Arkansas' head coaching search is over, and Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema has reportedly agreed to take over the Razorbacks.
Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde reported, “In a stunning coup, Arkansas will hire Wisconsin's Bret Bielema as its next football coach."
Arkansas had recently been linked to high-profile coaches such as Jon Gruden, but Bielema was not expected to leave his post with the Badgers.
The Razorbacks came into the 2012 season with high hopes and were ranked No. 10 in the AP preseason poll. But the program was dealing with the effects of a tumultuous offseason in which former head coach Bobby Petrino was fired due to his role in a scandal involving his mistress.
John L. Smith was hired as an interim coach for this season, but it quickly became apparent that he would not be able to get the Razorbacks to live up to the lofty expectations set for them. An upset defeat to Louisiana-Monroe in just the second contest of the year started a four-game losing streak.
The team finished the year at 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the SEC. After the final game, the school announced that Smith would not continue as head coach.
Bielema will now look to start a new era in Fayetteville. He took over as head coach of the Badgers in 2006 as the handpicked successor of Barry Alvarez, who was promoted to athletic director at UW.
In his seven seasons, Bielema has gone 68-24 and guided the Badgers to a bowl game in every season. The team will be playing in the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive year after a shocking blowout victory over Nebraska in the Big Ten championship game.
Bielema will now have a new set of challenges as he tries to make Arkansas competitive again in an extremely tough SEC.