He replaces John L. Smith, who was let go as head coach of the Razorbacks on November 24th, after serving seven months of his 10-month contract at Arkansas. Smith took over for Bobby Petrino after serving three seasons on Arkansas coaching staff.
The new coach would take over a Razorback team coming off a 4-8 season including a 2-6 record in SEC play.
The Arkansas Razorbacks had great success under Petrino, winning 21 games between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Under Petrino, the Razorbacks were 34-17, including 2-1 in bowl games, in four seasons. The Razorbacks returned 17 starters for the 2012 season, leading some to believe they would be National Title contenders in Petrino's fifth season.
But the season turned in a different direction on April 1st when Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident in Madison County, near Crosses.
Petrino said he had been on the bike by himself on multiple occasions, including a news conference on the U of A campus.
A few days after the news conference, an Arkansas State Police accident report revealed Petrino had been riding with a passenger, former Arkansas All-SEC volleyball player Jessica Dorrell.
After the report was released Petrino admitted to an "inappropriate relationship" with Dorrell, who he had just hired to a position on his staff in a recruiting role. Petrino was placed on administative leave by Athletic Director Jeff Long.
On April 10th, Long fired Petrino with cause, saying that Petrino "engaged in a pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff, both before and after the motorcycle accident."
In the news conference announcing Petrino's firing, Long revealed that Petrino had paid Dorrell $20,000 cash and used his influence to ensure that she was hired from an applicant pool of 159 people for a position on the football coaching staff.
On April 23rd, Long surprised many by hiring former Arkansas Special Teams Coordinator and Linebackers coach John L. Smith to take over the Arkansas Football team as interim head coach. Smith was signed to a 10-month contract worth $850,000. Smith left his alma mater months after taking over as head coach at Weber State.
The rocky season began with a win over FCS opponent Jacksonville State. It quickly took a turn with an overtime loss to Louisiana-Monroe in Little Rock after starting quarterback Tyler Wilson was knocked out of action in the first half.
The losing streak continued as Arkansas lost four straight, including embarrassing losses to Alabama (52-0), Rutgers (35-26) and Texas A&M (58-10). Arkansas finally picked up a win on the road at Auburn, then at home against Kentucky, before losing another game in Little Rock to Ole Miss. The final win of the season came a week later against Tulsa in Fayetteville.
The season came to an end with three straight losses, giving the Razorbacks the first eight-loss season since 1990.
Click here for more of The Razorback Nation's coverage on the new coach in our special Bielema section.