Bielema takes Arkansas job

KURT VOIGT AP Sports Writer Published:

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- In its second stunning hiring this year, Arkansas tabbed Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema to take over a program that went into a tailspin after former coach Bobby Petrino was fired for hiring his mistress to work in the athletic department.

The Razorbacks released a statement Tuesday night saying Bielema will leave the Badgers after seven seasons. The announcement came minutes after he met with players at Wisconsin, and he'll be introduced at an afternoon news conference in Fayetteville on Wednesday.

"His tough, aggressive style of play has been successful and will be appealing to student-athletes and Razorback fans," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement. "He not only shares the vision and values for the future of Arkansas football, he embraces them."

A person familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information hasn't been released publicly, says the deal is for six years and $3.2 million annually.

Bielema replaces interim coach John L. Smith, who was hired after Petrino was fired. Long announced after the season that Smith wouldn't return.

Barry Alvarez's hand-picked successor at Wisconsin, Bielema was 68-24 with the Badgers, with four double-digit-win seasons. He coached Wisconsin to a 17-14 victory over Arkansas at the Capital One Bowl in his first season.

He is leaving the Big Ten for the SEC and a Razorbacks program that opened the year with hopes of challenging for a national championship only to get mired in the Petrino scandal before stumbling to a 4-8 finish.

Bielema seems likely to bring a far different approach than what the Razorbacks have become accustomed to. Arkansas continually ranked among the Southeastern Conference's best passing teams under Petrino. Bielema, meanwhile, is known for his dominant offensive lines and slew of running backs.

"During my conversation with Jeff (Long), he described the characteristics for the perfect fit to lead this program," Bielema said in a statement. "It was evident we share the same mission, principles and goals."

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball tied Barry Sanders' long-standing single-season record of 39 touchdowns last year, and this year became the FBS career leader in touchdowns. He currently has 82 touchdowns after running for three Saturday night in the Big Ten title game against Nebraska -- a 70-31 romp that secured the Badgers third straight trip to the Rose Bowl, where they will play Stanford on Jan. 1.

The 42-year-old Bielema was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin for two years before being promoted to head coach in 2006. He played for Iowa and started his coaching career there as an assistant under Hayden Fry and later Kirk Ferentz.

Hazell leaving for Purdue

CLEVELAND -- Darrell Hazell is expected to leave Kent State to coach Purdue, according to reports.

Hazell, who in his second year led the Golden Flashes to an 11-2 record and their first bowl since 1972, had not told Kent State officials he was leaving as of late Tuesday night. However, a person close to Kent State's program said Hazell has scheduled a Wednesday morning meeting with his staff and players.

Purdue officials flew to Ohio and met with Hazell on Monday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing has been made official.

ESPN.com and CBSSportsline.com, citing unidentified sources, reported Hazell has accepted the Purdue job.

An assistant at Ohio State under Jim Tressel before taking over at Kent State, Hazell was the Mid-American Conference's coach of the year this season.

The Golden Flashes will play Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6.

Malzahn to Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn has turned to Gus Malzahn to restore a program that made an unprecedented fall two years after winning the national title with Cam Newton operating the then-assistant coach's high-powered offense to perfection.

Malzahn was the Tigers' offensive coordinator during their 2010 national championship run before heading to Arkansas State for his first college head coaching position. He received a five-year contract worth $2.3 million annually to try to get the team back on solid footing.

"I recruited a lot of them and have very good relationships," Malzahn said. "I just told them our expectations are to win championships. Whatever happened last year happened last year. It's a new day. We're going to put a good brand of football on the field and we're going to have fun doing it."

BC hires Addazio

BOSTON -- Boston College has hired Steve Addazio away from Temple to be the Eagles' next coach.

Addazio, a Connecticut native, went 13-11 in two seasons with the Owls since taking over for Al Golden in Philadelphia.

Temple is coming off a 4-7 season. In his first season with the Owls, Addazio went 9-4 and won the New Mexico Bowl.

He replaces Frank Spaziani, who was fired after four seasons as head coach and 16 overall at BC. Spaziani went 22-29 with the Eagles.

Cincy's Jones weighing options

CINCINNATI -- Coach Butch Jones was weighing his options Tuesday after returning to Cincinnati's campus after two days of interviews at Purdue and Colorado.

Jones attended a news conference about the Bearcats' appearance in the Belk Bowl on Dec. 27 against Duke. Cincinnati (9-3) finished with a share of the Big East title for the fourth time in the last five years.

He declined to talk about his interviews or his future.

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