By Nate Allen
Special to the News-Times
FAYETTEVILLE - The buyout agreement between the Razorback Foundation and fired University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema has reached an accord, the Razorback Foundation announced Tuesday.
Arkansas’ football coach since Dec. 2012 starting the 2013 season, Bielema was fired after the Razorbacks’ completed their 4-8 season losing to Missouri the day after Thanksgiving, but with money owed from a buyout agreement negotiated by former athletic director Jeff Long.
Under the buyout announced by the Razorback Foundation, Bielema is eligible to receive up to $11.935 million in installments roughly $320,800 per month.
“Having completed this agreement, I am pleased to move forward in my career and am excited about the future,” Bielema was quoted in Tuesday’s release.
Razorback Foundation Executive Director Scott Varady also was quoted.
"Both parties worked in good faith to complete this agreement,” Varady said.
Long, who was Arkansas’ athletic director since 2008, was fired earlier in November and replaced on an interim basis by senior associate athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples. She headed the search that led to the hiring of new Arkansas football coach Chad Morris.
Hunter Yurachek was hired as Arkansas’ new athletic director just two days before Morris was officially hired.
Bielema was hired at Arkansas after a spectacular 68-24 record with three Big Ten championships coaching the Wisconsin Badgers from 2006-2012.
He took over an Arkansas program that had crashed to 4-8 in 2012 under interim coach John L. Smith after the scandal regarding the violation of UA hiring practices unraveled upon the motorcycle crash of eventually fired coach Bobby Petrino.
Bielema’s first Razorbacks team struggled at 3-9, including 0-8 in the SEC, but improved steadily to be 7-6 and 5-3 overall in 2014 and 2015 with 2-6 and 5-3 SEC seasons capped in 2014 by a Texas Bowl victory in Houston over the Texas Longhorns and in 2015 by a Liberty Bowl victory in Memphis over Kansas State.
Bielema’s 2016 Razorbacks were 7-4 and leading Missouri 20-7 at half, but lost 28-24. Arkansas also led Virginia Tech 24-0 at halftime in the Belk Bowl at Charlotte, N.C., but floundered again in the second half and lost 35-24.
It seemed Bielema’s regime never quite recovered from the blowout second halves of the 7-6, 3-5 in the SEC 2016, as their 4-8 campaign included a 1-7 SEC record.