens Collegiate National Championships, Sun Belt Conference, Arkansas State University, Sun Belt Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year, Native American mascot controversy
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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, Arkansas
Varsity teams 16 (7 Men's, 9 Women's)
Football stadium Centennial Bank Stadium
Basketball arena Convocation Center
Mascot Howl and Scarlet
Nickname Red Wolves
     Scarlet       Black
Website .com.astateredwolveswww

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.

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).
An Arkansas State football player wearing his home uniform.

In 1970, as a member of the 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.


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.

On March 19, 2008, Arkansas State named John Brady as the university's 15th head basketball coach.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] The Red Wolves won the Mid-South conference in 2013 and finished 3rd in the nation.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] Arkansas State won the 2015 Las Vegas Invitational, and as of May 2015, Arkansas State carried a three-year unbeaten record in rugby sevens.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]

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


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  13. ^ Rugby Mag, Texans Help Arkansas State to Title in Texas, Dec. 2, 2012,
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External links

  • Official website
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