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Smith named interim Arkansas coach

By: 23 April 2012 3 Comments

After a few weeks of high drama,  John L. Smith has been named interim head football coach at the University of Arkansas — thus replacing the departing Bobby Petrino.

Yes, the photo to the left identifies Smith as the new head coach for Weber State. We’ll get to that in a minute.

For those who aren’t familiar with Arkansas or have been living under a rock since the first of the month, here’s a recap of what led to this hire. Petrino — head coach of the Razorbacks since he replaced Houston Nutt in December 2007 — got into a motorcycle wreck on April Fool’s Day.

Petrino said he was alone on that motorcycle, but that turned out to not be the case. No, he was motoring through Madison County with his alleged paramour, Jessica Dorrell. It turned out the 51-year-old coach was instrumental in securing a job with the UA football program for his 25-year-old girlfriend just a few days prior to the accident and had done a number of inappropriate things, too. He was fired on April 10 and Dorrell left her job a few days later. You can read about the whole sordid mess here and marvel a bit over what Petrino accomplished with the UA football program, too.

So, that brings us to today when UA Athletic Director Jeff Long confirmed that Smith has been hired as interim head coach on a 10-month contract. So, who is this cat? He has been a head coach at Idaho, Utah, Louisville and Michigan State and was in charge of special teams at Arkansas from 2009-2011.

In December, he left Arkansas and accepted the job as head coach of Weber State — his alma mater. That job didn’t last long, of course, as Smith has accepted the interim head coach post at Arkansas. Long, in the aforementioned statement, said the coaching search will continue and the UA expects to name a head coach after the 2012 season.

Got an opinion on the Smith hire? Head on over to the forums at, register for a free account and jump right into the fray.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =

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