Arkansas Was Foolish to Hire John L. Smith with His Massive Debt Problem

Randy ChambersAnalyst ISeptember 20, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - APRIL 24:   New Head Coach John L. Smith of the Arkansas Razorbacks speaks to the media at the press conference to announce him as new Head Coach as Athletic Director Jeff Long watches in the Raymond Miller Room on April 24, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Arkansas coach John L. Smith has many, many issues. Beyond the horrible 1-2 start to the Razorbacks season, the loss of any BCS bowl hopes and the bizarre press conference he held earlier this week, he has even more problems that are beginning to surface.

Smith recently filed for bankruptcy, and according to the Associated Press (via ESPN), new documents show that he is more than $25 million in debt.

Yes, due to failed real estate investments, the 63-year-old head coach owes more money than most of us will see in a lifetime.

Smith currently has assets of only $1.2 million and is only guaranteed the 10-month contract he signed with Arkansas after former head coach Bobby Petrino was fired.

Smith commented on his financial situation earlier this summer (via Sporting News):

From a personal standpoint, I don't want the university being embarrassed, but I'm not embarrassed. It's something that's happened. I made some mistakes, and to be honest with you, I'm a football coach, not a businessman.

It is obvious he isn't a businessman, and judging by his 1-2 start and 55 percent coaching winning percentage, he isn't much of a football coach either.

Arkansas entered the 2012 campaign with huge expectations, with many key players from the 2011 season returning. A team that had not experienced much major success with its football program was finally about to turn the corner.

That was until Petrino got into a motorcycle accident during the offseason, which changed everything.  

The former head coach was fired for hiring his mistress, lying to his boss and putting a black eye on the university as a whole. The school didn't want any of the off-field distractions to carry over onto the football field. The 2012 season looked to be one of the most promising yet.

Instead, Arkansas fired a coach for lying and cheating, but hired a coach who is so over his head in debt that he can't possibly focus on his coaching job. While the players are out practicing, his mind has to be so wrapped around this large sum of money to where he can't even think straight (which would explain the weird introduction to the press conference).

And getting off to such a horrible start only makes things worse for coach Smith. He was only hired for this season, which means that he will likely be searching for a new job once the 2012 season comes to a close. So much for sticking around for a while, which had to be the plan as he left Weber State before even getting a chance to settle in with that coaching gig.

If Arkansas officials knew about these issues earlier in the year, why in the world would it hire him?

You could argue that times are worse now than they ever were with Petrino. Sure his off-the-field actions created bad publicity for the school, but at least the Razorbacks were on their way up on the football field. Now, Arkansas has a stumbling football team led by a coach with different, yet still major issues.

Smith has already shown that he can't exactly succeed at the highest level as a football coach. He has shown numerous times that he may be a little bit off his rocker.

With these recent reports being brought to light, it goes to show that Arkansas may have just replaced one troubled coach with another.