Arkansas fired head football coach Bret Bielema after the Razorbacks finished the regular season with a 48-45 loss to Missouri on Friday at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Razorbacks sportscaster Bo Mattingly passed along the release that confirmed the coach's dismissal:
Bo Mattingly @SportsTalkwBo
Press release from Arkansas on Bret Bielema’s firing. https://t.co/EiOprn3dDd2017-11-24 23:44:04
Bielema went 29-34 in five seasons at Arkansas. The Razorbacks had winning records in three of his five years with the program but never finished with more than eight victories.
Athletic director Jeff Long told SEC Country's Jason Kersey in July that Bielema was not on the hot seat coming into 2017:
"Bret is the leader of our program. The leader is more than just winning games—and I know some fans don't want to hear that. Trust me, it doesn't mean we aren't competing with every fiber of our being to win in the toughest conference and the toughest division of that conference. But when you look at what Bret's doing, we're building a program that's built on an outstanding foundation."
After a 2-2 start, however, Arkansas lost six of its last eight games, including blowout defeats to South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn and LSU en route to a 1-7 mark in SEC play.
Bielema should not have much trouble finding work if he wants to return to coaching immediately. He led Wisconsin to two Rose Bowls in his final three years with the program before he left for Arkansas. The move, seen as lateral at best at the time, now looks like a career misfire.
But Bielema has enough of a track record that he should find Power Five work at some point in the next couple of years.