John L. Smith attends funeral

Updated: September 24, 2012, 3:45 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Embattled Arkansas coach John L. Smith briefly left the team to attend the funeral of his brother, the school announced Friday afternoon.

"Coach John L. Smith flew to Idaho Falls last night after practice to attend the funeral of his brother (Bart) who passed away Monday," Arkansas media relations director Zack Higbee said in a statement. "The funeral is being held this afternoon and Coach Smith will return to Fayetteville early this evening."

According to the Post Register in Idaho Falls, Bart Smith was 53 and the youngest of five children. His favorite pastime, according to the newspaper, was following his brother's football teams.

The news of his death comes one day after reports that John L. Smith was trying to wipe out $25.7 million in debt in bankruptcy court.

Smith, who loudly implored reporters to "smile" at a news conference this week, has a meeting with a long list of creditors at U.S. Bankruptcy court in Fayetteville on Oct. 12, the day before the Razorbacks host Kentucky.

Since declaring bankruptcy on Sept. 6, then-No. 8 Arkansas has lost in overtime to Louisiana-Monroe, 34-31, and was shut out by No. 1 Alabama, 52-0.

The Razorbacks (1-2) are preparing to host Rutgers (3-0) on Saturday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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