Ark. St. coach takes leave as wife battles cancer

Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson is taking a leave of absence from the team while his wife, Wendy, battles cancer for the second time in the past three years, the school announced Monday.

Defensive coordinator David Duggan will take over coaching duties during Anderson's absence.

"There's been an outpouring of support for Coach Anderson, Wendy and their family," athletic director Terry Mohajir said in a statement. "I have 100 percent confidence in Coach Duggan, our football coaching staff and student leadership on this team to move us forward."

"We will continue to pray for peace for his family and provide assistance any way we can,'' Mohajir said

Wendy Anderson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2017, and her husband took a brief leave before that season as she underwent treatment in Mexico. Further surgery to remove cancer cells allowed her to make a full recovery. However, the cancer returned within a year.

Blake Anderson announced in January that drug treatments had not been effective, and in July, the family was informed that Wendy's most recent rounds of chemotherapy had been unsuccessful.

Duggan is in his first season at Arkansas State, but he served on the staffs at Southern Mississippi and North Carolina with Blake Anderson.

Anderson and his wife have one daughter and two sons. Anderson has gone 39-25 in five seasons at Arkansas State.

Arkansas State opens at home against SMU on Aug. 31.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.