Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers. He and his wife live in Fayetteville.
In letter, Bielema commends Long, Alvarez
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --12/05/2012-- Bret Bielema, the new University of Arkansas head football and University of Arkansas Athletic director Jeff Long enters the room to start the press conference Wednesday afternoon at the University of Arkansas after the announcement of his hire to the football program.
FAYETTEVILLE After hiring Bret Bielema as head football coach last week, University of Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said he had received a letter from the former Wisconsin coach in the spring.
The hand-written letter, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request Monday, commends Long for his handling of Bobby Petrino's firing for misconduct in April. There is no date attached to the letter, though in it, Bielema said it is "long past due".
In the letter, Bielema also commended his Wisconsin athletics director, Barry Alvarez, saying Alvarez was a, "great AD because he is a man of his word and asks the same for all of us."
The letter in its entirety can be read below.
Just wanted to say that this note is long past due. As I watched your press conference this past spring I wanted to reach out and say how much I respected your actions but more importantly your words. As a head coach I know that my comments are looked at in every way possible. Here at UW I have a great AD because he is a man of his word and asks the same for all of us. Best wishes moving forward and stay strong. It was the right call!
P.S. One thing I have learned through my time here at UW is that today’s society wants to win them all, but as Coaches and Administrators we need to balance the Big Picture for all our student athletes!
Bielema signed a letter of agreement with the Razorbacks worth $3.2 million before incentives through 2018. During his introductory press conference, Long lauded the academic history of Bielema's players. Wisconsin scored a 975 on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate during the last reporting period, well above the national benchmark.
Petrino was hired at Western Kentucky on Monday to a four-year deal worth $850,000.