Arkansas Razorbacks: Bret Bielema named new head football coach

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas' eight-month long coaching search ends with a hire described by many as unexpected, but also the right choice.

The school late Tuesday named Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema as the new head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.  He replaces John L. Smith, who led the Hogs during only the 2012 season.

"I am very humbled and honored to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks,” said Bielema. "During my conversation with Jeff (Long) he described the characteristics for the perfect fit to lead this program. It was evident we share the same mission, principles and goals."

Bielema led the Badgers to three-straight Rose Bowls, becoming the first Big Ten Conference school to achieve that since Michigan in the 1970's.  He compiled a 68-24 record at the school.  His 40-wins over the past four years is the most in that same stretch in Wisconsin history.  His style mirrors the Southeastern Conference's physical play.

"His tough, aggressive style of play has been successful and will be appealing to student-athletes and Razorback fans," said Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long.  "He not only shares the vision and values for the future of Arkansas football, he embraces them."

Bielema left Wisconsin on a high note with the entire country noticing.  His Badgers defeated the No. 14 Nebraska Cornhuskers 70-31 in the Big Ten Championship game Saturday.  Three Wisconsin running-backs rushed for more than 100-yards in the convincing victory.  Bielema's Badgers defeated the Razorbacks 17-14 in the Capital One Bowl in 2007.  Bielema played for Hayden Fry at Iowa.

The hiring ends a season of disbelief for Razorbacks fans.  Long fired head coach Bobby Petrino in April.  His replacement John L. Smith struggled, despite preseason expectations.  The Razorbacks finished 4-8, missing a bowl game for the first time since the 2008 season.

"The infrastructure in place at Arkansas shows the commitment from the administration to accomplish our goals together and I am excited to begin to lead this group of student-athletes," said Bielema. "This program will represent the state of Arkansas in a way Razorback fans everywhere will be proud of."

The University of Arkansas has scheduled a news conference to formally announce Bielema's hiring Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.

Bret Bielema Coaching History

Dec. 2012        Arkansas (Head Coach)

2006-12           Wisconsin (Head Coach)

2004-05           Wisconsin (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)

2002-03           Kansas State (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)

1996-2001         Iowa (Linebackers)

1994-95             Iowa (Graduate Assistant)

Birthdate:         Jan. 13, 1970

Home Town:     Prophetstown, Ill.

Family:             Wife, Jen

Bowl Games:    Rose Bowl, 2013; Rose Bowl, 2012; Rose Bowl, 2011; Champs Sports Bowl, 2009; Champs Sports Bowl, 2008; Outback Bowl, 2008; Capital One Bowl, 2007; Capital One Bowl, 2006; Outback Bowl, 2005; Fiesta Bowl, 2004; Holiday Bowl, 2002; Alamo Bowl, 2001; Sun Bowl, 1997; Alamo Bowl, 1996; Sun Bowl, 1995; Holiday Bowl 1991; Rose Bowl, 1991


Filed Under :  
Topics : ArkansasFootball
People : Bobby PetrinoHayden FryJeff LongJohn L. Smith
Photo Galleries

Pictures: Strafford Invitational

Strafford hosted its annual meet on Tuesday featuring 26 schools.

Pictures: Gainesville 13, Bakersfield 0

The Bulldogs get a victory in 5 innings

Pictures: Greenwood tennis vs. Parkview

The Blue Jays and Vikings faced off on Tuesday
O-Zone Opinion
Mohawk Chronicles: Breaking down the new boys basketball districts
It's that time again… Every two years MSHSAA reshuffles classes and districts, unintentionally and yet effectively changing the landscape of the sport and this spring was no different. Here are the changes you will want to note for the boys...
Read More
Making sense of the new girls basketball districts
Who do you have going all the way in your bracket? Your 2014-15 high school district basketball bracket, that is. Last weekend, MSHSAA released classification and district assignments for the next two school years. We saw notable changes in most...
Read More
Mohawk Chronicles: Boys Hashtag All-Stars
It is that time again, the 2nd Annual Hashtag All-Stars team is here. Eight teams, 40 players, household names, and some kids you may not know much about. Keep in mind, some players could probably be on every team, but I put them on the team I thought...
Read More
Most Viewed