The Top 10 Business Stories of 2010

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 27, 2010 12:00 am  

As it turns out, the season was hardly a disappointment. By the end of the year, few teams were hotter than the Razorbacks, who ended the regular season ranked in the Top 10 for the first time since 1989.

Arkansas, which faces Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, Jan. 4, closed the season by winning six consecutive games. The Razorbacks outscored their opponents by nearly 20 points per game and knocked off three Top 25 programs during the win streak.

Coach Bobby Petrino kept the team from fixating on the early-season struggles and guided them to the first BCS bowl in school history. Arkansas is appearing in the Sugar Bowl for the first time since the 1979 season (Lou Holtz's third year on campus) and finished the regular season ranked No. 8 nationally.

Few teams in the country were better offensively. Arkansas finished in the Top 10 in passing offense, total offense and pass efficiency, further cementing Petrino's legacy as one of the game's great offensive minds.

Defensively, the Razorbacks enjoyed a surprising turnaround from Petrino's first two seasons. Arkansas won several games thanks to defensive play, a change from 2008 and 2009 when defense actually cost victories.

It's not a stretch to think the success is just beginning for Petrino and the Razorbacks.

Petrino was rewarded with a new employment agreement that runs through 2017 and pays an average of $3.56 million annually. Ground will be broken in April on a football operations facility that Petrino thinks will be a crucial piece of continued success for the Razorbacks.

Keeping the success going will cost money, but Arkansas administrators are banking on the success bringing in additional revenue. Fees to purchase season tickets are increasing in 2011 through the Razorback Seat Value Plan and could generate up to $5 million annually.

4. Bank Expansions and Profits
If growing and making money were on their list of resolutions, some Arkansas bankers scored two big check marks during 2010.

Conway's Home BancShares Inc., Little Rock's Bank of the Ozarks and Pine Bluff's Simmons First National Corp. made out-of-state moves to expand their operations through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Florida was home to a string of six (at last count) FDIC-assisted transactions for Home BancShares. The acquisitions grew its Centennial Bank branch network in Florida to 49, compared with 52 in Arkansas.

Total assets were boosted by about $500 million with Sunshine State deals that stretched from the Panhandle to the Keys: Old Southern Bank of Orlando and Key West Bank in March; Coastal Community Bank of Panama City and Bayside Savings Bank of Port St. Joe in July; Wakulla Bank of Crawfordville in October; and Gulf State Community Bank of Carrabelle in November.

 

 

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