Reports: Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema to Arkansas

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema is leaving his position to take the head coaching job at Arkansas. Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports broke the story and several other outlets have since confirmed.

(Dustin’s Note: We don’t always make a point to link to this stuff, but I figure you guys will have some fun with this one.)


  1. That’s right, boys and girls: your very own Kevin Wilson is now the longest-tenured coached in the venerable B1G Leaders Division. Methinks he deserves a raise.

  2. I’m a bit puzzled by this move. I’m trying to see how Bielema will NOT regret this. he had such a great thing going at Wisky, that will be hard to duplicate at Arkansas. Plus, IMHO, it’s not an upward move. Sideways, or possibly even downward, really. Just cuz it’s an SEC job doesn’t mean it’s a good idea, but, it’s not for me to say! Hopefully, Wisconsin’s football program will now suffer & start losing to us. That’s always my #1 concern regarding all things Big Ten…or 12, or 14, or whatever. Wouldn’t hurt to see some or their better recruits bolt too(as long as they come here, or go someplace where we won’t be adversely affected). If I were a Wisky fan I’d feel insulted. As an IU fan, I’m EXhalted!

  3. Chris K., I immediately thought the same thing except for the extra $3.0 mill per year (that’s $6.0 in two, or counting interest in savings about $10 in three). I’m sure consideration for Mrs. Bielema and the little Bielemettos had something to do with it.

    But, you’re right…even Bill and Hillary got the h___ out of town as quickly as you could say ‘very little rock’ and when you read the saga of the former coach and cheerleader appointed associate athletic director, on the back of a motor cycle (is that even possible above 25mph Chet?)it makes Housewives of New Jersey seem like a Sunday school overnight camp.

    Nevertheless, you’ve got to remember that Bielema will be the most cosmopolitan figure they’ve had since Willie’s brother.

    I do have a question, and maybe you are the person to answer it. Why do so many people on the Scoop hate Bielema? All he ever did is beat, tar and feather any one who ever showed up faking it instead of knowing something about football?

  4. Can’t even imagine it. I mean, it gets cold in Madison but it is such a cool, beautiful, interesting place. Wisky is such a great university, too.

    …and then there is Arkansas.

    If I were his wife I’d poison his food, take the insurance money, and move back to Madison.

    Unless his family is really into mosquitoes I see some domestic strife in his future.

  5. How could anyone question Bielema’s decision to take the Arkansas job? It’s simple! A lot more money and a school that gives him the chance to compete for a national championship some day. Football is a religion in Arkansas and an SEC-winning coach is a God to those folks. Besides, while Bielema did a good job sustaining the Wisc program, he inherited it from the guy (Barry A) that did the heavy lifting and returned the program to national prominence. Now Bielema gets a chance to lead a program, now in the ashes, back to national prominence. No where to go but up, and if he get’s fired after three years, he’s still rich.

    But who cares why he did it? As I see it, this is good for IU football. Anything that weakens other Big Ten football programs, at least in the short term, is good for IU football. It gives Wilson a chance to poach some solid recruits, it disrupts a competitive program, and reduces the risk of IU suffering another humiliating blowout. This may be a bit of a respite and give IU a leg up in the Big Ten. Unfortunately, as Wisconsin gets weaker, Ohio State gets stronger. Furthermore, IU may still not be an obvious alternative for players recruited by Wisconsin.

    Tsao, I assume your question about why so many Hoosier Scoop contributors hate Bielema was rhetorical? But just in case it was not, I despise the man because he is a classless ass whose teams run up the scores on weaker teams for the sake of rankings and then mocks people who accuse him of displaying poor sportsmanship.

  6. I suspect Walmart, Tyson and possibly Jerry Jones collective buying power has as much to do with this as championships. I really can see JJ involved here because he relishes having meat eaters on his side. Who is to say BB may end up in Irving in a year or 2.

  7. No, it wasn’t rhetorical Podunker. “Classless ass” is the description based on the fact that he has a chance to bury an opponent and does. I don’t fault a coach for playing to their maximum at all times…I do fault the coach that does not prepare his team to compete at the same level. There may be a point where you are playing younger or lesser players, but at all point your job is to ask them to play to their potential best.

    That’s exactly why I asked the question. That’s not the reason to hate Bielema, it was the reason we were put in a position to fire our coach. Bielema owed us nothing but his best effort. Anything else would have been rubbing it in our face.

  8. I don’t think the issue is ‘preparation’ or ‘effort’ it’s sportsmanship & decency. I agree it isn’t fair to expect an opponent to run fullback dives because you suck. But Bielema was running trick plays- TRICK PLAYS- when up by 8 TD’s in the 4th quarter. That isn’t ‘giving your best’ that is an effort to humiliate because he’s a $*@^. I wish him misery and disappointment and hope Wisconsin retruns to the depths of the 1980’s.

  9. Tsao, I’m surprised by your post #8. I think you may be suffering from a temporary bout of contrarian flew! Either that, or you were not paying close attention.

    Bielema is a jerk, not just for running up scores, but for the way he answers the questions after such a display or poor sportsmanship. Big E is right on in his comments in post #9. Bielema went beyond encouraging his team’s best effort, he was purposely running up the score, calling for trick plays and deep passes at a point when the game was well out of hand. He has done this repeatedly. Then, when questioned afterwards, he gets all snarky and toungue-in-cheek with the press.

    I’ve watched numerous powerhouse programs play outmatched Hoosier football teams. You can tell when a coach has called off the dogs and tries to minimize the humiliation. And you cal also see when a classless coach is trying to humiliate the other team and run up the score. Bielema likes to run up the scores on weaker opponents, and I think he does it his own selfish purposes, to maximize his team’s ratings, diminish a conference opponent, and promote his personal brand. Then he denies he was trying to do that in the press. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he either personifies the classless coach, or he’s obtuse to the extreme.

    My hope is that he gets down to Arkansas and goes up against some of the best SEC teams and has to watch his new Arkansas team getting crushed. I’d love to see his team get beat by 50 or 60 points to an Alabama, Florida, LSU or South Carolina in the first couple of years. If that happens a couple years in a row, he’ll get fired before his contract expires. And that would be poetic justice.

  10. “Despite that run of success, Bielema was a polarizing figure in Wisconsin, where his approval rating never matched his win total.” Translation: Bielema was a classless ass.

  11. Best part of this move; now there’s only one team that BB can humiliate by running up the score late in blow-outs: Good ol’ ky. He’ll get the snot knocked out of him by LSU, Texas Tech, Alabama, Florida, etc, then take it out on the weak sisters of the conference – the clowns just across the river. Let’s just hope they play each other across divisions frequently.

  12. I get why he thinks their could be a higher ceiling in Arkansas but I’d never be willing to trade off Madison, Wisconsin for Arkansas. Does EVERYTHING in these guys lives have to be between the locker room and the gridiron? What about their families?

    I’m fortunate to be trained in a specialty niche that has afforded me the opportunity to grab ‘the brass ring’ from time to time over the years.

    It always involved a major metropolis. I’ve lived in a few. I think I’ll pass.

    I always felt like I’d already grabbed that ring. To compensate me for what I’d be giving up in Asheville by moving to a place like NYC the bidding would have to start around 88 gazillion dollars.

    It’s just a different mindset, I suppose. There would have to be a lot of numbers to the left of that decimal point for me to leave Madison, Wisconsin for anywhere in Arkansas.

  13. Chet, you make Madison sound like the pearl of the Midwest! Madison is no great place to be, and while there are parts of Wisconsin that are beautiful, the weather sucks almost all the time, so you get very little time to enjoy the nice parts. And the political climate in Madison is just this side of marxism.

    I’ve spent a lot of time in both Arkansas and Wisconsin. I give Arkansas the edge, if for no other reason than they actually get to enjoy four seasons down there. In Wisconsin, you simply get winter and mosquito season. And if you like forests and the outdoors, there are some fantastic places in Arkansas to visit. As for real estate, a dollar goes a lot further in Arkansas than it does in Madison. As for the people in Arkansas, while they may have country accents, at least the majority are not marxists (that’s only partially sarcastic).

    Bottom line is, Bielema’s getting a 50% raise. And if he wins down there, they’ll rename counties after him.

  14. There you go Chet. Bielema left Madison for Arkansas because he does not have to coach any d____d defensive left Marxist tackles. Since contrarian is my way, what about the recruiting of rightist fascist paramilitary guards?????

    I wouldn’t be able to compare the weather attraction of Madison. I live south of Madison, in Chicago’s balmier climates.

    Thanks for the information on Bielema. All I knew about hi is that he’s been spanking us pretty good, but much of that was deserved. So I tend to look at what we do/do not do to prevent that. Now I know better. Had I known, maybe I could have written a letter to Mr. Bielema asking him to ‘be gentle with us’. Oh well, maybe his successor will be nicer…or, CKW will do something to prevent it.

  15. Madison is a lovely location, for snow, between November and May. Arkansas is hot and humid – and humid and hot 8 months a year.

    The very 1st nibble RMK had was from Wisky while he was coaching at West Point. I forget if it was Ibba, Newell or maybe Fred Taylor(it was 1 of his older mentors) advised him against it because recruiting successfully to Madison was difficult because of the long severe Winters. He said no and 3 years later arrived in Bloomington.

  16. Po, I’ve spent a good bit of time in Arkansas. Judging from your post I’m betting you haven’t.

    Sure, you can enjoy all four seasons (well, more like two), as long as you don’t mind hungry mosquitoes the size of sparrows from the first week in March until the 3rd week in October. DEET is a condiment. About as effective as Grey Poupon on mosquitoes.

    When we decided to move back east from Colorado the terrain, scenery, and the cost of living of Arkansas intrigued us so we spent 3 weeks in April and 2 weeks in September living there (according to almanacs, the best weeks of the year as we didn’t want to be dissuaded by the harsh summer).

    Dear God in Heaven I wish I had gone to Panama. At least they’d have already addressed the Yellow Fever issue.

    As I said, I’m pretty darned confident you haven’t spent more than a day or two in Arkansas, at least in warm weather. There’s a reason why the cost of living has never gone up much in Arkansas while it has in most of the South. It has all the charm of east Texas without the cultural allure.

  17. Chet, you’re powers of deduction failed you on this one. I have spent countless days in Arkansas while on business, during all times of the year. Vacationed in Arkansas too. I’ve never seen it snow in Arkansas during the first week in May!

    You get a lot of mosquitos in both Wisconsin and Arkansas, but I guess I prefer heat and humidity to sub-zero temperatures six months a year. And I guess I like the fact that students at Arkansas are not taught to revere Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Castro.

    But I digress. The issue is college football. And people in Arkansas are as passionate about their college football as people can be. That passion translates to money and that money is used to maintain the best coaching talent and better facilities. The Razorbacks don’t have to share the state with an NFL team and, for a lot of reasons, it is easier to recruit football players to Arkansas than it is to Wisconsin. If I read it correctly, didn’t the Arkansas State football coach just take the job at Auburn!

    With a 60% increase in annual compensation, the ability to hire and retain better coaches, and the opportunity to recruit the best players, it was a no-brainer for Bielema. He’s a classless ass, but he’s not stupid.

  18. Chet, I just checked my travel log for 2012. I spent nine days in Arkansas this year alone. That was a little above average over the last 12 years.

  19. Po, different strokes for different folks. Obviously, there are folks that prefer the Arkansas climate. It does, indeed, get cold in Wisconsin. I’ve always thought it a beautiful place, though.

    While you seem to have issues with the curriculum at Wisconsin you can’t possibly be placing the quality of education at Arkansas in the same galaxy as Wisconsin.

    Wisconsin is one of the finest research universities in the world. They have few peers. Arkansas is a bait and tackle shop. It’s on par with Kaintuck, perhaps worse.

    I hope that doesn’t offend other bait and tackle shops.

  20. On a related, somewhat horrifying, note.

    I have a cousin, Paul, who is a physician in Tulsa, OK. He attended medical school at Arkansas. My wife and I have both worked in health care for decades. Paul is an ER doc having previously been a general surgeon, an unusual, but not unheard of, career path. Paul can’t carry on a casual conversation, among other health care professionals, on the topic of medicine. He doesn’t know anatomy, pharmacology, anything. I don’t know how the guy gets through the day. He has the medical knowledge of a fan of the old Dr. Kildare show.

    Thank God the guy got out of surgery but he must kill a person a day in the ER.

    We rarely connect so I don’t know if the guy suffered an affliction at some point or what but at one time the University of Arkansas saw fit to graduate him from their medical school and that is terrifying.

  21. Chet, I concur. Wisconsin provides a much higher quality of education compared to Arkansas, but we were talking football programs.

  22. Tsao- sorry, wrong on the numbers. Beilema was getting $2.7 million at UW, $3.2million at Ark. But yeah, +$500k per annum is still a raise in my book.

    Po, you are right that bye-bye Bielema is good for IU and the rest of the conf. Alvarez was the master builder and such a creation is not easily handed off.

    As far as the Madison-Fayetteville debate goes, it seems like a personal preference (as Hoosier Clarion and Chet have confirmed) and as far as I’m concerned if you’ve seen one college town you’ve seen them all- most are an idyllic oasis if you are Big Man on Campus (which coaches are until the axe falls) or wish you were still an undergrad (hey, that’s me at times), but for everyone else living there they are exactly where the hand of fate has put them. The word on Bielema was that he didn’t feel appreciated at UW; I guess the alums there forgot how sorry UW was before Alvarez did his Lazarus maneuver on the program.

  23. Po, I agree, we are discussing football programs.

    The ceiling is (potentially) higher at Arkansas. I don’t think by much, though.

  24. Davis, thanks. Few hundred thousand here, few hundred thousand there., pretty soon we’re talking money.

    In some ways, it makes sense for Bielema. While Wisconsin is definitely a mecca these, Madison is as multi-cultural as it gets life-style wise. I can see someone like Bielema much more comfortable at UArk, where he will immediately become the High Priest of the Temple of Razorback football (and that is only slightly exaggerated). Unfortunately, the SDS will now have to replace him at the next Right to Work Rally protest at the Wisky statehouse. Oh well, with the new salary and what he will save in property prices, he can mail it in.

    That’s the problem with committed Occupy types like Bielema,…show them the cash and poooff!

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