- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Bielema excited for challenge of SEC at Arkansas
Question of the Day
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. (AP) - Bret Bielema watched from afar in April as Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long handled the difficult circumstances surrounding Bobby Petrino’s firing, liking what he saw so much that he wrote Long a letter of support a few months later.
Bielema also liked what he heard from Long earlier this week during a clandestine meeting in New York, eventually agreeing to become the Razorbacks’ long-term replacement for the scandal-ridden Petrino.
The former Wisconsin coach was introduced in Fayetteville on Wednesday, bringing an end to a nearly eight-month search for Arkansas _ which fell from the upper echelon of the Southeastern Conference to also-ran in its season in limbo under interim coach John L. Smith.
The Illinois native takes over a program hit hard by the turmoil following the ouster of Petrino, who was fired for hiring his mistress and initially lying about her presence during an April 1 motorcycle accident. Arkansas began the season ranked in the top 10 before stumbling to a 4-8 finish under Smith, missing a bowl game for the first time since 2008.
“I truly believe that truly successful men are more defined during their times of adversity than during their times of success,” Bielema said. “… I know they wanted to have more success and go to a bowl game, and I know they wanted to achieve all the things they felt were in front of them at the end of the year.
“But they persevered.”
Bielema will receive $3.2 million annually for six seasons, leaving behind a Wisconsin program he led to a 68-24 record over the past seven seasons. The 42-year-old coach said he won’t coach the Badgers in their third straight visit to the Rose Bowl.
“I just felt it was time for me to try and spread my wings and fly a little bit further,” Bielema said.
Long said he interviewed four candidates for the job, though Bielema was his first choice. The athletic director said he first met Bielema when he was an assistant coach at Wisconsin in 2005, but it was his September letter of support following Petrino’s firing that caught his attention.
Long first attempted to make contact with Bielema following Wisconsin’s 70-31 win over Nebraska on Saturday night in the Big Ten championship game. The two talked Sunday before eventually meeting into the late hours of Monday night as Long neared an end to the lengthy search that he said included plenty of “ups and downs.”
“I’m very relieved,” Long said.
Long said he had no indication from Bielema or his representation before Sunday that the coach might be interested in the Arkansas job. He only had the coach’s letter _ one of “three or four” he received from coaches relating to the difficult decisions surrounding Petrino’s firing and Smith’s hiring as interim coach.
“I still have the letter,” Long said. “That impacted me … It meant a lot to me. He sent along with it a couple of things he believed in coaching. It had an impact on me.”
After sleeping on his discussions with Long, and considering the challenge of taking on the powerhouse of the SEC, Bielema accepted Arkansas’ offer Tuesday. He met with his former players at Wisconsin on Tuesday night, introducing himself to the Razorbacks on Wednesday afternoon before his introductory news conference.
“I left a great place,” Bielema said. “I left a place that gave me my first opportunity as a head coach. One of the things I really believe in as a coach is if you can leave the place in a better place than where you were you should feel good.
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Pentagon wants extra $19M to equip, train Ukrainian troops
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors