From the other side of this, the B1G needs to start paying its coordinators more. (I'm a B1G guy..) That seems to have been problem #1 at Wisconsin. I'm sick of seeing B1G coordinators take a head coaching job at an ACC school and see it as a step up. That needs to be seen as a lateral move.
New Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema was asked Friday on ESPN Radio if it was fair to say he left Wisconsin for Fayetteville in order to put himself in a better conference. His reply:
“I played in the Big Ten and enjoyed every opportunity that I had there as a player, an assistant coach, a coordinator, and a head coach, but I get what you’re saying and that’s one of the main reasons I came here was… when we go to playoff system in 2014 and to know you can be a one-loss team and you’re not even in the championship game in the SEC (but) you very well might be in the consideration (for) those four (playoff) teams, that’s very intriguing.
And I’ve just never been able to have the resources I’ve been given here at Arkansas to hire a group of assistant coaches. I’ve lost a lot of really good coaches at Wisconsin. And it was just getting very frustrating for us. There’s some contractual things I was frustrated with and the opportunity to come here and have them open the doors with open arms… and the fanbase here is insanity! Bigger than I could ever imagine and it’s just really an exciting time…
(The Big Ten) is a great, great league and everything that goes into it, but on the flipside of it the SEC… we’re building a new facility here at Arkansas that is off the charts. It is just gonna open so many doors in recruiting. I’ve been blown away the last two nights talking to kids on the phone recruiting that are gonna open some doors that I just didn’t see out there for us in their avenues.”
Bielema also revealed that he had “some conversations with Tennessee” before accepting the Arkansas job. Clearly, as we stated last week, Bielema was ready to get out of Barry Alvarez’s shadow in Madison.
The ex-coach and current Badger AD said on Sirius/XM Radio Friday that he didn’t hear a word from Bielema until last Tuesday when the coach told him he’d already cut a deal with the Razorbacks. As a result, Alvarez now plans to put a clause in the contract of Wisconsin’s next coach which will force that person to contact the AD before starting talks with any other program.
The site CollegeFootballTalk.com fires a zinger in Bielema’s direction for his handling of the situation with his old boss:
“One would think that common decency and respect — ‘Hey, boss, I’m looking at other options’ — would be understood instead of having to be part of some type of contractual agreement. Thanks to the Bielemas of the coaching world, respect will continue to be an endangered species.”
In fairness to Bielema, only he and Alvarez know what their relationship was really like. Obviously the two men view the situation differently. Maybe there’s a good reason Bielema didn’t give the man who’d made him head coach at Wisconsin a heads-up. That said, fair or not, Bielema’s handling of the situation appears to have been poor. At least from the outside looking in.
But you can bet no one in the state of Arkansas is too worried about their new coach’s lack of etiquette on his way out the door at Wisconsin.