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Arkansas hopes to have new coach named by early December

Arkansas v Auburn AP

Take solace, Hog fans.  Your coaching savior’s white horse is just a couple of months down the road.  Maybe.

Speaking at a Little Rock Touchdown Club gathering Monday afternoon, athletic director Jeff Long gave his preferred timeline for hiring a permanent replacement for the fired Bobby Petrino — roughly two weeks following the conclusion of what’s highly likely to be a bowl-less regular season.  As the Razorbacks last game is Nov. 23, Long would like to have a new head coach in place sometime in early December.

While Long obviously didn’t get into any specific names, he did relay some of the characteristics he’s looking for in a new coach.  Suffice to say, given the scandal that swept Petrino out of Fayetteville in disgrace, character is high on the AD’s to-do list.

“[D]iscipline and accountability,” Long said when asked about the traits he will be looking for, adding UA’s new coach will have “honesty and integrity on and off the field.”

Petrino was fired April 10 after an April 1 motorcycle accident led to the revelation that the coach had been involved in an illicit relationship with a female member of the football staff.

Long told the assembled audience that neither the stain of that scandal nor the rough first half of the 2012 season would dissuade high-quality candidates from pursuing the job, pointing to the program’s facilities among its selling points.  The conference to which UA is attached certainly won’t hurt as, Kentucky notwithstanding, being the head coach at an SEC school is just about as plum of a job as there is in the game of college football.

And what of the current interim head coach?  John L. Smith was hired on a 10-month contract in the wake of the Petrino scandal and Long said he hasn’t ruled him out for the permanent job; we’re assuming the AD said that with a straight face and wasn’t chuckling over such a laughable proposition.

Back in mid-April, the betting favorites to replace Petrino on a permanent basis included Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn, USF’s Skip Holtz — who’s now on the hot seat at his current school — and FIU’s Mario Cristobal among others.  One name to keep an eye on and an ear out for?  Louisiana Tech’s Sonny Dykes, who more than a couple of individuals with insight into the situation have been mentioned to us as someone UA will heavily pursue — if they haven’t already through back-channel conversations.

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9 Responses to “Arkansas hopes to have new coach named by early December”
  1. irishdodger says: Oct 15, 2012 9:31 PM

    Charlie Strong would be a great candidate. Defensive minded, great recruiter w/ SEC ties & an Arkansas native. Unfortunately, I’ve read that he’s very loyal to Louisville for giving him a shot which is admirable.

  2. Deb says: Oct 15, 2012 10:07 PM

    Great news for Arkansas … since Smith probably has been ruled out.

  3. thepancreas says: Oct 15, 2012 11:35 PM

    We need John L.

    College football will not be the same without him.

    Imagine another year. He’ll be another 19 million dollars in debt, and his checking account will be down to 12 dollars.

    He’ll be asking his players for pizza money.

  4. larrybrown43 says: Oct 16, 2012 4:39 AM

    I have a name :

    Bobby Petrino. Just win baby!!!

  5. houndofthebaskervols says: Oct 16, 2012 4:49 AM

    I heard tonite from a supersecret source that Phil Fulmer will be named new head coach at Arkansas following their last game of the season. Krispey Kreme stock jumped 5 points on the news.

  6. mrslay1 says: Oct 16, 2012 4:37 PM

    Big league, big name… Bill Cowher, John Gruden, maybe a smaller name like Josh McDanials. You got the money Jeff…spend it and win!

  7. hawkti62 says: Oct 16, 2012 5:04 PM

    I would recommend a certain fellow currently residing in Lexington and nearly certain to be jobless come this December. Now he may be clueless about football, but he does have wonderful hair to go along with his used car salesman skills.

  8. Deb says: Oct 16, 2012 7:25 PM

    mrslay1 …

    Arkansas has as much chance of landing Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden and Josh McDaniels as it has of landing George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And they’d probably about as useful. Why don’t people understand that being a great college coach doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a great pro coach–or vice versa?

  9. burlbradley says: Oct 17, 2012 1:49 PM

    Jeff, don’t answer any collect calls from Nouston Hutt.

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