May 15, 2013 Edition

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ASU coach speaks
at Chamber meeting




Dr. Brett Cooper (right), chair of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, listens as Arkansas State University head football coach Bryan Harsin speaks about the ASU football program and its priorities and goals at Friday's quarterly meeting.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Gretchen Hunt
Editor

Red Wolves decor greeted attendees at Friday's Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce quarterly meeting and some howling could be heard as Lawrence County greeted new Arkansas State University head football coach Bryan Harsin.

Harsin, who was the speaker for the meeting, shared where the program is now, as well as priorities and goals moving forward. He emphasized the importance of community and fan support.

"I'm excited about seeing that stadium in August," he said. "You guys out there supporting our team - that's what gets it going."

He said the importance of the home-field advantage is why he wanted all the home games to be played at Liberty Bank Stadium in Jonesboro.

"We want to be at home," he said. "We want people to fear coming to The Vault. We need our 12th man - the crowd."

Prior to taking the head coach position at ASU, Harsin was a part of the coaching staff at the University of Texas and Boise State.

"I've worked at two of the winningest programs in the country," he said. "I got to learn a lot. I'm trying to apply the best of what I've learned here at Arkansas State."

For Harsin, building a successful football program requires having a good relationship between the coaches and the players. In addition to encouraging his assistant coaches to develop those relationships, Harsin said he also took out time to meet individually with each player.

"I set aside a week," he said. "I met with each one for 20 minutes, it took me from 8 to 5 every day. It's important to give them a voice - they are very bright young men."

Coach Harsin said a starting quarterback has not yet been selected, but that fans should not be concerned.

"We will have a quarterback, we just don't know who it is," he said. "That position gets way too much attention and way too much blame. Everyone else around him - that's where the magic happens."

The program has recently completed spring practices, and coaches are now on the road recruiting new Red Wolves.

Recruiting high-caliber players is of upmost importance, according to Harsin, not only their skills on the field, but also their leadership off the field and their ability in the classroom.

"When you find the right ones, a lot of teams want those same guys," he said.

Harsin said ASU has everything needed to recruit those players including fan support, a good environment, good academics and the development of an indoor facility.

"Once we get them on campus we believe we can sell our product," he said.

Program to host summer camps

Harsin also announced that the ASU football program will host several summer camps, including two high school camps, a prospects camp, a kindergarten through eighth-grade camp and fantasy camp (for 21 and older) and a women's clinic.

Brian Wilkinson, assistant athletic director for football operations, was also in attendance at Friday's meeting and encouraged those who would like more information on the upcoming camps to visit www.astatefootball.com.

"We have something for everyone," Wilkinson said.

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