UA Officially Names Bret Bielema of Wisconsin As New Razorbacks Football Coach

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 6:21 pm  

Bret Bielema (Photo by UW-Madison, University Communications)

Bielema brings a 68-24 (.739) career record as a head coach, the ninth-highest winning percentage among active coaches in the NCAA with at least five years of experience, built behind strong offense, stifling defense and all-around disciplined play. He is one of only 12 active head coaches and 16 overall to have led a team to at least three BCS games. His 40 wins over the last four seasons are tied for the most of any four-year stretch in Wisconsin history.

“I am very humbled and honored to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks,” said Bielema. “During my conversation with Jeff (Long) he described the characteristics for the perfect fit to lead this program. It was evident we share the same mission, principles and goals. The infrastructure in place at Arkansas shows the commitment from the administration to accomplish our goals together and I am excited to begin to lead this group of student-athletes. This program will represent the state of Arkansas in a way Razorback fans everywhere will be proud of.”

           In 2012, Bielema guided Wisconsin to its third straight Big Ten championship and the Badgers became the first team to represent the Big Ten in three straight Rose Bowls since Michigan qualified following the 1976-78 seasons. In his most recent game as Wisconsin head coach, Bielema led the Badgers to a 70-31 win over No. 14 Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game. Wisconsin became the second team to score 70 points in a conference championship game, matching the number scored by Texas in the 2005 Big 12 Championship Game. Wisconsin also had two 200-yard rushers in the same game for the first time in school history.

Also during the 2012 season, running back Montee Ball broke the NCAA career records for total touchdowns and rushing touchdowns. Ball has scored 82 total touchdowns, breaking the previous record of 78, and 76 rushing touchdowns, besting the old record of 73. As a team, the Badgers rank in the top 25 in the country in rushing offense, total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass efficiency defense and pass defense.

In Bielema’s seven seasons as head coach, he has had 16 players earn All-America honors, including 10 first-team All-Americans. Wisconsin also had two Outland Trophy winners, one winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and one Lott IMPACT Trophy winner as well as finalists for numerous other individual awards, including the Heisman Trophy. In the last five years, 16 Badgers were taken in the NFL Draft, including three in the first round.

Bielema, who served as Wisconsin's defensive coordinator for two seasons before becoming head coach, was on staff as UW compiled a 55-6 record at Camp Randall Stadium in his nine years. The Badgers won their first 16 home games under Bielema, the second-longest home winning streak in school history.

In his first two seasons as head coach, Bielema led Wisconsin to 21 wins. Only two other men in Big Ten history, Michigan's Fielding Yost (22) and Ohio State's Jim Tressel (21), have guided their teams to as many as 21 wins in their first two seasons as Big Ten head coaches.

Bielema coached Wisconsin to victories in 17 of his first 18 games. That represents the second-best start to a head coaching career in Big Ten history. Only Michigan's Yost, who went 55-0-1 from 1901-05, had a better beginning to a career.

In 2011, the Badgers won the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game, defeating Michigan State 42-39 to advance to the Rose Bowl for the second straight season. Wisconsin, winners of the Leaders Division, finished the season with an 11-3 record and recorded 11 regular-season victories for just the third time in school history, all under Bielema’s watch.

Wisconsin’s high-powered offense ranked sixth in the country in scoring in 2011 behind quarterback Russell Wilson and Ball. They became the first teammates in FBS history to throw at least 30 touchdowns and run for at least 30 scores in the same season. Ball, a first-team All-American, was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and tied Barry Sanders' FBS record for touchdowns scored in a season with 39 and broke Sanders’ NCAA single-season scoring record with 236 points. Offensive linemen Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler also earned first-team All-America recognition. The Badgers had a school-record nine players receive first-team All-Big Ten honors.

In 2010, the Badgers won a share of the 12th Big Ten championship in school history and first since 1999. UW tied a school record with seven conference victories and earned their first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1999. Wisconsin finished the season with an 11-2 record and ranked No. 7 in the final Associated Press Poll. The Badgers were explosive on offense, setting a school record and ranking fifth in the country in scoring offense averaging 41.5 points per game. Their 45.2 points per game in conference play was the second-highest average in Big Ten history. Wisconsin nearly became the first team in FBS history to have three running backs gain 1,000 yards in the same season as James White finished with 1,052 yards, John Clay had 1,012 and Ball ran for 996.

Wisconsin was the most disciplined team in the country in 2010, leading the nation in both fewest turnovers with nine and fewest penalties per game with an average of 3.15. UW also ranked in the top 10 nationally in pass efficiency, third-down conversions, fourth-down conversions, red zone offense, time of possession and turnover margin. The Badgers were one of just six teams in the country to rank among the top 25 in both total offense and total defense.

 

 

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