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Long’s Coaching Search ends With a Fizzle. Was it a Good Choice? [POLL]

John L. Smith is returning to Arkansas to coach the Hogs during the 2012 season. It’s not the big time coach some of us were hoping for, but I guess it could be worse.

Elsa, Getty Sport

 

Smith left Arkansas to return to his Alma Matter, Weber State, back in January. His plan all along was to help them out for a short time then retire. Apparently, it was Smith who reached out to Jeff Long to offer his assistance if needed.

I’m kind of disappointed Long wasn’t able to work a deal with Gruden (and I know behind the scenes they have been discussing the possibility of him coming here), but I’ll support Smith for a year. One year. Long bought himself some time with this hire to find “his guy”.

Here are the positives:

First, Smith has experience as a head coach and he understands how to manage a team, handle the media, etc. He’s been coaching for over 40 years and has the experienc that guys like McGee or Traver Johnson or Paul Petrino just don’t have. (Let’s just hope he doesn’t have another Jim More moment.)

Next, he’s going to be more of a CEO than anything. He’s not going to come in and try to change up anything. The current staff will be left intact, the system in place won’t change. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what the Hogs best chance for success in 2012 is to keep things as consistent as possible.

Smith knows the program, the system, the assistants and players. He’s spent the last three years at Arkansas coaching special teams and working with the linebackers. All of the current players absolutely love and respect him and the assistant coaches all know him well.

Here are some Twitter comments from the players posted yesterday afternoon:

Knile Davis (boobie)‏ @Boobie_Knile
I dont care what anyone says.im 100% behind John L Smith.I’ll play for him any day of that week because hes a good man and coach 14-0 or 0-14

Ray Dominguez: “If you aren’t happy with that decision you clearly have no idea what goes on within those 4 walls..We loved John L and he loves his players”

Our assistants will still be able to stay on the recruiting trail. Had Johnson or Petrino been named interim head coach, they would have been limited in their contact with recruits. Naming an interim from outside of the program allows the assistants to continue what they’ve been doing as far as recruiting is concerned.

Finally, now Long can take his time and find Arkansas a solid, long-term, head coach without the fear of the 2012 campaign completely tanking due to a lack of leadership.

The Hogs and Smith have signed a 10 month deal worth 850,000. He’ll also be eligible for performance and academic achievement incentives.

Here’s his resume:  (Courtesy of UA Sports Information)

Dec. 2011 – April 2012 Weber State (Head Coach)
2009 – Dec. 2011 Arkansas (Special Teams Coor./Outside Linebackers)
2003-06 Michigan State (Head Coach)
1998-2002 Louisville (Head Coach)
1995-97 Utah State (Head Coach)
1989-94 Idaho (Head Coach)
1987-88 Washington State (Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator)
1986 Wyoming (Asst. Head Coach)
1982-85 Idaho (Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator)
1977-81 Nevada (Defensive Coordinator)
1972-76 Montana (Assistant Coach)
1971 Weber State (Graduate Assistant)

Birthdate: Nov. 15, 1948

Family: Wife, Diana; Children; Nicholas, Kayse and Sam

Education: Bonneville HS (Idaho Falls, Idaho), 1967; Weber State, B.S. in physical education, 1971; Montana, M.S. in physical education, 1974

Bowl Games: 2011 Sugar Bowl; 2010 Liberty Bowl; 2003 Alamo Bowl; 2002 GMAC Bowl; 2001 Liberty Bowl; 2000 Liberty Bowl; 1999 Humanitarian Bowl; 1998 Motor City Bowl; 1997 Humanitarian Bowl

 

The downside to this is, the national media is now pouncing all over Arkansas for this hire. I still think it was probably the best decision considering all the factors. I don’t care for the fact that Smith bailed on Weber State before even coaching a game there, but it’s hard to blame him for wanting to seize this opportunity.

What do you think? Be sure to post your thoughts below!


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