Less than two weeks after firing Bobby Petrino, the Arkansas Razorbacks have found their new head coach. Former Louisville and Michigan State head coach John L. Smith will hold the same job at Arkansas, but it may be short lived. Smith signed only a 10-month contract with the school, leading many to believe he’s merely a stepping stone to the next long-term hire.
Smith is best known for his time with the Cardinals from 1998-2002. Over five seasons, he went 41-21 with a high-point of 11-2 in 2001. After the 2002 season, Smith left Louisville for Michigan State, paving the way for Petrino to take over as the head coach of the Cardinals. The two worked together numerous times over the years before coming back together at Arkansas in 2009. For the past three seasons, Smith was the Razorbacks special teams coach under Petrino.
In early December, Weber State – where he played quarterback and linebacker from 1968-1970 – hired Smith to be their head coach; little did they know then they’d be hiring a man that would only last a few months. While Petrino found himself without a job, Smith suddenly found himself with another head coaching offer. Smith left Weber State without ever coaching a game – not something that will please many Wildcats fans.
Smith takes over a program that seemed ready to compete for a national title before Petrino wrote a painful end to the book of his life at Arkansas. At 63, it is possible to think Williams could have a number of years ahead of him as the Razorbacks head coach, but with only a 10-month contract, Arkansas may be looking for someone else when the 2012 season comes to an end.
Without the Razorbacks on the schedule in 2012, Florida may never face Smith as a head coach in the SEC.
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