Bret Bielema is a mystery to a lot of Arkansas fans because he came completely out of the blue. If you look at Bielema’s resume, those other names we heard about for the last month (Gundy, Petersen, Patterson) might not be as good as this, especially seeing what he did in the Big Ten title game last weekend.
Beilema and Wisconsin put up 70 points on Nebraska to win their third straight conference title and earn their third straight Rose Bowl appearance. But Bielema is not known for his offense. Many fans have been pleading to get a defensive minded coach. Well, Bielema’s defenses are big and they're physical. In the last three years, they`ve only given up 19 points a game.
Bielema took over at Wisconsin in 2006 for Badger legend Barry Alvarez. The previous two years he served as Alvarez’s defensive coordinator. That`s just the beginning of his impressive coaching tree. Before his time in Madison he was the defensive coordinator at Kansas State for legend Bill Snyder. His teams won 11 games both seasons. The final legendary coach he served under was Iowa`s Hayden Fry. Bielema played for him and was a graduate assistant for him.
Being around those three icons has gotten Bielema used to winning big football games, and that`s exactly what Jeff Long said he wanted in a new coach. Bielema won 12 games in his first year in 2006. He was only the third coach in the history of college football to do that.
That was only the beginning. In 2010 and 2011 he had back-to-back 11-win season.
On offense Bielema is known for have big, bruising offensive lines, and his running backs are in the Heisman Trophy mix almost every year. It’s an out-of-the-blue hire, but the one Jeff Long thought he needed to compete in the SEC West.