“‘Twas the day before Christmas with new Arkansas coach Bret Bielema manning his post.
“‘A running backs coach,’ Bielema wished aloud. ‘That’s what I want the most.’
“And, so, Bielema picked up the phone and gave it a dial. Joel Thomas answered in Seattle, joking to Bielema that it had been a while. Bielema offered Thomas a job, to which the coach accepted. Thomas packed his bags for Fayetteville, and that’s how he left it.”
Anyway, here’s what Bielema said less-poetically and festively in a release on Monday announcing Thomas as the Hogs’ new running backs coach.
“Joel Thomas has a proven record of developing running backs. He excelled at the position as a player and has demonstrated a remarkable ability to connect with his student-athletes and pass his knowledge on to them. He also brings a strong background of recruiting in Texas and Dallas specifically, which is a valuable area for us to have a presence. I am extremely confident in Joel’s ability based on his time spent working under Jim Chaney, and I believe Joel’s knowledge and familiarity with Coach Chaney will be a benefit to our offense.”
Thomas has coached four 1,000-yard running backs in as many years with the Huskies. In his final game with you-dub, Thomas coached Bishop Sankey, who rushed for 205 yards and was named MVP of the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.