When it comes to his latest significant hire, Bielema has landed someone with some very recent and potentially valuable experience in the conference.
Arkansas announced late Wednesday night that Bielema has hired Jim Chaney to be the Razorbacks’ offensive coordinator. Chaney has spent the past four years at Tennessee, and was available after UT fired Derek Dooley and hired Butch Jones away from Cincinnati.
In addition to his coordinating duties, Chaney will also serve as quarterbacks coach. He held that position with the Vols as well, helping to turn Tyler Bray into one of the most productive quarterbacks in the conference.
It was another QB during Chaney’s time in the Big Ten, though, that Bielema chose to single out in his statement on the hiring.
“Jim Chaney’s approach will blend well with my ideas as we work to put together a plan for the team we have and over time develop our specific philosophy,” said Bielema. “While he was at Purdue, several of the best coaches in the nation sought his advice on how to use the spread offense. Jim went on to spend a few years in the NFL and gained a new appreciation for a pro-style offense similar to the balanced attack we will look to incorporate at Arkansas.
“He has spent his career developing numerous players for the NFL including Drew Brees. He knows the SEC, having coached at Tennessee, and is familiar with what it takes to be successful in this conference. He is an upbeat and positive person who has proven at every stop he is an elite coach in our profession.”
Chaney was at Purdue from 1997-2005, serving as the Boilermakers’ offensive coordinator. During that time… well… we’ll allow the release to spell it out:
While at Purdue, Chaney tutored quarterback Drew Brees, who was drafted in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers and was named Super Bowl XLIV MVP and the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009. Brees led the NCAA in total offense in 2000, averaging 349.1 yards per game, and won the Maxwell Award.
In between his time at Purdue and Tennessee, Chaney served as the offensive line coach (2006-07) and tight ends coach (2008) for the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.
Chaney is the second announced hiring Bielema has made since becoming UA’s head coach, joining Chris Ash. It was announced yesterday that Ash would be the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator after holding the same position for Bielema at UW.