With the rise of digital media and the relative ease of producing and mini-documentaries in today’s world, “behind-the-scene” looks into the sports personalities are becoming a common feature of the modern media landscape. The trend is catching fire even in Arkansas, where sports radio host Bo Mattingly’s company recently released a documentary series about Hogs head football coach Bret Bielema.
Around the same time, Arkansas State head football coach Blake Anderson was looking for a way to do something new with his program’s two-year tradition of auctioning off its spring game head coaching position to the highest bidder. In the past, the winning bidders had been businessmen and Red Wolf fans who had a blast working the A-State sideline , but the stories coming out those experiences were mostly kept to a limited audience. “We thought a behind the story would be cool,” Anderson says.
Plus, Anderson wanted a bigger audience, and believed he knew just the person who could deliver it.
And so, he reached out to Thayer Evans, a Sports Illustrated reporter who previously worked for Fox Sports. Anderson says he wanted someone to guest coach who could “bring a lot of eyes toward what he were doing” and with a national platform Evans no doubt fit the bill. Moreover, he had actually been a coach before, albeit in basketball, at Division II Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
They agreed Evans would arrive in Jonesboro for a single day of whirlwind coaching, motivating, meeting, greeting and cheesing for the camera.
Here’s the contract:
This Employment Agreement is made this 15th day of April, 2016, between Arkansas State University (the “University”) and Thayer Evans (the “Employee”).
ARTICLE I – PURPOSE
1.01. The University and the Employee have entered into this Employment Agreement because the University desires to hire the Employee with the goal being that the Employee will serve as the Head Football Coach the entire term of this Employment Agreement.
ARTICLE II – POSITION
2.01. The Employee is hereby employed by the University as the Head Coach of the University’s Football Program (“Program”) and it is the goal of the parties that the Employee shall serve in such position throughout the term of this Employment Agreement.
2.02. The Employee agrees to be a loyal employee of the University, to devote his best efforts to the performance of his duties for the University, and to give proper time and attention to furthering his responsibilities to the University. The specific duties and responsibilities assigned to the Employee in connection with his position as the Program’s Head Coach are as set forth below:
1. Communication with media at 10 a.m. press conference at Centennial Bank Stadium’s Woodard McAlister Club;
2. Meet with players and staff and review film to compile a winning game plan;
3. Develop and deliver motivational pregame and halftime speeches;
4. Fulfill local, regional and national media interviews to bring positive recognition to the program;
5. Maintain open communication with staff during Spring Game to make play-calling decisions conducive to winning; 6. Determine fourth-down decisions impacting field position, momentum and scoring opportunities;
7. Work within the confines of applicable rules, regulations, guidelines of the University athletics department;
8. Strive to maintain a disciplined Program, keeping a mature and rational attitude as the Program’s Head Coach;
9. Establish and maintain personal communications designed to build relationships and support for the Program; 10. Sport official A-State gear on Centennial Bank sidelines;
11. Meet with the Mayor of Jonesboro in capacity as Arkansas State University’s Head Football Coach.
2.03. The Employee shall report to the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics or to such other person as the Employee’s reporting supervisor. The Employee’s job duties and responsibilites shall be reviewed and revised from hour-to-hour by the Employee’s reporting supervisor; however, such duties and responsibilities shall remain consistent with those typically assigned to Football Bowl Subdivision (“FBS”) head football coaches.
ARTICLE III – TERM OF EMPLOYMENT
3.01. The Employee’s employment hereunder shall commence at 12:00 a.m. April 15, 2016, and shall continue until this Agreement ter-minates at 11:59 p.m. April 15, 2016 (“Term”).
ARTICLE IV – COMPENSATION
4.01. In consideration for the promises made in entering into this Employment Agreement, the Employee shall be entitled to a once-in- a-lifetime experience that will be documented for memorable occassions. Shoud the Arkansas State University Football team win the game, the Employee shall receive as bonus a Powerade Bath as part of his bragging rights.
ARTICLE V – TERMINATION
5.01. The Employee recognizes that the goal is to remain as a University employee through the entire Term. However, if Employee ter- minates this Agreement during the first eight hours (12 a.m.-8 a.m.), Employee shall fulfill liquidated damages by taking Director of Athletics to breakfast, lunch and dinner within a one-day period; Second eight hours (8 a.m.-4 p.m.), Employee shall take Director of Athletics to lunch and dinner within a one-day period; Final eight hours (4 p.m.-11:59 a.m.), Employee shall take Director of Athletics to dinner within a one-day period.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereby have executed this Employment Agreement or caused this Agreement to be executed the day and year first written above, intending to be bound by its provisions.
Evans never did have to take A-State AD Terry Mohajir out to IHOP. Here’s his behind-the-scenes take on coaching A-State, with interesting background on why Blake Anderson — unlike 99% of his colleagues — has decided not to designate hard work, discipline or strength as one of his program’s core principles.