Bielema fired after five seasons at Arkansas

Bret Bielema / Photo:

Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema was fired on Friday, shortly after his team’s 48-45 loss to Missouri.

“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,” said interim athletics director Julie Cromer Peoples. “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 in 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.”

Bielema coached the Razorbacks for five seasons, and finished with a 29-34 record over that time. He was 11-29 in SEC play. Arkansas finished the current season with a 4-8 overall record, with a 1-7 record against SEC competition.

Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads will serve as interim coach while a search for a replacement head coach is conducted.

Arkansas is also searching for an Athletics Director, since the program also fired AD Jeff Long on Nov. 15. A seven-person search committee is working to replace long, but interim AD Cromer Peoples told reporters in a news conference on Friday night that she will be involved in hiring the new head football coach.

“I don’t think you need a permanent AD in order to make an offer,” she said. “I think you need an AD, and we have one.”