John L. Smith Fired as Head Coach of Arkansas Football

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent INovember 24, 2012

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 15:    Head Coach John L. Smith of the Arkansas Razorbacks watches on the sidelines during a game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 52-0.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Arkansas has reportedly fired head coach John L. Smith, according to CBS' Bruce Feldman.


ARK statement says AD told John L it's making a change in leadership & thanks him. New coach will embrace "discipline, honesty & integrity."

— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) November 24, 2012


After leading the Razorbacks to a season-opening win over Jacksonville State on Sept. 1, Smith failed to lead the team to another win for the entire month of September and only three more wins the rest of the way. Arkansas finished 4-8 under Smith in 2012.

The Razorbacks entered the season ranked No. 8 in the AP preseason poll.

Smith, who had been the special teams coach at Arkansas from 2009 to 2011 under Bobby Petrino, was hired as head coach after Petrino was fired amid scandal in April 2011. Athletic director Jeff Long surely saw Smith's head-coaching experience and familiarity with the program as the overriding factor in hiring him.

Smith had previously been the head coach at Idaho, Utah State, Louisville and Michigan State. His last run in East Lansing resulted in a 22-26 record over four seasons. 

The road was rocky for Smith as the top dog in Fayetteville from the beginning, though. After a 52-0 home defeat to Alabama in Week 3, Smith delivered this awkward moment at his weekly press conference, urging reporters to "smile."

The clip went viral and made its way onto sports shows across the country, casting a bad light onto the program. 

It was later discovered that Smith is more than $25 million in debt, and was in the process of attempting to erase that debt this fall, according to via the Associated Press. 

The best word to use to describe the John L. Smith era in Fayetteville would be strange.


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