Bret Bielema of University of Wisconsin is hired as the new Razorbacks coach. (Source: USA Today Sports Media Group)
From USA Today:
4:54PM EST December 4. 2012 - Arkansas has hired Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema, a person familiar with the search told USA TODAY Sports. An announcement is expected Wednesday.
The hiring was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
Bielema, 42, is in his seventh season as Badgers head coach with a career record of 68-24. Wisconsin has won three consecutive Big Ten championships and will play in its third consecutive Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 against Stanford.
Wisconsin (8-5) advanced to the Big Ten championship from the league's Leaders Division because Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA sanctions.
It is not known whether Bielema will coach in the Rose Bowl.
He was not among candidates linked to the vacancy in recent weeks. Earlier Tuesday, Arkansas media outlets reported Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy would be hired. A person familiar with the search told USA TODAY Sports those reports were false but said the school was nearing an announcement.
Arkansas did not retain interim coach John L. Smith after finishing 4-8 this season. Smith had replaced Bobby Petrino, who was fired last April amid scandal.
Bielema was picked by his predecessor at Wisconsin, Barry Alvarez, to succeed him when Alvarez retired to become athletics director at the school.
Bielema spent two seasons on Alvarez's staff as defensive coordinator before becoming head coach.
Even before Bielema's departure, the staff at Wisconsin had gone through changes in the last year.
Offensive coordinator Paul Chryst left after the 2011 season to become head coach at Pittsburgh, and Bielema had fired offensive line coach Mike Markuson two games into ths season.
Chryst, who spent time at Wisconsin under Alvarez and Bielema, guided Pitt to a 6-6 mark this season.
Wisconsin could become the second program playing in a BCS game this season to do so without the head coach who got the team there.
Dave Doeren left Northern Illinois the day before the Huskies landed a spot in the Orange Bowl to become head coach at North Carolina State. Rod Carey was promoted from offensive coordinator to replace Doeren and will coach the Huskies in the Orange Bowl against Florida State.
Doeren had come to NIU after three seasons as defensive coordinator at Wisconsin.
(Source: USA Today)