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Collen fired as Arkansas coach

By Matt Jones

This article was published March 7, 2014 at 2:53 p.m.


Arkansas coach Tom Collen directs his players during the second half of play against Mississippi State Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.

— Arkansas has fired Tom Collen as its women's basketball coach.

Collen spent seven seasons as head coach of the Razorbacks, who did not make it to the postseason this year. He finished his tenure at Arkansas with a 132-90 record overall, but was only 40-68 in SEC games.

"As part of a continuous and thoughtful evaluation of our women's basketball program and its future, I have come to the conclusion a change in leadership is appropriate for our program," Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said. "Our program has not made the progress necessary to position Razorback women's basketball to challenge for Southeastern Conference championships and consistently compete in the NCAA Tournament. The goals for our women's basketball program remain the same and we will conduct a search to identify a head coach who we believe can help us attain those goals.

"I want to thank Tom and his staff for their hard work and dedication to the Razorback program and to our women's basketball student-athletes. I am appreciative of their efforts on behalf of the University of Arkansas."

Under Collen, the Razorbacks advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and the WNIT four times. Arkansas went 19-11 in Collen's final season, including a 6-10 record in the SEC.

The Razorbacks lost 63-62 to Ole Miss in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday. Arkansas led that game by 10 points with less than five minutes remaining.

Collen had previous head coaching experience at Colorado State and Louisville prior to taking the Arkansas job. He had been an assistant coach with the Razorbacks in the 1990s under Gary Blair.

"I appreciate the opportunity that I have been given at the University of Arkansas and I'm disappointed my time here is coming to an end," Collen said. "I said when I was hired that coming to Arkansas was like coming home and I still believe that. I am grateful to Chancellors (Dave) Gearhart and John White, Jeff Long and Bev Lewis for the opportunity they gave me to return to the University of Arkansas and work with the women's basketball program.

"I am proud that I have poured my heart and soul into making this a great program. The people of the state of Arkansas deserve that. I know that the administration will work hard to secure a great coach and a great leader as they move forward. I wish the administration and, most importantly the players, the best of luck. I know they will be successful in the future."

Long said he will begin a national search for Collen's replacement immediately.


Comments on: Collen fired as Arkansas coach

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LevyRat says... March 7, 2014 at 3:13 p.m.

Never a happy time when you need to change coaches. Wish things would have turned out better, but I guess after 7 years we were not headed in the right direction.

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7 says... March 7, 2014 at 3:31 p.m.

This had to be done Tom Collen being fired. Jeff Long bring back Gary Blair!

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RBBrittain says... March 7, 2014 at 3:37 p.m.

Perhaps Jeff Long should have waited till after the NCAA & WNIT bids? He might have to hire an interim coach (or turn down any WNIT invite). Firing the coach too soon sounds like a Frank Broyles move -- though it wouldn't have happened then because the women were a separate department in his day and Bev Lewis wouldn't have done it that way. (The current single department is better, but IMO they shoulda kept "Lady Razorbacks" & "Lady'Backs" as names.)

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RBBrittain says... March 7, 2014 at 3:42 p.m.

@7: Trying to hire Gary Blair away from A&M would be only SLIGHTLY shy of hiring Nick Saban away from Alabama -- ain't gonna happen. (Not QUITE the same as going after Saban; that would be Geno Auriemma at UConn.)

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billyoddball says... March 7, 2014 at 3:50 p.m.

Who was responsible for letting Blair get away?

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RestoftheStory says... March 7, 2014 at 6:56 p.m.

How about Kim Mulkey at Baylor?

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tenpoint says... March 7, 2014 at 6:59 p.m.

Here we go again!!!!!! No good coach will ever come to Arkansas as long as long keeps firing coaches.Get a good coach and let him coach.

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cliffcarson says... March 7, 2014 at 6:59 p.m.

The best women's Basketball coach in Arkansas is Joe Foley at UALR. Offer him tonight or better yet, right now.

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centralhawg says... March 7, 2014 at 9:07 p.m.

Joe Foley is the best girl's couch in Arkansas. Go get him Long!

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aimee says... March 8, 2014 at 2:35 a.m.

I wish they would take half of what they pay coaches and use it to REALLY educate our young people..!!!! Throwing a ball through a hoop is not going to save the world..!!!

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