|Other Position:||Offensive Coordinator | Quarterbacks Coach|
Keith Heckendorf enters his first season as the Red Wolves’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2019.
He comes to A-State after spending the last eight seasons in multiple roles with the North Carolina football program, including the last five as quarterbacks coach. He also served as the Tar Heels’ passing coordinator the last three years and as the recruiting coordinator in 2014 and 2015.
The Mosinee, Wis., native also spent the 2011-13 seasons in a player development position at North Carolina. The last two years of that three-year period saw him work alongside Anderson, who was the Tar Heels’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the time.
“Working with Keith in the past, I’ve seen first-hand his tremendous talent as a coach and the outstanding football mind he possesses,” said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. “His coaching experience, knowledge of the game, ability to develop players and communication skills are all among his many assets that make him a fantastic offensive coordinator, and we’re excited to have him here in Jonesboro.”
His time at North Carolina saw the football program play in five bowl games and appear in the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) championship game, the same year the Tar Heels won 11 games for their best season in nearly two decades.
North Carolina won 19 combined games in 2015 and 2016, which were the most in Chapel Hill since the 1996 and 1997 seasons. The Tar Heels finish 15th in the county in the top 25 polls in 2015 when it led the nation in yards per play and ranked ninth in scoring offense with a school-record 40.7 points per game.
“Keith Heckendorf is one of the top young offensive coaches in our sport,” said Larry Fedora, a 2015 Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year finalist while he was the head coach at North Carolina. “He has earned a great reputation for developing quarterback talent and helped Mitch Trubisky emerge into an outstanding NFL prospect under his watch. He is also a talented play-caller who will be an asset for any program many years to come.”
North Carolina’s passing game was among the nation’s best under Heckendorf’s leadership, while the Tar Heels also set the school record for passing yards three of the last five seasons. During that time Heckendorf tutored some of the most successful quarterbacks in school history, including the 2017 NFL Draft’s No. 2 overall pick in Trubisky.
“Coach Heck is one of the best I’ve been around,” said Trubisky. “He is extremely detailed and a great teacher. His passion for the game and his players make him an awesome coach to play for. He pushed me to be a better player and helped prepare me for the next level. I’m thankful for my time with coach Heck and the relationship we built. He will be a great addition at Arkansas State.”
Prior to his tenure at North Carolina, Heckendorf spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western Carolina. He also spent three seasons at Nebraska that included trips to the 2005 Alamo Bowl and 2007 Cotton Bowl.
Heckendorf had a standout career as a quarterback at St. Cloud State (Minn.) from 2000-03. He was a two-time finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which is given annually to the top player in NCAA Division II football, finishing second and third in the voting. He was also a consensus American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America pick, and a two-time Academic All-America choice.
He was the Division II recipient of the prestigious National Football Foundation (NFF) Scholar-Athlete Award. He earned his bachelor’s degree in elective studies from St. Cloud State University in 2004, and he completed his master’s in education administration from the University of Nebraska in 2014.