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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Cromer Peoples, interim athletic director for the University of Arkansas, talks about the decision to fire Arkansas coach Bret Bielema following a Razorbacks NCAA college football game against Missouri, Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods) ( Associated Press )

When it comes to athletics, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Chancellor Joe Steinmetz is arrogant, oblivioius or doesn't realize he is not at Ohio State University anymore.

Coaches line up to work at Ohio State.

At Arkansas, coaches have to be recruited, properly vetted and passionate about all things Razorbacks. And it didn't get easier with the way the UA treated Bret Bielema.

Transparency with the Razorback Nation is a must.

Friday night at a news conference, interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples said she made the decision to fire Bret Bielema after consulting with Steinmetz. She claimed the decision wasn't made until after the loss to Missouri, and it was done immediately so the players who were about to scatter all over the region wouldn't find out through a phone call or social media post.

Bielema had just finished the postgame prayer when he was summoned out of the locker room and fired. Needless to say, it was a shameful way to treat a coach and the national media ripped the UA for hours.

Bielema deserved better because he did nothing to embarrass the UA, which couldn't wait 12 hours to fire him.

As for the players, it is highly doubtful they were going anywhere. The Thanksgiving holiday was half over, and they have classes Monday.

The news conference in Barnhill Arena had been set up hours before Cromer Peoples appeared at 7:42 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. meeting with the media.

It was as self-serving of a news conference as experienced in 38 years of writing columns about the Razorbacks.

This column has nothing to do with gender, just what Cromer Peoples said. If a guy had made the same statements a couple of hours after the football coach was fired, the exact same column would have been written. Any person who seems to have an agenda deserves scrutiny.

Not only did she take credit for firing Bielema but she also said she would be on the point for hiring the next head coach; that it wasn't important to have an athletic director, although the UA did with her; that she had a vast network she would consult with; and there would be NO search committee.

That last statement was questioned not once, not twice but three times by the media, maybe more by the board of trustees.

Apparently Cromer Peoples thinks the AD job is important enough to have an advisory committee and the head coaching job isn't, which is a totally alien way of thinking in the world of college football.

Football fans don't spend money and gather 72,000 strong to watch an AD operate, but they do to see a coach win, which is why Bielema was fired -- he didn't win enough games.

Cromer Peoples said she had experience in coaching searches, citing the fact she was on the search committee at Indiana when it hired Kevin Wilson.

Indiana is a basketball school and a football dumpster fire, and Wilson resigned in December after claims of player abuse. He had a 26-47 overall record and 17-37 mark in the Big Ten.

Friday night's well-planned news conference -- her opening statement truly was brilliant with five references to Bielema, four times she used "I" and 10 times "our" or "we" -- made it seem that Steinmetz has performed a campuswide search for an AD and settled on Cromer Peoples.

It was the impression she left with several well-respected journalists.

Educated doesn't always mean smart about all things, and what Cromer Peoples and Steinmetz need to understand is the Arkansas Razorbacks do not belong to them. They are not a toy. They are a program that belongs to the Razorback Nation.

Sports on 11/26/2017

Print Headline: Steinmetz, Cromer Peoples causes for concern


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Archived Comments

  • JPRoland
    November 26, 2017 at 9:54 a.m.

    I read your column every time, Wally, but I sometimes think you cut the UA a little too much slack and can sometimes come across a little too, "Homer." But, this article is different. Thank you for shooting straight on this because some of us have had similar thoughts. Good job, Wally.

  • larry72032
    November 26, 2017 at 10:25 a.m.

    Thanks Wally for expressing some of our views. The Razorback Nation is not a board room, nor on the flip side a nation of the ruler's servants, but can recognize an egotist and power manipulator when we see one. I don't know why Jeff Long is gone, but Im betting we know at least one reason. BB's time was up at Arkansas without a doubt, but we have never had a more genuine, straight up guy as our Head Coach. He didn't win games like we wanted, but I believe he was running a program like we wanted. He was and will be a winner as a human being, as a mentor to young men in every good way, and he will be a winning football coach somewhere, soon. But the greatest concern of all is that this one person, and someone above, somehow believe they can single handedly recruit and hire our next Razorback Head Coach. I really resent the arrogant , and ignorant opinion of anyone who thinks that way, let alone someone who has about as much experience as any third level person coming from Indiana would have. They way BB was fired is a testament to being totally out of touch with what we need in an AD or the "point person" in charge of hiring our new coach. Bret didn't deserve to be embarrassed, humiliated and castigated in the way he was. There is a way to handle a high level, nationally noticed, termination of a good man. Cromer-Peoples had not a clue where she was or what she was doing. I will be really skeptical of the choice we may see. Time will tell.

  • RBBrittain
    November 26, 2017 at 10:26 a.m.

    That's exactly what I felt, Wally -- and I regularly disagree with you. If we're hiring an AD *and* a coach at the same time (I still disagree with Jeff Long's firing but that's history), they should be hired by the *same* search committee, with AD candidates at least putting in their two cents on the coaching vacancy. Otherwise, you run the risk of an obvious disaster like Houston Nutt as AD vs. Gus Malzahn as coach (though Gus' Iron Bowl victory stopped that one). That is, unless Steinmetz (possibly on behalf of President Bobbitt & the BOT) is pulling the strings behind both the search committee & Cromer Peoples, and already knows who he wants; if so, why the charade?

  • DEE672
    November 26, 2017 at 10:33 a.m.

    OH Wally, you and your troop of sexists are so 1950's . News is women are perfectly capable of executive decisions and she can surely do better than Long did in hiring BB who was a disaster no matter how many times he prayed before and after his games. God doesn't care and is surely not on the payroll.

  • HarleyOwner
    November 26, 2017 at 12:41 p.m.

    Bielema needed to go but, they could have done it a little better. No class what so ever in the way it was done.

  • Delta2
    November 26, 2017 at 12:42 p.m.

    I'll say this for Wally...he's certainly going against his usual grain these days, and it is refreshing.

  • RP57
    November 26, 2017 at 2:40 p.m.

    Except for Dee, this column and comments are full of misogynism and sexism. Broyles ran off Holtz and Hatfield. He then hired Crowe and Nutt. Then Long lucked into Petrino. After that, he hired Bielema based on a love letter BB wrote and gave him an unwarranted extension/increaesed buyout after the 2015 season. I have more confidence in JCP making this decision instead of the aforementioned idiots.

  • jjordan
    November 26, 2017 at 3:03 p.m.

    Her claim to fame is "participating" in the hiring of Kevin Wilson for the powerhouse Hoosier football team which was a disaster. We need a thorough effort for a coach and not some power trip. If she were a man, the same concerns apply. Our Razorbacks are more important than this train wreck.

  • NoUserName
    November 26, 2017 at 3:06 p.m.

    Speaking of aforementioned idiots, look in the mirror perhaps. Not every negative comment about JCP is akin to misogyny or sexism. Harley's surely wasn't. And the fact is, you do a major disservice by equating them as such.

  • Delta2
    November 26, 2017 at 3:14 p.m.

    Better get on the stick with your coaching search, Piggies...Florida is about to nab Dan Mullen from State. That means there could be three other mid- to lower-level SEC West teams looking for a head coach. He who hesitates is lost.