University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long says the search for a new coach has already started.
One of the options available to Jeff Long is to take some time after spring football is over and attempt to hire a permanent replacement for Bobby Petrino. The only problem with that scenario is that spring is not typically a good time of the year to search for a head coach.
Long cited the difficulty in their search, but remained optimistic. “It’s a difficult time of year to be searching for a head football coach, no question, but I do think that our program is one that there will be people interested in, and that’s part of my process. We’ll be seeing what coaches kind of self-identify to us, that would be interested in our program,” said Long during a news conference Tuesday.
Hiring a coach during the spring can be a challenge, but it’s certainly not unprecedented. The University of Miami hired Jimmy Johnson from Oklahoma State in June 1984. Johnson went 52-9 in five seasons with Miami, and went on to win the national championship in 1987.
Another option for long is to name an interim head coach for the upcoming season from the current Hogs coaching staff.
“I think following spring practice, I’d make a decision as to who I thought was the best leader on an interim basis,” said Long.
Director Long named three possible interim candidates: Assistant Head Coach Taver Johnson, Defensive Coordinator Paul Haynes, or Offensive Coordinator Paul Petrino.
Paul Petrino’s future with the Razorbacks remains unclear though. With Petrino’s brother fired, some have wondered if he will continue with the team next season.
According to Director Long, he met with the coaching staff and they all expressed that they had a great situation at the University of Arkansas, and said they were hopeful the staff would remain together. Long said Paul Petrino was among those staff members looking to stay.