Former Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads is on his way back to a college football sideline in 2016. Arkansas announced Wednesday Rhoads has been added to the football staff, where he will take on the role of defensive backs coach for the Razorbacks and head coach Bret Bielema.
“Paul has had a long standing reputation as a great teacher and recruiter even prior to his years of experience as a coordinator and head coach,” Bielema said in a released statement. “He instantly brings years of experience to our defensive staff room and has coached the secondary and defensive backs to the highest levels of success.”
Rhoads joining the staff at Arkansas brings the former Iowa State head coach back to the SEC for the first time since filling the role of defensive coordinator at Auburn for one season in 2008. Rhoads joined the coaching staff at Auburn in 2008 following an eight-year run in the same role at Pittsburgh. He was then hired by Iowa State to be the new head coach and he held the job up until the end of the 2015 season. This will be the first time Rhoads has served on a coaching staff as a defensive backs coach, although it is worth mentioning Rhoads played the position when he was in college at Missouri Western in the mid-1980s.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Arkansas program and can’t wait to help build on the success coach Bielema and the staff have already experienced in three years,” said Rhoads. “Not only does coach Bielema have a track record of building winning programs but also developing young men of great character. Both are things I’m excited to be part of.”
Rhoads has never been one to be short on energy and emotion, so he figures to carry that to his new position on Bielema’s staff. He will have his work cut out for him. Arkansas ranked 117th in the nation in passing defense with roughly 275 yards allowed through the air per game last fall. No team in the SEC allowed more passing yards per game than Arkansas. The Razorbacks picked off 11 passes, but opposing passers had a combined passer rating of 141.7, easily the worst allowed by an SEC team in 2015.