Bret Bielema fired after five season as coach at Arkansas


Moments after losing its season-ending game to Missouri, Arkansas announced Friday the firing of coach Bret Bielema after five seasons at the school.

Bret Bielema has been fired by Arkansas.

The defeat capped a 4-8 campaign for the Razorbacks.

"During the course of the past five seasons, we have not been able to sustain the success on the field that is expected and required at the University of Arkansas," interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples said in a statement.

Bielema went 29-34 overall and just 11-29 in the Southeastern Conference during his tenure after being hired from Wisconsin after the 2012 regular season.

"I was informed coming off the field that I am no longer the coach of Arkansas," Bielema said after the game. "Never had this happen to me in my life, so this is new for me."

He was expected to employ the running attack he used to win 68 games in seven seasons with the Badgers. However, after initial success, including eight victories in 2015, the team slumped in his final two seasons. 

The Razorbacks have made three SEC championship game appearances since joining the league in 1992, but have never won the conference title.

"Our goal has been and will always be to compete and win in the SEC and nationally," Peoples said. "I firmly believe that with all that the University of Arkansas has to offer, including our history and tradition, our facilities, our passionate fan base and competing in the nation's best conference, we will attract the interest of many of the top coaches in the nation."

Peoples announced Paul Rhoads will serve as interim coach at a press conference later Friday evening.

There are now vacancies at Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas in the SEC. It is expected Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin will be fired after Saturday's game against LSU.