Bret Bielema Out as Hog Head Coach

 

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (News Release) – Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema has been dismissed by the University of Arkansas, it was announced by Interim Athletics Director Julie Cromer Peoples. Bielema completed his fifth season as the Razorbacks’ head coach on Friday.

 

“Shortly after the completion of today’s game, I met with Coach Bret Bielema and informed him of our decision to move forward with new leadership in the Razorback Football program,” Cromer Peoples said. “During the course of the past five seasons, we have not been able to sustain the success on the field that is expected and required at the University of Arkansas. There is no question that Coach Bielema has been a valued and respected member of our department and has made a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes, including supporting them in their pursuit of graduation. We are grateful for his contributions to our program and most importantly his investment in the lives of our student-athletes. We wish him the very best both personally and professionally. 

 

“Our goal has been and will always be to compete and win in the SEC and nationally. I firmly believe that with all that the University of Arkansas has to offer, including our history and tradition, our facilities, our passionate fan base and competing in the nation’s best conference, we will attract the interest of many of the top coaches in the nation.”

 

Named the 32nd head coach in program history in December of 2012, Bielema compiled a 29-34 record over his five seasons. He led Arkansas to three straight bowl appearances, highlighted by wins over Texas at the 2014 Texas Bowl and Kansas State at the 2016 Liberty Bowl. In 2014, Arkansas became the first unranked team in college football history to post back-to-back shutouts over ranked opponents after blanking No. 20 LSU and No. 8 Ole Miss. 

 

Background on Bielema:

Bret Bielema has been fired as the head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks after 5 seasons.

Bielema came to Fayetteville in December 2012 after a successful 7 year run at Wisconsin where the Badgers went 68-24 and appeared in two BCS bowl games.

At Arkansas, Bielema could never get any true momentum going, finishing with a 29-34 record. 

In his 1st season replacing interim head coach John L Smith, Arkansas finished 3-9 while going winless in the SEC, but there was a glimmer of hope as 5 Hogs earned freshman All-American status, including running back Alex Collins who rushed for more than 1,000 yards becoming the 2nd player in team history to accomplish that feat in their first season joining Darren McFadden. The team improved in 2014, finishing 7-6. The year culminated in a Texas Bowl victory over Texas, the program's first win over the Longhorns since 2003.

Bielema's best season was 2015 when the Hogs went 8-5 culminating in a Liberty Bowl victory over Kansas State, which was the 2nd bowl victory in a row for the Hogs making Bielema the 1st coach in Arkansas history to win back-to-back bowl games. Tight end Hunter Henry became the second player in Razorback history to win the John Mackey Award, honoring the nation's top tight end.

Arkansas looked to make strides in 2016 and pulled off two top-15 wins, including a week two win at TCU. The team would feature the SEC's leading passer in Austin Allen, who had 3,430 yards, and the 3rd leading rusher in Rawleigh Williams III who had 1,360 yards. The year would end on a very sour note as the Razorbacks blew two second half leads in the final two games. Arkansas was up 24-7 on Missouri before losing 28-24. Then in the Belk Bowl, Arkansas would lead Virginia Tech 24-0 before losing 35-24.

Heading into 2017, the team took a major hit during spring practice, when Rawleigh Williams III decided to retire following a 2nd neck injury. Then in team's season opening win over Florida A&M, the team lost starting cornerback Ryan Pulley to a torn pectoral injury. In the 3rd game, senior wide receiver Jared Cornelius went down with a torn achilles injury. In the 5th game, Austin Allen was knocked out with a shoulder injury and missed 4 games. The team would finish the season losing their last 3 games to finish the season 4-8 overall, but just 1-7 in SEC play.

 

Update: University of Arkansas Interim Athletics Director Julie Cromer Peoples will hold a press conference on the floor inside Barnhill Arena starting at approximately 7:30 p.m.


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