Long expects extension for Bielema
Bret Bielema is wrapping up his second season as Arkansas’ head coach, and he could be next in line to join the list of SEC coaches getting raises.
Razorbacks athletic director Jeff Long met with reporters on Thursday and said he plans to met with Bielema after the Texas Bowl to address a number of items. He said Bielema’s contract, which currently pays him $3.2 million annually, would be on the agenda after the second-year head coach got the Hogs bowl eligible.
“We always monitor the market and where things stand and we want to reward success,” Long told the Arkansas News on Thursday. “You know what? Bret has had some success here. He got us to a bowl game probably a year earlier than maybe I anticipated. So we’ll discuss those things. That’s important.”
When Bielema agreed to his six-year deal in December 2012, he became one of the SEC’s highest paid coaches. However, during the past two seasons, his salary has slipped down the ladder.
He is expected to join Mark Stoops, Butch Jones, Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze as second-year head coaches earning extensions with their respective programs.
The record isn’t eye-popping, but Arkansas’ progress under Bielema is evident. The Hogs won two of their final three games this season, and look to get to seven wins with a bowl win over rival Texas.
While Long said he’ll meet with Bielema regarding his contract, he said he doesn’t feel a new deal is imminent.
“Bret has done a wonderful job,” Long said Thursday. “We want to keep him here. We want to keep his staff here. Continuity is huge when it comes to success on the field, but also success off the field with the young people. So, yeah, we’re going to visit about those things. We’re going to always try to keep current and that’s challenging because the marketplace continues to change. It’s a challenge. But we’re going to keep working with our coaches to try to retain them here, keep them here.”