The East Texas Baptist University Athletic Department announced a change in leadership for the Tiger Women’s Basketball team, as Rusty Rainbolt has stepped down as head coach to take the Athletic Director position at Borden County ISD. Assistant Coach Blake Arbogast has been named Head Coach, effective August 1.
“While everyone at ETBU is sad to see Coach Rainbolt and his family leave Marshall, we are excited to announce Blake Arbogast as the head coach for ETBU Women’s Basketball. Coach Arbogast made an immediate impact on the Tiger Basketball program when he stepped onto campus last summer and he is a perfect fit to lead the program to continued success that ETBU has enjoyed the last three seasons under Coach Rainbolt,” Vice President for Student Engagement and Athletics Ryan Erwin said. “He has been an integral part of the program and his commitment to Christ-centered athletics and developing our student-athletes physically, academically, and spiritually is the perfect fit for ETBU. I have no doubt Coach Arbogast will continue to lead the program to new heights in the years to come.”
In three years as the head coach, Rainbolt put ETBU on the map regionally and nationally, for women’s basketball with three straight 20 plus win seasons. He went 68-18 in that time, posting a 39-11 record in the American Southwest Conference East Division. In his first season, ETBU went 25-7 winning the program’s first ever ASC Tournament Championship and advancing to the NCAA Division III Elite 8. Two of the three seasons his team was regionally ranked and reached as high as ninth in the national poll.
“Audra, our three girls. and I have truly loved our time at ETBU. Of everywhere God has taken us, this was the most special because of the combination of people and the presence of our Lord Jesus that resides within the hearts of the campus community,” Rainbolt said. “As we approach this next season of our lives, we have decided that it is crucial that we are present for every step of our children’s lives. We will truly miss all the relationships we have established over our past three years, and will be forever grateful to Dr. Blackburn, Ryan Erwin, and all the ETBU community. We are so thrilled that the program will now be led by an amazing man of God in Coach Blake Arbogast and his lovely wife, Shelby. Lastly, and most importantly, we want to say thank you to all the amazing young women that played for us. What a ride! We will love you all forever! God bless and Go Tigers!”
He was named the D3hoops.com South Region “Coach of the Year” in 2018 after advancing to the Elite 8. In three seasons, 11 players earned All-ASC awards, as four earned multiple awards. He produced back-to-back ASC East Division Newcomers of the Year in Kim Childress (2018) and Kendrick Clark (2019).
“I’m thrilled to become the next Head Women’s Basketball Coach at East Texas Baptist University. The Christ-centered culture that East Texas Baptist University and the women’s basketball program has established is outstanding and what I have long to have the opportunity to lead. I am excited about the direction of the program and what it has to offer for years to come. My wife and I, along with our son, have felt so welcomed from my first day on campus and we could not be more excited about this next chapter of our life,” Arbogast said.
Arbogast is entering his second year at ETBU and has his roots in the American Southwest Conference. He came to ETBU after coaching two years at the University of the Ozarks in the men’s basketball program. In those two years, UO improved their win total by five and had three players named All-ASC. Prior to UO, he served as a graduate assistant coach at Howard Payne University for one season. He played four seasons at HPU and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise and Sport Science. Arbogast also completed a Master of Education in Sports Administration from Midwestern State University in 2018. He and his wife, Shelby, have one son, Foster, who was born this past June and the Arbogast’s attend Immanuel Baptist Church in Marshall.
Photo Courtesy ETBU AthleticsASC D3 ETBU