John L. Smith will be returning to Arkansas after accepting the position as Head Coach of the Razorbacks. The University of Arkansas will continue to evaluate the program throughout the year and anticipates naming a new coach at the end of the 2012 season.
Smith has spent the last 3 seasons with the Razorbacks as their Special Teams Coach. He left in December to accept the head coaching position at his Alma Mater, Weber State.
Smith is 132-86 overall as a head coach. He was 41-21 at Louisville and 22-26 at Michigan State where he was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2003.
“Bobby Petrino has coached at ULouisville twice. The first was as an offensive coordinator 1998. By then he had 9 different coaching positions in 15 years with Arizona State being the only big name on the list of schools that aren’t football powerhouses at any level. Utah State head coach John L. Smith added Bobby Petrino to his staff in July, 1995, and then Coach Petrino followed John L. Smith to Louisville when the latter became head coach at Louisville in 1998.” – SharpTusk February 10th, 2010
Official Press Statement from John L. Smith:
“I am tremendously excited to have this special opportunity to return to Arkansas and lead the Razorback football program,” Smith said. “During my coaching career, I have always been dedicated to developing student-athletes to their fullest potential. In the last couple of weeks, I came to the realization I could provide guidance and stability to a program I’m extremely invested in. While at Arkansas, we worked to make the Razorbacks a top 5 team and much of the credit for that goes to the student-athletes. Throughout the spring, the assistant coaches and student-athletes have shown incredible focus and character, which we will use to build on as we work to achieve our goals for 2012. I want to thank President (Donald) Bobbitt, Chancellor (David) Gearhart and Jeff Long for the trust they have shown in me.”
Official Press Statement from Jeff Long, AD:
“I am extremely pleased to welcome Coach John L. Smith back to the Razorback program as our new head football coach,” Long said. “Coach Smith brings a wealth of football knowledge, BCS conference head coaching experience, passion for the game and a close familiarity with the current team and coaching staff. I firmly believe that his selection is in the best interests of the young men in our program and will also best serve the mission of our football program and university in achieving success on and off the field in the upcoming season and in the long term.
“When Coach Smith first approached me about returning to Arkansas to serve in this position, he talked about his desire to be a part of the continued success of these student-athletes, this coaching staff and the Razorback program. He has been a part of the record-breaking success we have enjoyed in the past few seasons. Coach Smith understands the commitment our players have made to building upon that success and meeting the goals that have been set for the upcoming season. I also have a tremendous amount of confidence in our assistant coaches and believe that under Coach Smith’s leadership they will be able to continue to flourish in their current roles.”