Razorback Coach John L. Smith Facing Bankruptcy Following Bad Land Deals

by Kurt Voigt, The Associated Press  on Wednesday, Jul. 4, 2012 10:38 am  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Mason's filing listed $250,000 in debt to one of Smith's investment limited liability corporations, while also listing an unknown amount of debt to Smith personally. The filing also listed numerous banks as creditors, with Fifth Third Bank in North Carolina listed as the largest. Barbara Grimsley, a spokeswoman for Fifth Third Bank, said Tuesday it was the bank's policy not to comment on customer accounts.

Smith is represented by attorney Jim Dowden in Little Rock and has representation in Kentucky.

"I think everybody got into this real estate deal, hoping to make a bunch of money," Dowden said. "Just like there are prominent families in northwest Arkansas that did, but unfortunately the recession hit and here we are."

Smith said the primary reason he's talking now is so his personal financial problems don't become a distraction during the season. The Razorbacks are expected to begin the season ranked in the top 10, with Heisman Trophy candidates at quarterback (Tyler Wilson) and running back (Knile Davis).

"From a personal standpoint, I don't want the university being embarrassed, but I'm not embarrassed," Smith said. "It's something that's happened. I made some mistakes, and to be honest with you, I'm a football coach, not a businessman."

Long, who is continuing to research potential candidates for a long-term solution as head coach — including Smith — said he doesn't believe Smith's personal financial problems will influence his ability to coach.

"I think the people that want to make more out of it than there is here will do that, regardless," Long said. "But I think those will be the minority. This is clearly to me a man who has made a poor financial choice, and I think if we look across our society today, especially in these times, we will see many very good people leading their organizations who have made some poor financial decisions. That's the way I see it."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.