Bielema accepts coaching job at Arkansas - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Bielema accepts coaching job at Arkansas

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The University of Arkansas made it official naming Badgers head football coach Bret Bielema as the new head coach of the Razorbacks.

University of Arkansas Director of Athletics Jeff Long said in a statement posted on the University website:

"Bret Bielema is an exceptional leader of young men and an outstanding football coach who has proven his program is centered on establishing an unshakable foundation that emphasizes the development of each student-athlete as an individual," Long said. "Coach Bielema has led his team to a historic run of championships while seeing a record number of student-athletes recognized for academic achievement. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a commitment to competing for a national championship with a program known for discipline, honesty and integrity. His tough, aggressive style of play has been successful and will be appealing to student-athletes and Razorback fans. He not only shares the vision and values for the future of Arkansas football, he embraces them."

Bielema is not expected to be introduced until Wednesday. Bielema currently earns $2.5 million a year as the Badgers head coach. Arkansas has reportedly offered around $4 million a year.

After a players-only meeting several Badgers told 27 News Jamie Hersch that Bielema would not coach them in the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2013 against the Stanford Cardinal. Players did not say who would be on the sidelines for the Badgers.

University of Wisconsin Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez issued the following statement Tuesday on the departure of Bret Bielema: 

"I was very surprised when Bret told me he was taking the offer from Arkansas. He did a great job for us during his seven years as head coach, both on the field and off. I want to thank him for his work and wish him the best at Arkansas.
 
"I have a responsibility to our student-athletes, our football family and our fans, one that I take very seriously. It is my responsibility to ensure that the football program continues at a high level, and I have already started the process of trying to find a new head coach.
 
"Along with finding a new coach, my other main objective is to make sure that our student-athletes, specifically our seniors playing in their final game as Badgers, have a tremendous experience in the Rose Bowl. We will do everything within our power to make that happen."

Bielema was 68-24 in seven seasons at Wisconsin, including an 8-5 mark this season. He led the Badgers to three consecutive Big Ten titles and Rose Bowl berths in each of the last three seasons.

Bielema's first ever victory in a bowl game as a head coach came January 1, 2007 when Wisconsin beat Arkansas 17-14 in the Capitol One Bowl.

Arkansas went 4-8 this season under John L. Smith, who was not retained by the university.

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