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Bret Bielema

Prior to the 2013 season, Bret Bielema was hired to replace John L. Smith and become the 33rd head coach in Arkansas history.

In his four years with the program, Bielema has earned some notable victories with the Razorbacks but never been able to push them over the top.

After a 3-9 season in his first at Arkansas, Bielema rebounded with a 7-6 record in 2014. The Razorbacks hit a high point under Bielema in 2015, going 8-5 and finishing tied for third in the SEC West, but slipped back to 7-6 in 2016.

Under Bielema, the Razorbacks have compiled a 25-26 overall record and a 10-22 record in conference play. That record is the second-worst among active SEC coaches through the first four years with their teams, ahead of only Mark Stoops at Kentucky.

Although Bielema arrived at Arkansas after achieving plenty of success with the Wisconsin Badgers, he hasn’t been able to reach the same heights as the Bobby Petrino era that preceded him. He owns a 7-9 record against the Razorbacks’ biggest rivals, with the breakdown as following: LSU (2-2), Missouri (1-2), Ole Miss (3-1), Texas (1-0), Texas A&M (0-4).

Despite the losing record, some of Bielema’s biggest wins have actually come in rivalry games. Arkansas secured back-to-back shutouts against No. 17 LSU, 17-0, and No. 8 Ole Miss, 30-0, in 2014 to become the first unranked team in college football history to earn consecutive shutouts against ranked teams.

Other notable victories include wins against No. 18 Ole Miss and No. 9 LSU in 2015, as well as wins against No. 15 TCU, No. 12 Ole Miss and No. 11 Florida in 2016.

On the recruiting trail, Arkansas has often finished near the bottom of the pack in the SEC with Bielema at the helm.

The Razorbacks have put together the No. 23-ranked recruiting class multiple times, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings, which is the highest rank they’ve achieved with Bielema. In 2014, the first full recruiting cycle for Bielema and his staff, Arkansas had its worst-rated recruiting class and finished ranked No. 29 in the nation.

Since Bielema’s first full recruiting class in 2014, the Razorbacks have averaged the 10th-best class in the SEC.

Among the five recruiting classes that have been finalized since Bielema’s arrival, Arkansas has landed one 5-star prospect and 24 4-star prospects. The lone 5-star prospect came in 2016, when defensive lineman McTelvin Agim signed with the Razorbacks.

The notable players that Bielema has coached at Arkansas include, Hunter Henry, Brandon Allen, Austin Allen, Alex Collins, Jonathan Williams, Rawleigh Williams III, Keon Hatcher, Jared Cornelius, Trey Flowers and Brooks Ellis.

Since 2013, the Razorbacks have placed 18 players in the NFL. Henry was the highest player selected in that time, getting drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the second round with the 35th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

Bret Bielema at Wisconsin

When Barry Alvarez retired as Wisconsin’s head coach after the 2005 season to focus on his role as athletic director, he named Bielema as his chosen successor.

Over the span of seven seasons, Bielema compiled a 68-24 record as the Badgers’ head coach. He led Wisconsin to three straight Big Ten championships from 2010-12.

In 2006, Bielema coached the Badgers to a 12-1 record, becoming the first coach in Big Ten history to win at least 10 games in his rookie season and the first Wisconsin coach to earn 11 victories in the regular season. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year after his magnificent debut.

Continuing into the 2007 season, Bielema won 17 of his first 18 games as a head coach. This marked the third-best start to a career for a head coach in Big Ten history. The Badgers finished with a 9-4 record in Bielema’s second season and lost to Tennessee in the Outback Bowl.

Outside of 2006, Bielema’s best season with the Badgers came in 2010. Wisconsin earned victories over No. 1 Ohio State and No. 13 Iowa en route to an 11-2 record and its first Big Ten title under Bielema.

On December 4, 2012, three days after Wisconsin dominated No. 13 Nebraska 70-31 in the Big Ten championship game, Bielema announced he would be leaving the Badgers to accept the head coaching position at Arkansas.

Bret Bielema’s Salary

In 2015, Bielema signed a two-year contract extension with Arkansas through the 2020 season. Starting with the 2015 season, Bielema’s annual salary was $4 million with a $100,000 increase for each season thereafter.

Bielema’s base salary in 2016 was $4.1 million, making him the 9th-highest paid head coach in the SEC. Arkansas would owe Bielema $15.4 million if he is fired at any time before 2018 and at least $7.9 million if he is fired before 2020.

Bret Bielema’s Head Coaching Record

Bielema holds a career record of 93-50. His .650 winning percentage is 36th among active college football coaches at the FBS level.

Bret Bielema’s Coaching Tree

Bielema served as the co-defensive coordinator for longtime Kansas State legend Bill Snyder from 2002-03 and could be considered a part of Snyder’s coaching tree. Although Bielema has been a head coach for 11 seasons, his coaching is relatively small.

Bret Bielema Coaching Experience


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