Inside the Arkansas, Auburn coaching hires
BY Associated Press
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
12/05/12 at 3:47 AM
Who got the job: Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema.
Other names connected to opening: Mike Gundy, Jon Gruden, Butch Davis, Charlie Strong and Gary Patterson.
About Bielema: 42-year-old was born in Prophetstown, Ill. Played at Iowa under Hayden Fry.
Resume: Went 68-24 in seven seasons at Wisconsin, his only head-coaching experience. Has guided the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowls and six bowls overall. Was making $2.5 per season at Wisconsin.
Summary: This hire seemingly came out of nowhere. Early Tuesday, some Arkansas media outlets reported the job was Gundy's. But, early afternoon Bielema named surfaced. He was raised, played and coached in Big Ten country. In February, he said in regards to aggressive SEC recruiting, "We at the Big Ten don't want to be like the SEC - in any way, shape or form." Now, he's in charge of a program that began this season with talks of competing for a nation title, but spiraled into a 4-8 season under John L. Smith.
What they're saying: "So Bielema played this exactly right. He gave Wisconsin seven years, brought the program to its ceiling and left before bumping his head on it. Now he's got a new challenge at a school with plenty of resources and a fan base that will unite behind him."
Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports
Who got the job: Arkansas State coach Gus Malzahn.
Other names connected to opening: Jim Mora, Rich Rodriguez, Kirby Smart, Chris Peterson and Gary Patterson.
About Malzahn: 47-year-old was born in Irving, Texas. Played at Arkansas and Henderson State.
Resume: Was a high school coaching legend in Arkansas before being named the Hogs offensive coordinator for one season (2006). He was Tulsa's offensive coordinator for two seasons (07-08) and OC at Auburn for three seasons. His TU offenses were among the best in the nation. He helped Auburn win a national title with Cam Newton guiding Malzahn's spread, no-huddle offense. Guided Arkansas State to a 9-3 record this season and will play in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Summary: Malzahn's reputation as an offensive wizard was already cemented before he helped the Tigers win a national title. His only head-coaching experience was this season at Arkansas State. The pressure increases tremendously now as the head man at Auburn. Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said, "Coach Malzahn was the clear unanimous choice of our search committee." Former Auburn great Bo Jackson was a part of that committee.
What they're saying: "While Malzahn's offensive wizardry is a given, his success as head coach will largely depend on the staff he hires (particularly on defense) and its ability to recruit. Coaches often bring most or all of their current staff with them, but besides defensive coordinator John Thompson, none of his Arkansas State assistants have significant SEC experience."
SI.com's Stewart Mandel
Original Print Headline: Inside The Coaching Hires