Remember a few weeks ago I posted about the good fortune of Wisconsin’s having Paul Chryst as its coach, with his former predecessors’ tenuous job status.
That was when Gary Andersen, Chryst’s predecessor, resigned (to avoid probably being fired) at Oregon State and when the man who hired Andersen’s predecessor at Oregon State, Mike Riley, to coach at Nebraska, Cornhusker athletic director Shaun Eichorst, was fired.
The next shoe fell earlier this week when Arkansas fired athletic director Jeff Long, who hired Andersen’s UW predecessor, Bret Bielema, to be the Razorbacks’ coach. It should be obvious that if you’re not doing well in your job and the guy who hired you gets fired, that’s not a good sign for your job security.
Along that line, Saturday Down South reports:
The main reason many believe Arkansas fired Athletics Director Jeff Long is because the next move for the school will be to fire coach Bret Bielema.
Wally Hall of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was a guest on The Paul Finebaum Show Wednesday and said that Long was liked by some members of the Board of Trustees, but that support disappeared in recent days. A detailed report of Long’s “business tactics” was developed and once that was circulated, the AD’s job security was in jeopardy, Hall said. Suddenly, there was a 5-5 split on the board, and instead of receiving a contract extension, Long’s future was in doubt.
“For it to happen today was a little surprising,” Hall said. “I felt like it was going to happen through my sources and things that were going on, but for it to happen two weeks before the end of the season, and Jeff has two more weeks on the football selection committee, that was almost like somebody was wanting to get even. ‘You embarrassed me, I’m going to embarrass you.’”
Bret Bielema, the guy who Long smuggled from Wisconsin, is entering uncharted territory. For the first time in his head coaching career, his AD is gone. For the second time in his head coaching career, he’s in serious jeopardy of missing a bowl game.
Bielema’s Arkansas squad has as many wins (4) as Nebraska. In case you forgot, the Huskers just hired a new athletic director themselves, and a new head football coach seems inevitable at this point.
You probably didn’t forget that Bielema did alright coaching in the B1G before Arkansas. In fact, Bielema was better than alright at Wisconsin. A 68-24 mark with a couple of B1G titles and 3 Rose Bowl appearances wasn’t too shabby for the former Iowa nose guard. …
Yes, I hear you, Nebraska fans. What about Scott Frost? Isn’t he the obvious, slam-dunk, break-the-bank hire? Yes. Of course. If you’ve read anything I’ve written about the Huskers in the past several months, you know how I stand on that.
But it’s not a slam dunk that Frost will wind up in Lincoln. Despite those splashy names that are getting thrown around at Florida and Tennessee, both programs have deep pockets and seem more than capable of making a serious run at the Wood River, Neb., native.
Bielema, however, would be the ultimate consolation prize.
After all, Wisconsin’s model of success is the one that Nebraska is so desperate to emulate. Who knows that model better than Bielema?
The guy spent years turning 2- and 3-star recruits All-American offensive linemen while punishing B1G teams in the ground game. His success in the B1G speaks for itself, too. For Nebraska, a program that can’t seem to even hang in the top 25, Bielema’s résumé would be as good as anyone on the open market. …
I can already picture Bielema’s offense running for 400 yards against some B1G West foe and hearing 90,000 at Memorial Stadium give that “this is what we’ve been waiting for” type of applause.
Bielema would be welcomed in open arms in Lincoln. He wouldn’t have the brash, defensive attitude of Bo Pelini. Bielema wouldn’t have the hapless, we’ll-get-em-next-time demeanor of nice guy Riley. Bielema would bring energy and a chuckle to a program that hasn’t had enough of that in the 21st century.