January 13, 1970 |
|Alma mater||University of Iowa|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|2002–2003||Kansas State (Co-DC)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|3 Big Ten (2010–2012)
1 Big Ten Leaders Division (2011)
|Big Ten Coach of the Year (2006)|
Bret Arnold Bielema (//; born January 13, 1970) is an American college football coach and current head coach at Arkansas. Bielema previously served as head coach at Wisconsin, a position he held from 2006 to 2012, achieving a 68–24 record.
Bielema played college football as a defensive lineman at Iowa under coach Hayden Fry from 1989 to 1992, serving as team captain his senior season. After receiving a scholarship his sophomore year, he got a tattoo of Iowa's Tiger Hawk logo on his left calf. Bielema graduated from Iowa with a bachelor's degree in marketing.
Bielema then returned to the University of Iowa, serving as an assistant coach from 1993 to 2001. He then became the co-defensive coordinator for Kansas State University from 2002 to 2003. He took the same position at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2004. Barry Alvarez, in his capacity as Wisconsin's athletic director, selected Bielema to succeed him as head coach when he announced his retirement from coaching in 2005.
In his first season as head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers in 2006, Bielema's team ended the regular season 11–1 (7–1 in Big Ten Conference play). With a 14–0 victory over the San Diego State on September 16, 2006, Bielema became the third Wisconsin head coach to win the first three games of his career. Later, with a 24–3 win over Purdue on October 21, Bielema tied the record for most wins by a first-year coach at UW with seven. The other two coaches to complete this feat were Philip King in 1896 and William Juneau in 1912. A 30–24 victory over the Fighting Illini on October 28, Bielema became the first coach in Wisconsin history to win eight games in his first season. He then extended the record with his ninth victory on November 4, defeating the Penn State Nittany Lions, 13–3. With a 24–21 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes on November 11, Bielema became the first head coach in Big Ten history to win ten games in his first season. With the 35–3 defeat of the University at Buffalo on November 18, 2006, Bielema became the first coach in UW history to win 11 games in the regular season. After a 17–14 victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2007, he became the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season, finishing 12–1.
Bielema coached Wisconsin to victories in 17 of his first 18 games. That represents the second-best start to a head coaching career in Big Ten history. Only Michigan's Fielding H. Yost, who went 55–0–1 from 1901 to 1905, had a better beginning to a career.
On October 16, 2010, Bielema's Badgers defeated #1-ranked Ohio State, 31–18, in Madison. It was Wisconsin's first victory over a #1-ranked team since 1981 when the Badgers upset Michigan. The victory against the Buckeyes would be his only one as he was 1-5 against Ohio State.
Bielema was named a finalist for the 2010 Bear Bryant Award which is given to college football's Coach of the Year. The other finalists are Chris Ault of Nevada, Gene Chizik of Auburn, Mark Dantonio of Michigan State, Jim Harbaugh of Stanford, Chip Kelly of Oregon, Gary Patterson of TCU, Bobby Petrino of Arkansas and Mike Sherman of Texas A&M.
After leaving Wisconsin, some Wisconsin and Big Ten fans who were upset with Bielema's decision began using the nickname "Bert" to disparagingly reference him.
On December 4, 2012, it was announced that Bielema was leaving Wisconsin to become the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Bielema replaced John L. Smith, who had coached Arkansas to a 4-8 record during the 2012 season after Bobby Petrino had been fired eight months earlier.
Bielema's first season at Arkansas resulted in an overall record of 3-9, including 0-8 in the Southeastern Conference. It was the Razorbacks' worst SEC mark since entering the league in 1992 and their first winless in-conference season since 1942, when they were a member of the Southwest Conference.
Bielema's second season saw him improve on his first season, as Arkansas finished 7-6. Bielema won his first two SEC games in dominating fashion in November, beating #17 LSU 17-0 and #8 Ole Miss 30-0 to achieve bowl eligibility, though Arkansas lost its remaining conference game against Missouri, making the Razorbacks the first unranked team in college football history to shut out two consecutive ranked opponents.
Head coaching record
|Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Conference) (2006–2012)|
|2006||Wisconsin||12–1||7-1||T–2nd||W Capital One||5||7|
|2008||Wisconsin||7–6||3–5||T–6th||L Champs Sports|
|2009||Wisconsin||10–3||5–3||T–4th||W Champs Sports||16||16|
|2011||Wisconsin||11–3||6–2||1st (Leaders)||L Rose†||11||10|
|Wisconsin:||68–24||37–19||‡Did not coach bowl game.|
|Arkansas Razorbacks (Southeastern Conference) (2013–present)|
|2014||Arkansas||7–6||2–6||7th (Western)||W Texas|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|†Indicates Bowl Coalition, Bowl Alliance, BCS, or CFP / New Years' Six bowl.
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
*Ohio State was the Big Ten Leaders Division champion, but third place Wisconsin represented the division in the Big Ten Championship Game due to the fact that Ohio State and second place Penn State were both ineligible from post-season play by the NCAA.
‡Bielema left for Arkansas before the bowl game and the ranking reflects the team's ranking at the time of Bielema's departure.
- Uncovering Bret Bielema's not-so-hidden Hawkeye past - Dr. Saturday - NCAAF Blog - Yahoo! Sports
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- "BIG TEN NOTEBOOK; Bielema quietly has superb first year". Minneapolis Star-Tribune – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). November 17, 2006. Retrieved 2012-12-04.
- UW Earns First-Ever 11-Win Regular Season
- [dead link]
- Bret Bielema, head coach of Wisconsin Badgers, accepts position to coach Arkansas Razorbacks - source - ESPN
- University To Introduce New Coach Bielema Wednesday | 5NEWSOnline.com — Ft. Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville News & Weather from KFSM and KXNW Television
- Mulhern, Tom (April 1, 2011). "UW football: Bielema announces engagement". Host.madison.com. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
- "For Bielema family, toughness a trait passed from mother to son". UWBadgers.com. Retrieved November 2, 2011.