Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Bielema wishes Long well on radio show
Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema, right, and Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long walk into the Raymond Miller Room on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, for a press conference announcing Bielema as the Razorbacks' football coach.
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas Razorbacks football Coach Bret Bielema, speaking publicly about the dismissal of Athletic Director Jeff Long for the first time, said Thursday night that his relationship with Long would “last way, way past our time here together.”
Bielema made the comments to host Chuck Barrett, the voice of the Razorbacks, to open his show On the Air with Bret Bielema from the Catfish Hole Restaurant in Fayetteville.
“It was awesome for me to witness when I first got here throughout my time here to where we are today and what you saw yesterday,” he said. “Where you saw this unified outpouring not just from former football players, not guys I had coached, but the reference by so many student-athletes to the way Jeff had treated them.
“For us personally in football, [Long] traveled with us the majority of the time. He was always fist-bumping the guys at the front of the plane — not just 1, not 2, but 70 guys, and some of the guys that weren’t on the team that he thought were on the team.”
Bielema said Long came in to speak to the team during the opening of fall camp each season.
“We wish Jeff and his family, especially the girls and his wife, all the best,” Bielema said. “We’re thinking of them.”
Julie Cromer Peoples, who was appointed interim athletic director by University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Chancellor Joe Steinmetz on Wednesday, attended Bielema’s radio show and was introduced to the crowd to a round of applause.
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