It's very hard to fight top-end, rising star football coaches in April, so the Arkansas Razorbacks were put into a bit of a tough spot when they were forced to fire head coach Bobby Petrino for cause. Rather than settling for a permanent hire that didn't live up to their standards, Arkansas has handed a 10-month deal to former special teams coach John L. Smith, who has FBS head coaching experience at Utah State, Louisville and Michigan State.
The university announced the hiring in a release on Monday, and Smith will be formally introduced as the interim head coach at a press conference on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET. Athletic director Jeff Long was unsurprisingly thrilled to at least temporarily resolve his head coaching problem.
"I am extremely pleased to welcome Coach John L. Smith back to the Razorback program as our new head football coach. 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."
Smith was the outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Arkansas from 2009-2011 before he left to take the head coaching job at Weber State, where he did not coach a game before coming back to Arkansas. Smith's deal will be worth $850,000 with performance and academic incentives that could cause that salary to increase.