Arkansas AD Long turns attention to coaching hire
BY KURT VOIGT Associated Press
Monday, November 26, 2012
11/26/12 at 5:46 AM
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has been in the market for a new head coach since April 10th, the day he fired Bobby Petrino for his laundry list of misdeeds.
The Razorbacks (4-8, 2-6 Southeastern Conference) will soon find out how much of a benefit that head start was for Long, who didn't wait long to announce that interim coach John L. Smith wouldn't return next season.
Long reached his decision on Smith's fate quickly following Friday's season-ending 20-13 loss to No. 8 LSU.
The athletic director told the former Michigan State and Louisville coach of his decision Saturday morning, though Smith will remain with the program as a consultant through the end of his 10-month contract on Feb. 23, 2013.
While Smith didn't prove the long-term answer for Arkansas, his tenure did allow Long to research and identify interested coaches across the country.
That was a problem for the athletic director following Petrino's surprising April 1 motorcycle accident that led to revelations he had hired his mistress to a position in the athletic department - and initially lied about her presence during the wreck.
Most coaches were entrenched at that time in their current positions following spring practice, a factor that led to Smith's hiring.
"Last April, when I appointed coach Smith for the 2012 season, I indicated I thought this would provide us the opportunity to take the time necessary to identify the right coach for the future and to do so in a time that would allow us to attract quality candidates," Long said in a statement.
Long has offered few clues about the identity of his next target (or targets), and he declined a recent interview request from The Associated Press through a spokesman.
Original Print Headline: Hogs focus on new head coach