Fayetteville, Arkansas (WQOW) -- The University of Arkansas introduces Bret Bielema as the new head football coach of the Razorbacks.
Bielema says he didn't check his phone messages after the Big Ten Championship game until Sunday morning. Among the sixty messages was one from Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, who wanted to meet with Bielema about the Razorbacks' job. That meeting took place in New York City, Sunday night. There was a follow-up meeting, Monday, after which Bielema decided to leave Wisconsin.
At Wednesday's news conference, Bielema, his wife, and Long, "call the Hogs," a long-standing Arkansas tradition.
Bielema says it's not easy leaving the Badgers program, but Arkansas presents an opportunity for him to chase his dream.
"I left a great place," says Bielema, "I left a place that gave me my first opportunity as a head coach. One of the things that I really believe in as a coach, if you can leave the place in a better place than where you were, you should feel good, and we gave them three straight Big Ten championships, that's never been done before, but the opportunity to coach in the SEC is something I really wanted to do."
It's unclear whether Bielema will take any Wisconsin assistants with him to Arkansas. Bielema says before he makes any decisions on a staff, he'll talk with the remaining Razorbacks coaches.
"I can't tell you if I'm going to bring somebody from Wisconsin," Bielema says, "I can't tell you if I'm going to take someone from anywhere else in the United States, I can tell you this, the staff that I'm going to assemble is going to be second to none, and it's going to be that way because of the support I've gotten from the administration."
Bielema says he will not coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl, but says Barry Alvarez, the former Wisconsin coach and current athletic director, will do a great job leading the team.
Alvarez will address that topic Thursday, at a 10:00 A.M. news conference at the Kohl Center in Madison.
The Wisconsin State Journal is quoting a source that says the Badgers football captains approached Alvarez about coaching the team in the Rose Bowl, and Alvarez said yes.
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