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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Statements on Bielema's hiring at Arkansas

By Adam Rittenberg

It's official: Arkansas has hired Bret Bielema to be its next head football coach.

Here are some statements on Bielema's departure from Wisconsin and his arrival with the Razorbacks.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez

"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."

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long

"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. 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."

Bret Bielema

"I am very humbled and honored to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. During my conversation with Jeff [Long] he described the characteristics for the perfect fit to lead this program. It was evident we share the same mission, principles and goals. The infrastructure in place at Arkansas shows the commitment from the administration to accomplish our goals together and I am excited to begin to lead this group of student-athletes. This program will represent the state of Arkansas in a way Razorback fans everywhere will be proud of."

One of the big questions Alvarez faces is who takes over the head-coaching duties for the Rose Bowl. There's been some buzz that Alvarez himself, who went 3-0 in Rose Bowls, could step into the top job. If not, defensive coordinator Chris Ash is expected to handle the head-coaching duties in Pasadena.