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Bret Bielema leaves Wisconsin for Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. (AP) - Bret Bielema will earn $3.2 million annually for six years in his new job at Arkansas, which will also pay its new coach’s $1 million buyout to Wisconsin.
Arkansas on Wednesday released its signed letter of agreement with Bielema, which includes another $700,000 in annual incentives.
The Razorbacks hired Bielema on Tuesday, tabbing the former Badgers coach to take over a program that went into a tailspin after former coach Bobby Petrino was fired for hiring his mistress to work in the athletic department.
It was not immediately known whether Bielema would coach in the Rose Bowl for the Badgers
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
In its second stunning hiring this year, Arkansas tabbed Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema to take over a program that went into a tailspin after former coach Bobby Petrino was fired for hiring his mistress to work in the athletic department.
The Razorbacks released a statement Tuesday night saying Bielema will leave the Badgers after seven seasons. The announcement came minutes after he met with players at Wisconsin, and he’ll be introduced at an afternoon news conference in Fayetteville on Wednesday.
“His tough, aggressive style of play has been successful and will be appealing to student-athletes and Razorback fans,” Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. “He not only shares the vision and values for the future of Arkansas football, he embraces them.”
A person familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information hasn’t been released publicly, says the deal is for six years and $3.2 million annually.
Barry Alvarez’s hand-picked successor at Wisconsin, Bielema was 68-24 with the Badgers, with four double-digit-win seasons. He coached Wisconsin to a 17-14 victory over Arkansas at the Capital One Bowl in his first season.
He is leaving the Big Ten for the SEC and a Razorbacks program that opened the year with hopes of challenging for a national championship only to get mired in the Petrino scandal before stumbling to a 4-8 finish.
Bielema seems likely to bring a far different approach than what the Razorbacks have become accustomed to. Arkansas continually ranked among the Southeastern Conference’s best passing teams under Petrino. Bielema, meanwhile, is known for his dominant offensive lines and slew of running backs.
“During my conversation with Jeff (Long), he described the characteristics for the perfect fit to lead this program,” Bielema said in a statement. “It was evident we share the same mission, principles and goals.”
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