Highs and lows

By: Matthew Harris
Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012
John L. Smith said he regrets he couldn't have helped Arkansas' team to more wins in 2012.
Photo by Benjamin Krain
John L. Smith said he regrets he couldn't have helped Arkansas' team to more wins in 2012.

— University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long announced Saturday that John L. Smith would not be retained as UA’s head football coach. Smith has made plenty of headlines since he was hired in April as the school’s interim coach. The following is a look back at Smith’s time at UA:

JAN. 17, 2009 Smith is hired by former Arkansas Coach Bobby Petrino to serve as special-teams coordinator, joining the Razorbacks’ staff three seasons after he was fired as Michigan State University’s head coach.

DEC. 6, 2011 Smith is hired as head coach at Weber State, his alma mater and a member of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.

APRIL 23, 2012 Smith returns to UA as the interim head coach, replacing Petrino, who was fired for not disclosing that a female passenger was on his motorcycle when he crashed it in Madison County in early April and that he’d hired the woman as a member of his football staff without acknowledging he’d had an affair with her. Smith’s contract is for eight months and pays him $850,000. Athletic Director Jeff Long says the move is an effort to keep together a coaching staff that is familiar with the team, which is expected to be ranked among the top 10 nationally going into the season.

JULY 4, 2012 Smith says he intends to file for bankruptcy in Kentucky, where he served as head coach at Louisville in 1998-2002, after real estate deals went bad during the economic downturn. Smith disclosed his financial troubles to Long before he was hired at UA, according to The Associated Press. Reports indicate Smith’s debt is between $10 million and $50 million. AUG. 30, 2012 A personal services agreement reveals that Smith deferred $600,000 in compensation until after the season ends and signed the agreement a week before he declared bankruptcy.

SEPT. 1, 2012 UA defeats Jacksonville State 49-21 in its season opener after overcoming an early 14-7 deficit in the first quarter.

SEPT. 6, 2012 Smith files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Another filing in October reveals his liabilities at $40.6 million, with only $1.3 million in assets. SEPT. 8, 2012 Louisiana-Monroe stuns eighth-ranked UA 34-31 in overtime when quarterback Kolton Brown runs 16 yards on fourth down for the game-winning touchdown. The Warhawks rally from a 28-7 deficit after UA’s starting quarterback, Tyler Wilson, is knocked out of the game with a concussion.

SEPT. 15, 2012 No. 1 Alabama routs UA 52-0 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, the first shutout in Fayetteville since 1966. Wilson sits out, then questions the Razorbacks’ motivation after the loss, saying, “It sucks not to see people do their jobs and things go wrong.”

SEPT. 17, 2012 During his weekly news conference, Smith implores media members to “Smile!” before beginning his remarks. The comment draws criticism from fans questioning his attitude after two losses. It was learned later in the week that Smith’s younger brother had died Monday.

SEPT. 22, 2012 Despite an SECrecord 303 receiving yards by Cobi Hamilton, UA can’t rally from a 28-13 deficit in a 36-26 loss to Rutgers and falls to 1-3 on the season.

SEPT. 24, 2012 Smith rankles fans again when he inadvertently refers to UA’s program as the “Alabama program” while speaking to the Little Rock Touchdown Club.

SEPT. 29, 2012 The Hogs bottom out in a 58-10 rout by Texas A&M, which racked up 706 yards of total offense. UA falls to 1-4 for first time in 20 years.

OCT. 6, 2012 UA ends its fourgame losing streak with a 24-7 victory at Auburn. The Razorbacks follow up the victory with a 49-7 victory against Kentucky.

OCT. 27, 2012 Sitting at 3-4, UA’s bowl hopes take a hit when Ole Miss kicker Bryson Rose kicks a 31-yard field goal to give the Rebels a 30-27 victory at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. It marks the first season since 1993 the Razorbacks failed to win any of their games in Little Rock.

NOV. 3, 2012 The Razorbacks hold on for a 19-15 victory over Tulsa, extending the school’s winning streak against the Golden Hurricane to 18 games.

NOV. 23, 2012 A last-second pass from Wilson to wide receiver Mekale McKay sails high, as the Razorbacks close out the season with a 20-13 loss to rival LSU. UA finishes the season 4-8.

NOV. 24, 2012 UA Athletic Director Jeff Long announces that Smith will be reassigned.

Front Section, Pages 8 on 11/25/2012