Bielema names Ash Defensive Coordinator
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema completed his first coaching staff with the hiring of wide receivers coach Michael Smith.
FAYETTEVILLE Chris Ash will join Bret Bielema at Arkansas as the Razorbacks' defensive coordinator, it was announced Tuesday.
Ash, 38, was on staff at Wisconsin the last three seasons and helped lead the Badgers to three consecutive Big Ten championships. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2011 and will remain with Wisconsin through the Badgers' Rose Bowl game against Stanford on Jan. 1.
“I am excited to welcome Chris to our staff,” Bielema said in a release announcing the hire. “In the last three years working together, I gained a great respect for the way Chris teaches the game and develops student-athletes. I’ve followed his career for a long time, and his knowledge of the way we run our program and specifically the defense will be valuable for us moving forward in our transition.
"Chris helped us improve drastically in our pass defense at Wisconsin where his defenses consistently ranked in the top 25 nationally in all the major categories.”
In 2012, the Badgers’ defense was 13th in the NCAA in total defense and tied for 19th in the country in scoring defense. Wisconsin also led the Big Ten and was third in the country in three-and-out percentage (41.7 percent).
Before joining Bielema's staff at Wisconsin, Ash graduated from Drake and became the defensive coordinator at his alma mater prior to spending a total of 10 seasons between Iowa State and San Diego State.
Ash is the first hire Bielema has made to his staff at Arkansas. Bielema was hired last week after spending seven seasons as head coach at Wisconsin.