Arkansas Business: The Best & Worst News of 2012

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 12:00 am  

Clockwise from top left: Mr. Dunderbak's makes its return to McCain Mall, Arkansas Children's Hospital makes grand plans, Gus Malzahn returns to Auburn from a one-year stint at Arkansas State, Jon Brawner thought it was wild goose season and Oxford American makes some changes in its masthead.

An Oct. 3 house call by warrant-bearing Internal Revenue Service agents came as a surprise to Steve Parks, CEO of King Coal LLC, and his wife, Anna Harper, owner of Anna’s Estate Sales. The IRS posse that descended on their home near the Country Club of Little Rock and carted away business records created quite a buzz in the neighborhood.

Worst Follow-Through on a Promise

Landing Gus Malzahn as head football coach seemed too good to be true for Arkansas State fans. So Red Wolves supporters often asked him how long he planned to be in Jonesboro. Malzahn did his best to calm their fears, addressing the question during an August booster event at War Memorial Stadium: “All these people that say I’m only going to be here a year? They don’t know me very well.” Nor, it seems, did Malzahn. He made it a whopping 11 months before departing for Auburn and $2.3 million per year.

Worst Parting Word

Bobby Petrino danced around the details of his ill-fated motorcycle ride during his April 3 press conference. But after the post-wreck presser broke up, Larry Henry of KFSM-TV in Fort Smith asked if he was alone when the accident happened two days earlier. Petrino said “yeah,” a lie that would be exposed in a State Police report later that week and lead to Petrino’s April 10 firing and end his successful four-year stint as head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Best Subtle Hint

Back in September, months before he was hired as Bobby Petrino’s successor, Bret Bielema sent a handwritten note to UA Athletic Director Jeff Long. It read:


Just wanted to say that this note is long past due. As I watched your press conference this past spring I wanted to reach out and say how much I respected your actions but more importantly your words. As a head coach I know that my comments are looked at in every way possible. Here at UW I have a great AD because he is a man of his word and asks the same for all of us. Best wishes moving forward and stay strong. It was the right call!

Best Wishes,


P.S. One thing I have learned through my time at UW is that today’s society wants to win them all, but as Coaches and Administrators we need to balance the Big Picture for all our student-athletes!



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