Arkansas hires firms to aid search for AD, coach
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas will use two firms to search for its athletic director and football coach.
The school announced the hiring of Korn Ferry and DHR International on Tuesday, two weeks after Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz fired athletic director Jeff Long — and less than a week after interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples fired coach Bret Bielema.
Steinmetz met Tuesday with a seven-person advisory committee charged with aiding in the search for an athletic director. He said Korn Ferry will be used to help contact, reference and vet final candidates for the position.
“The search for an athletics director is progressing quickly, and there are a number of talented individuals we are considering,” Steinmetz said. “We understand speed is of the essence, and we are working to name a new leader as quickly as possible.”
The school also said DHR International would work with Cromer Peoples in the search for a football coach. She fired Bielema on Friday night after a season-ending loss to Missouri.
Bielema had a 29-34 record in his five seasons with the Razorbacks, including a mark of 11-29 in the Southeastern Conference. Arkansas is 32-43 overall in its last six seasons since the firing of scandal-ridden former coach Bobby Petrino, the school’s worst six-year stretch since it went 22-38 from 1948-52.
Cromer Peoples said recently she was running point on the search for his replacement. That comes despite her title of interim athletic director and speculation the school’s Board of Trustees was actively involved in the decision to fire both Long and Bielema.
On Tuesday, she said she started working with DHR International over the weekend in the search for a new football coach. Last week, Cromer Peoples said the new coach would need to understand the “culture” at Arkansas — leading many to believe the school is looking to hire someone with ties to either the university or state.
“With the number of vacant coaching positions in our league and around the nation, it is important that we move forward expeditiously and efficiently in finding the next head football coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks,” Cromer Peoples said Tuesday.
Long’s firing came after nearly 10 years at Arkansas, and it came a week after he attended a Board of Trustees meeting in Little Rock. He wasn’t invited to a back room when the board went into executive session, though Steinmetz talked with the board for more than an hour in that executive session.
Bielema had much praise for his time at Arkansas after his firing on Friday night, though he did take a swipe at the Board of Trustees.
“My only wish is that people that ultimately pulled this trigger, I wish I would have known who they are, been around them a little bit and wish they could see how we work and how we do things,” Bielema said.
Cromer Peoples said last week it’s not necessary to have “a permanent AD in order to make an offer” to a football coach.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to DHK International on first reference. It is DHR International, as it appeared elsewhere in the story.
Follow Kurt Voigt on Twitter @Kurt_Voigt_AP