Arkansas State coach brought to tears after learning of Georgia fan efforts to honor his late wife

Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson will coach his first game of the season against Georgia on Saturday night. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson will coach his first game of the season against Georgia on Saturday night. (Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson will return to the sideline Saturday night at Georgia for the first time since his wife Wendy died from breast cancer in August. And there are plenty of Bulldog fans who will be showing their support for him.

The “Wear pink for Wendy” movement has gained popularity in the days leading up to the Week 3 matchup and Anderson told Paul Finebaum on Thursday afternoon that he was “overwhelmed” when he heard about the possibility of thousands of Georgia fans wearing pink in support of his wife at Sanford Stadium.

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“When I got the message yesterday, somebody sent it to me, I’ll be honest, I was overwhelmed with it,” Anderson said. “It brought me to tears yesterday. I can’t tell you — I just know right now everything’s really raw and it’s very fresh and just the show of support has been overwhelming at times.”

“We’re doing everything for the first time. Me and my kids are doing everything for the first time without her that we’ve been doing for so long ... I’m so grateful for the show of the support from the fans and whoever came up with the idea and it will be one of those things that we’ll just kind of have to see how we react. But I’m appreciative. I do, think it’s a really cool, really classy gesture by somebody that really didn’t have anything to gain from it.”

Anderson took a leave of absence Aug. 19

Anderson took a leave of absence from the team on Monday, Aug. 19. Wendy died that night. She was 49.

Wendy Anderson was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 but was declared cancer-free that same year. Unfortunately, the disease returned in 2018 and it spread throughout her body.

Defensive coordinator David Duggan took over as the team’s interim coach when Blake Anderson took his leave after what he described as a “tough summer” at Sun Belt media days.

Duggan coached the team at SMU in Week 1 and was the team’s coach in a Week 2 win over UNLV. But Anderson made sure his team knew he was there for them too. He surprised the Red Wolves before the game.

Anderson has been the coach at Arkansas State since 2014.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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