January 8, 2014 Edition

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Building a program

Gretchen Hunt
I will be the first one to tell you that while I love to watch football and am an avid fan of the Arkansas State University Red Wolves, I have no idea of the intricacies of the inner workings of a collegiate program, let alone one that is trying to make a move to "the next level."

With that admission, I have to say, someone must be doing something right - three conference championships in a row, three bowl appearances in a row and two bowl championships in a row, all with major disruption in the coaching staff.

I, like other ASU fans, have been agitated at times by the swinging door that seems to be ushering coaches out as quickly as they arrive, but here we are with another successful season under our belts and three former coaches who are making noise in college football.

Last year, when the Red Wolves were playing in the GoDaddy Bowl, several mentioned that the ESPN commentators seemed to mention Alabama (set to play in the BCS championship the next night) more than they mentioned ASU.

This year, while I was watching Auburn and Gus Malzahn battle Florida State for the BCS title, Arkansas State was mentioned several times on ESPN. I celebrate any success achieved by coaches who have donned ASU gear, not only because they are former Red Wolves, but because as those coaches succeed and are talked about the A-State logo will be displayed and knowledge of ASU's football program will continue to grow.

The things that have happened and the progress made since I was a student in the mid '90s are incredible. We have had more fans travel to Alabama for bowl games than used to be in the stands for home games.

Sometimes we must remind ourselves that while ASU has had football for a long time, the Arkansas State Red Wolves (as they exist today) are pretty young. The university made the transition to Division 1-A in 1992 and spent much of its early years as an independent team. It was 2001 before the Sun Belt Conference added football and ASU really had something to build on. The university did not become the Red Wolves until 2008.

For someone who has been attending games for more than 30 years, there are old traditions that I miss but new traditions that I cherish! I am excited about what has already happened and excited to see what the future holds. Our new coach is already hard at work, and I'm already looking forward to fall to see what the season holds as ASU continues to build its program.

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