Bielema fired as Arkansas football coach

Head Hog dismissed following five seasons on The Hill

By Bart Pohlman

FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas—Arkansas fired Bret Bielema on Friday following a season-ending 48-45 loss to Missouri at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

Bielema was 29-34 in five seasons with the Razorbacks.

Following the game, Bielema met with interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples, who informed him of the decision to dismiss him as the Razorbacks’ head coach.

An athletic department source told Sports Talk’s Bo Mattingly that Bielema was fired following the game so that he’d have a chance to talk to his players before they dispersed, and to give him the option of speaking to the media.

In a statement, Peoples mentioned the lack of sustained success as one of the reasons for Bielema’s termination.

“During the course of the past five seasons, we have not been able to sustain the success on the field that is expected and required at the University of Arkansas,” Peoples said in the statement. “There is no question that Coach Bielema has been a valued and respected member of our department and has made a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes, including supporting them in their pursuit of graduation. We are grateful for his contributions to our program and most importantly his investment in the lives of our student-athletes. We wish him the very best both personally and professionally.

“Our goal has been and will always be to compete and win in the SEC and nationally. I firmly believe that with all the University of Arkansas has to offer, including our history and tradition, our facilities, our passionate fan base and competing in the nation’s best conference, we will attract the interest of many of the top coaches in the nation.”

Arkansas finished the 2017 regular season with a 4-8 overall record, including a 1-7 mark in SEC play—both totals are the second-worst marks of Bielema’s career as a head coach.

Bielema was 68-24 as the head coach at Wisconsin, and won three Big Ten championships prior to his arrival at Arkansas.

The university will hold a press conference at 7:30 p.m. tonight to address Bielema’s dismissal.