How Bret Bielema Got Hired and Why Nobody Knew About It

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Ever since he was announced as head coach it has been a mystery how Bret Bielema even got hire or how Jeff Long was able to keep it a secret. Long revealed those details Wednesday night after the press conference.

Long said he talked to four head coaches in person. Three of them were after Saturday’s season finale. One was before. You can assume the one before was Les Miles of LSU. Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State and Bielema were after Saturday. But how did Bielema even get in the conversation in the first place? It was not in any way you would expect.

Back in September, Bielema wrote Long a letter praising him for how he handled the Bobby Petrino scandal. However, this was not their first contact. The two have known each other since 2005 when they met at an award banquet. After that letter, Long said Bielema was on his radar.

Last Saturday after the Big Ten Championship game Jeff Long left a message for Bielema on his phone. Bielema got back to him the next morning and the two had a private meeting in New York City Monday night when they were in town for another award ceremony.

Long made the offer during that meeting. Bielema thought about it when he went home that night and accepted the offer on Tuesday morning. Just like that, he was in Fayetteville by Tuesday night.