University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema is leaving to take the same position at the University of Arkansas, Yahoo Sports reported today without saying where it got the information.
Arkansas opened the season ranked No. 10 in the Associated Press poll before losing four of its first five games and finishing 4-8 under first-year coach John L. Smith. It was the first time since 2008 that the Fayetteville-based Razorbacks failed to become eligible for a postseason bowl game.
Zack Higbee, a spokesman for the Arkansas athletic department, declined in an e-mail to comment on the report. Badgers spokesman Brian Lucas didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Bielema, 42, is 68-24 with the Badgers since 2006 and has taken the team to three consecutive Rose Bowl games. Wisconsin has been ranked in the AP Top 10 during five of Bielema’s seven seasons in Madison.
Wisconsin (8-5), which won the Big Ten championship, plays Stanford University (11-2) in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. The Yahoo report didn’t say whether Bielema would coach that game.
Smith, 64, was fired as Razorbacks coach last month. He replaced Bobby Petrino, who was fired in April after four seasons when he was injured in a motorcycle accident and then covered up the fact that a female football staff member also was on the bike.