Bielema Makes Splash at First Press Conference – plus an interview with Jen Bielema

Arkansas Razorbacks Head Coach Bret Bielema

Arkansas Razorbacks Head Coach Bret Bielema
Courtesy Walt Beazley

Growing up on a hog farm, it only seems like a natural fit for Bret Bielema to be the next head coach of the Razorbacks. Bielema officially accepted the position at his 4 p.m. press conference today as the 32nd head coach at Arkansas, and set it in stone by calling the hogs on stage with his wife, Jen, and Athletic Director Jeff Long.

Long started off the press conference by saying a few choice words and thanking all that helped him along the way during this nine month coaching search.

“I am proud to say that the coach we are introducing meets all of our expectations,” said Long. “He brings a commitment to impacting the lives of the student athletes he works with.”

Bielema started off thanking everyone from Chancellor David Gearhart and the administration to Jeff Long, and also his returning players, who he just met prior to the press conference.

Bielema was asked most of the questions that were raised when he was hired. He made a few comments regarding what he said a year ago when he said at the time he didn’t want the Big Ten to be the SEC.

“I think the comments I made about the SEC a year ago really had nothing to do with what’s really going on. I have a great amount of respect for the SEC, that’s why I’m standing with you here today,” said Bielema.

He also said he wasn’t going to coach the Rose Bowl for Wisconsin, meaning that he wants to get the ball rolling as head coach here as soon as possible.

Bielema was also asked about what his process would be when hiring assistants.

He told a story about how he was given a chance to be linebackers coach at Iowa, and felt everybody on the current Arkansas staff would have a similar opportunity. Bielema said he had a short list of six coaches in mind for offensive coordinators, and didn’t rule out having assistants on his staff with SEC backgrounds.

“The staff I am going to assemble is going to be second to none,” Bielema said.

Some critics think that Bielema may have trouble recruiting the area, and may need assistants with SEC experience to help him grow accustomed to the conference. Bielema addressed that issue head on, saying that it is not where you are from, but what kind of person you are.

He then went on to say that if you are a recruit from Arkansas who wants to compete on a national championship level, look no further than the campus in Fayetteville – possibly a direct shout out to Altee Tenpenny.

Bielema was known for a power running game at Wisconsin, but didn’t say the same offense would apply at Arkansas.

“You have to be a balanced offense,” he said.

Bielema seemed like a man in charge, and answered every question sharply about what he plans to do with the program. Until we can actually see on-the-field results, taking Bielema’s strong word for it is all we can do.

Watch this interview with Coach Bret Bielema.

Video courtesy of Arkansas Razorbacks.

Get to know Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema’s wife, Jen, with this video from a Wisconsin television station’s “Conversation” feature.

It’s a five minute discussion with Jen and an inside look at the relationship the two newlyweds (married earlier this year) share.

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