Arkansas Hires LB Coach Vernon Hargreaves
It appears Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema did just what he intended to do when he set out to hire a new linebackers coach to replace Randy Shannon.
The Razorbacks head coach announced former Miami, East Carolina and Houston coach Vernon Hargreaves as his new selection on Tuesday.
Hargreaves, the father of current star Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, has 30 years of college coaching experience, including a stint at Miami as the linebackers coach from 1998-2005.
During his time with the Hurricanes, he won a national championship in 2001 and coached future NFL players Jonathan Vilma, Dan Morgan and D.J. Williams.
"I am very excited about Coach Hargreaves as the newest addition to our excellent coaching staff,” Bielema said in a release. “I have known Vernon for more than a decade and he has the ability and proven experience to adapt to multiple systems as a linebackers coach. His championship pedigree will make our linebackers better and help us continue recruiting from coast to coast.”
Hargreaves replaces Shannon for the second time in his career. He got his opportunity at Miami when Shannon left his job as the program's linebackers coach to accept a job in the NFL.
Hargreaves, who has spent the last two seasons at Houston, said he had spoken with Shannon in the past about Arkansas.
"He didn't have anything but great things to say about everybody in the state, the staff and everything else," Hargreaves said. "That's why I was really excited about the opportunity.
"It's my second time following Randy….It turned out pretty good (in Miami), so hopefully history will repeat itself."
Hargreaves has never coached with any of the defensive assistants at Arkansas, but said he has known secondary coach Clay Jennings for several years and has an indirect link to defensive coordinator Robb Smith.
Hargreaves' first coordinator at Miami was Greg Schiano, who Smith later worked with at Rutgers. Hargreaves said he sees a lot of similarities between Smith's defenses and the ones previously coached by Schiano.
"A lot of the things Robb is doing right now are things Coach Schiano formulated back at Miami before he went and perfected it at Rutgers," Hargreaves said. "There are some things that have been tweaked, but I kind of feel like I have a real good grasp of what he's going to be looking for."
Hargreaves appears to be the prototype linebackers coach Bielema said he was looking for earlier this month at his season-ending press conference.
“I think it would be beneficial for us and the path I am going down first is to find a great linebacker coach that can fit in our system that can recruit the state of Florida,” Bielema said at the time. “That would be ideal if I could pinpoint it."
Top Photo courtesy of Stephen Pinchback/@UHCougarFB
New Arkansas linebacker coach Vernon Hargreaves poses with his son and current Florida cornerback Vernon III and his wife Jackie.
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