Arkansas tight end Jeremy Sprinkle speaks during ...
NEW ARKANSAS COACH BRET BIELEMA:
Long brings Bret aboard
Bret Bielema and his wife Jen rejoice Saturday after Wisconsin’s victory in the Big Ten Championship Game at Indianapolis. Bielema, 42, displays a Wisconsin victory sign, forming a W with his thumbs and index fingers. Today, he will likely be calling the Hogs when introduced as Arkansas’ new coach.
LITTLE ROCK About Bielema
Bret Bielema, 42, was born Jan. 13, 1970, in Prophetstown, Ill., where he grew up on a farm tending to 2,500 hogs.
He graduated from the University of Iowa in 1992 and remained a bachelor until marrying Jen Hieslberg, whom he met March 10 while on vacation in Las Vegas.
There appears to be numerous ways to pronounce the name of Arkansas’ new coach, but Bee-lamuh is how they pronounced it in Wisconsin.
Did you know?
When Bielema coached Wisconsin to a 17-14 victory over Arkansas in the 2007 Capital One Bowl, Arkansas’ head coach was Houston Nutt and Arkansas’ offensive coordinator was Gus Malzahn, the former Arkansas State coach who was hired Tuesday as Auburn’s new coach.
The only reason Wisconsin (4-4 in the Big Ten) played Nebraska in last Saturday’s conference title game was because two teams ahead of Wisconsin in the Leaders Division standings — Ohio State (8-0) and Penn State (6-2) — were ineligible for postseason play. Wisconsin defeated Nebraska 70-31.
The Wisconsin State Journal in Madison reported Tuesday that one former Wisconsin player, defensive tackle Patrick Butrym, said he doesn’t think Bielema always received the credit he deserves from Badgers fans.
Butrym said part of the problem is Bielema followed a popular coach in Barry Alvarez, who inherited a program that had recorded five consecutive losing seasons and then turned it into a Big Ten power by the end of his 16-year run.
“I think it’s unfair to compare him to Barry Alvarez,” said Butrym, a senior on last year’s team. “I think people can be so impatient. He’s done an unbelievable job, carried on the tradition.
“Everyone bashes him for losing two Rose Bowls, but I don’t think people appreciate how hard it is to get to two Rose Bowls.”
Let Bret boast
Fourth-best career winning percentage among active FBS coaches (at least 5 seasons) Led Badgers to a school-record 12 victories in 2006 Led Wisconsin to 7 bowl appearances in 7 seasons In 2012, led Badgers to 14th Big Ten title and 9th Rose Bowl appearance in school history
Has had 16 Badgers chosen in the NFL draft, including three firstrounders
Bielema was contacted by an NFL team after the 2011 season and was close to leaving, according to a source of the Wisconsin State Journal, but that source also said Bielema confirmed his desire to remain at Wisconsin before the season.
The source said Bielema told him in July, “I’’m not going anywhere. I’ve got two houses in that town [Madison]. We love it. We’re not going anywhere.”
Bielema served under some of college football’s most successful coaches on his way to becoming Wisconsin’s head coach in 2006:
THE MENTORS HAYDEN FRY (232-178-10 in 37 seasons at SMU, North Texas and Iowa)
(1994-1999), grad assistant and linebackers coach KIRK FERENTZ (112-95 in 17 seasons at Maine and Iowa)
(2000-2001), linebackers coach BILL SNYDER (170-84-1 in 21 seasons at Kansas State)
(2002-2003), co-defensive coordinator BARRY ALVAREZ (118-73-4 in 16 seasons at Wisconsin)
(2004-2005) defensive coordinator
By the numbers
24 Wisconsin’s bowl record, including a 17-14 victory over Arkansas in the 2007 Capital One Bowl
70 Points scored against Nebraska in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship
6824 Record in 7 seasons
.739 Winning percentage in 7 seasons
.660 Winning percentage in Big Ten games
$1 Buyout Bielema
mil. had to get out of Wisconsin contract
mil. $2.8 Salary at Wisconsin
2,500 Number of hogs Bielema family raised on farm in Prophetstown, Ill.
Sports, Pages 19 on 12/05/2012