Inside The 2012 Football Preview: Smith Relishes Return

by Staff  on Wednesday, Jul. 25, 2012 7:41 am  

Arkansas coach John L. Smith hopes to see the Razorbacks take to great heights in the 2012 season. (Photo by John L. Smith Collection)

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When John L. Smith left Fayetteville for Weber State in Ogden, Utah, at the end of the 2011 season, he was convinced that major head coaching opportunities had passed him by. He returned to his alma mater, hoping to turn the Wildcats into a Football Championship Subdivision title contender before retiring and devoting more time to his love of the outdoors and his wife, a two-time cancer survivor.

Smith last worked as a major college head coach at Michigan State, where he limped to a 22-26 overall record with the Spartans, and then to the unemployment line as his fourth season ended in 2006. He was 1-7 in the Big Ten his final season, his record getting progressively worse over four years after opening 8-5 in his debut at the school.

“I had said it is probably not going to happen,’” Smith said of a BCS-level job. “We were concentrating on the time at Weber State, getting them to that level. All of a sudden this opportunity presents itself. …”

Smith, who turns 64 in November, explains in even more detail why he chose to return to Arkansas in From Mountain Man to King of the Hill: John L. Smith Sees New Adventure In Razorbacks Return, part of our 2012 football preview magazine.

Also of interest:

• Will Smith micromanage his inherited coaching staff or let his assistants be their own men? Hear what offensive coordinator Paul Petrino says in the digital edition of's 2012 Football Preview.

•Follow John L. Smith's career path to Arkansas in the digital edition of's 2012 Football Preview.

•Watch video of John L. Smith talking about the challenges he's faced replacing Bobby Petrino and why he thinks this team still has a shot at a championship trophy.


You can pick up a copy of our primer for the 2012 season today at locations across Central Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Arkansas. There is still a limited number of copies available though print versions of the magazine are going fast. Click here for a map of locations. Remember, the magazine is free.

Can’t get your hands on a copy of the print edition? We’ve still got you covered with our digital edition of the 2012 Football Preview.




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