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NCAA Football Coaching Carousel: Bielema to Arkansas, Malzahn Returns to Auburn, Hazell to Purdue

With NCAA teams seeing their seasons end thanks to non-appearances in bowl games, it’s time to look ahead to the 2013 season and what a better place to start than with a new coach.

On Tuesday, the SEC grabbed coaches from other conferences to fill some vacancies with Arkansas taking Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema while Gus Malzahn returned and took his former boss’ job at Auburn.

As things happen in threes, Purdue hired Kent State’s Darrell Hazell.

Bielema Heads South to Arkansas 

Bret Bielema

After seven years as the Badger’s head coach, Bielema is ready to leave the mediocre Big Ten conference and play with the big boys of the SEC conference. They say change is good and Bielema will find change at Arkansas.

The once competitive Razorbacks had a year of turmoil after firing its well-liked coach Bobby Petrino this spring after a poor decision and hiring John L. Smith for the season as head coach. He led the team to a lowly 4-8 record and at the season’s end, learned his Arkansas career was over.

Bielema is 68-24 with the Badgers and has taken them to three straight Rose Bowls (2013 will be No. 3 and maybe third time will be the charm for a win).

The bettors think Wisconsin will remain winless in Pasadena with Stanford at -6.5 with a 47.5 over/under.

Bielema will bring a coaching style that utilizes big offensive linemen and running backs (see Montee Ball and James White) while Arkansas was used to a passing game under Petrino.

In a statement by Bielema noting the differences from a conversation with Arkansas’ AD, he said via AP, “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.”

Malzahn Returns to Auburn

Gus Malzahn

Welcome back Gus and nice job on taking your former boss’ job!

From 2009-2011 Malzahn was Auburn’s offensive coordinator. This past season he gave head coaching and paid his dues a try at Arkansas State and found great success. He led the team to a 9-3 record and a Sun Belt conference championship.

The team will end its season in the GoDaddy.com Bowl against Kent State and it could grab one more win at -4.5 with a 61 over/under on Jan. 6, 2013.

For the season, Arkansas State ranked No. 17 nationally for total offense (481.8 yards) and tied for No. 21 in scoring (36.4).

Malzahn has a spread, no-huddle offense that worked well for former quarterback Cam Newton. In 2010, Auburn won the national championship under his offense.

Auburn coach Gene Chizek was fired by Auburn on Nov. 25 after a dismal 3-9 season.

In a statement by Auburn AD Jay Jacobs, he said of Malzahn in a statement, “We are tremendously excited that Gus Malzahn will be our next head football coach. Coach Malzahn was the clear unanimous choice of our search committee, and I am pleased that Dr. Gogue has accepted our recommendation. This is a great day for Auburn football and Auburn University.”

Hazell’s Back in the Big Ten

Darrell Hazell

After Cincinnati’s head coach Butch Jones supposedly said no thanks to the school, Kent State’s Hazell said yes and will head to Purdue.

This season, Hazell led his team to an 11-2 record (8-0 MAC) and and a berth in the GoDaddy bowl. He was also named the MAC Conference’s Coach of the Year by leading Kent State to a winning season–one not seen since 2001.

At one point this season, the Golden Flashes sat at No. 17 in the BCS–a school best–but lost to Northern Illinois 44-37 in double OT last Friday in the MAC Championship Game.

Hazell is no stranger to the Big Ten. From 2005 to 2010, he served as Ohio State’s wide receivers coach.

In his two-year tenure as Kent State’s head coach, he was 16-9. Hazell will replace Purdue’s Danny Hope who went 22-27 in his four-year stay.



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