Arkansas will replace its ousted head coach with a guy that gave him his first big break according to a press release from the school.
John L. Smith, the former Michigan State head coach and someone who took the Weber State job four months ago, has agreed to become Arkansas' head coach for the 2012 season and a financial package has been approved.
"I am tremendously excited to have this special opportunity to return to Arkansas and lead the Razorback football program," Smith said. "During my coaching career, I have always been dedicated to developing student-athletes to their fullest potential. In the last couple of weeks, I came to the realization I could provide guidance and stability to a program I'm extremely invested in. While at Arkansas, we worked to make the Razorbacks a top 5 team and much of the credit for that goes to the student-athletes.
"Throughout the spring, the assistant coaches and student-athletes have shown incredible focus and character, which we will use to build on as we work to achieve our goals for 2012," Smith added. "I want to thank President (Donald) Bobbitt, Chancellor (David) Gearhart and Jeff Long for the trust they have shown in me."
It is a 10-month deal worth $850,000 to be the head coach for this season according to Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long and Smith will be introduced at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
"I am extremely pleased to welcome Coach John L. Smith back to the Razorback program as our new head football coach," Long said. "Coach Smith brings a wealth of football knowledge, BCS conference head coaching experience, passion for the game and a close familiarity with the current team and coaching staff. I firmly believe that his selection is in the best interests of the young men in our program and will also best serve the mission of our football program and university in achieving success on and off the field in the upcoming season and in the long term."
The 63-year-old who approached Arkansas about the deal and who was a Razorback assistant for the past three years, replaces Bobby Petrino, a coach Smith hired at Louisville.
"When Coach Smith first approached me about returning to Arkansas to serve in this position, he talked about his desire to be a part of the continued success of these student-athletes, this coaching staff and the Razorback program," Long said in the release. " He has been a part of the record-breaking success we have enjoyed in the past few seasons. Coach Smith understands the commitment our players have made to building upon that success and meeting the goals that have been set for the upcoming season.
"I also have a tremendous amount of confidence in our assistant coaches and believe that under Coach Smith's leadership they will be able to continue to flourish in their current roles."
Smith was head coach at Louisville (1998-2002) and Michigan State (2003-2006) and has a combined 132-86 record in his 19 years as a head coach.
He was 41-21 at Louisville and 22-26 at Michigan State, where he was the Big 10 Coach of the Year in 2003.
Smith coached linebackers and was special team coordinator for three seasons for the Razorbacks.
Smith has worked with eight of the nine assistant coaches on the Arkansas staff, including offensive coordinator Paul Petrino and defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, who worked for Smith at Michigan State.
Long announced the University of Arkansas will continue to evaluate the program and the head coaching position in anticipation of naming a head coach following the 2012 season.
The current appointment will allow the program to identify a head coach for the future of the program in a timeframe that is more conducive to attracting the potential candidates expected for one of the nation's premier football head coaching positions.
Arkansas Names Smith
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