We've spent the afternoon studying up on the new head hog, Bret Bielema.
Bret Bielema, who led Wisconsin to three straight Rose Bowls by winning each of the last three Big Ten titles, was named the 32nd head football coach in Arkansas history Tuesday, it was announced by Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long.
"Bret Bielema is an exceptional leader of young men and an outstanding football coach who has proven his program is centered on establishing an unshakable foundation that emphasizes the development of each student-athlete as an individual," Long said. "Coach Bielema has led his team to a historic run of championships while seeing a record number of student-athletes recognized for academic achievement. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a commitment to competing for a national championship with a program known for discipline, honesty and integrity. His tough, aggressive style of play has been successful and will be appealing to student-athletes and Razorback fans. He not only shares the vision and values for the future of Arkansas football, he embraces them."
Bielema brings a 68-24 (.739) career record as a head coach, the ninth-highest winning percentage among active coaches in the NCAA with at least five years of experience, built behind strong offense, stifling defense and all-around disciplined play. He is one of only 12 active head coaches and 16 overall to have led a team to at least three BCS games. His 40 wins over the last four seasons are tied for the most of any four-year stretch in Wisconsin history.
"I am very humbled and honored to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks," said Bielema. "During my conversation with Jeff (Long) he described the characteristics for the perfect fit to lead this program. It was evident we share the same mission, principles and goals. The infrastructure in place at Arkansas shows the commitment from the administration to accomplish our goals together and I am excited to begin to lead this group of student-athletes. This program will represent the state of Arkansas in a way Razorback fans everywhere will be proud of."
Here's a TON of background on him:
- He was born in Prophetstown, IL on January 13th, 1970. That makes him 42 years old.
- Here's a sweet 70's photo of Bret and his family.
- He worked on his family's hog farm growing up in Illinois. Making him a perfect coach for the HOGS! owned a hog farm.
- He volunteers. Especially with breast cancer charities because his mom Mary is a breast cancer survivor.
- He met his now wife Jennifer in Las Vegas, while he was sitting at a blackjack table.
- Jennifer is 27 years old.
- On meeting his wife in Las Vegas he said, “I got the best recruit ever. “It was my best sales job ever to get her. I’m glad I waited.”
- He was in Vegas for a Wisconsin fundraising trip, she was on vacation from her job as a bank teller in Tampa Bay, Florida.
- She grew up in Florida where she studied finance at South Florida.
- Here's a video of her explaining that he waited 4 months before telling her he was a big time football coach.
- Bielema announced on April 1, 2011 that he was engaged to Jennifer.
- He proposed to her while on a cruise.
- Her ring is described as "a platinum ring with a large diamond and two pear-shaped diamonds"
- Here's Coach Bielema explaining why he waited so long to get into a serious relationship and get married.
- They had a Catholic wedding.
- Bielema is coming from the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big 10. This is the same league that Les Miles and Nick Saban came from to join the SEC.
- Follow him on twitter, @BretBielema. At least we think that's him.
- He played football at Iowa from 1989-92.
- He's got an Iowa Tiger-Hawk tattoo on his calf. Here's a pic & video where he explains why he got one.
- Played professionally for the Milwaukee Mustangs, a team in the Arena Football League. Before playing in the AFL, he had signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL.
- He's coached at Iowa, Kansas State, Wisconsin and now Arkansas.
- In 2006, Bielema became the first coach in Wisconsin history to win 11 games in the regular season.
- His Badgers beat Darren McFadden, Peyton Hillis', and Felix Jones Arkansas Razorbacks 17–14 in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2007, he became the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season, finishing 12–1.
- Bielema coached Wisconsin to victories in 17 of his first 18 games.
- Bielema is fond of red windbreakers and wears the same one superstitiously every Saturday.
That's all we have for now! Welcome to Arkansas Coach. Here's a big WOO PIG SOOIE for Bret and Jennifer Bielema!
PS - Some of this stuff comes from Bret's Wikipedia page.