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College Football Coach Taking Leave Of Absence To Be With Sick Wife

Three footballs next to a pylon

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Arkansas State's Blake Anderson is taking a leave of absence to be with his wife who is battling cancer, the program announced Monday night.

Anderson's wife Wendy was first diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in 2017, and at the end of the 2018 season, Anderson revealed the disease had returned. Now, he's stepping away from the game to be with her as she continues to fight.

Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator David Duggan will lead the Red Wolves on an interim basis in Anderson's absence.

"Coach Anderson has decided to take a leave of absence during this difficult time to be with wife, Wendy, and his family," Arkansas State Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Terry Mohajir said in a statement tonight. "We will continue to pray for peace in his family and provide assistance any way we can."

Anderson has been the head coach at Arkansas State since 2014, compiling a 39-25 record at the school. He provided an emotional update on his wife's health at last month's Sun Belt media days.

“I fully expected I’d be standing before you today telling you, ‘Man, we beat cancer.’ I would love to be telling you that,” he said. “It’s just not where God’s got us right now… It has been a tough summer. It’s been a long, hard summer, but she is one of the toughest fighters I’ve ever met. We are still knee deep in the battle; the prayers are needed now more than ever before. We just continue to fight every day. Even my players have been inspired by her willingness to fight and not make excuses and just battle every day.”

Considering those words, today's news is even more upsetting.

Wendy and the entire Anderson family are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.