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story.lead_photo.caption University of Arkansas chancellor Joseph Steinmetz is shown in this August file photo.

With Chancellor Joe Steinmetz's advisory committee meeting today, it appears the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville will have an athletic director by the end of the week and a head football coach early next week.

His advisory committee has the obligatory UA staff members -- people whose employment is determined by Steinmetz and probably enough votes to back whoever Steinmetz wants. He made it clear he would have the final say when he named an advisory committee. It seems he might still be a bit upset for being forced to fire Jeff Long.

The advisory committee also includes UA graduates who are not on the school payroll: Bill Montgomery, Rick Massey, Ben Hyneman and Stacy Lewis. Together, they are qualified to be more of a selection committee.

The main thing is everyone finally realizes the need for speed, and an athletic director needs to be named before a head coach can be hired.

Whoever is hired needs to immediately start looking at possible head coaches because the Razorback Nation is uneasy and has been for weeks. The fans want and deserve stability.

More than likely, the vetting of possible head coaches has begun.

Applications for the athletic director opening still should be coming in, but with the Dec. 20 early football signing period just around the corner, Steinmetz needs to get it right, and right now.

The UA board of trustees and UA System President Donald Bobbitt need to be monitoring this closely. It is a critical hire at a critical time.

This is not like hiring an art teacher or business professor.

This is the person who should have the final say in the hiring of the next football coach, and football is the cash cow, so it needs to be a person who knows how to win games, graduate players and influence friends.

This athletic director has to quickly identify the pirates, playboys and politicians, then separate them from the coaches who are willing to work as hard at recruiting as Nick Saban.

Someone who will call Alabama and find out the truth about why Lane Kiffin was fired and see the pattern. Kiffin was fired from three of his past five jobs, and he abandoned Tennessee after one year.

Or maybe Kiffin's name is just a smokescreen and there's no need to worry about him in the same sentence as the Razorbacks.

An athletic director who will find out if there is a reason Mike Gundy is still at Oklahoma State.

Arkansas is not a steppingstone job. It should be a destination job, but it has to be obvious to everyone now that a quality coach is not taking the job without knowing who he is working for and that the athletic director has what it takes to help the coach find success.

The athletic director needs to recognize trouble areas and work with the coach to fix them.

A football program is not just a head coach; it is a team with strong leadership starting at the top.

Jeff Long did a lot of things right as the athletic director, but he's gone and not coming back (sorry Steinmetz, just the truth).

The next coach needs to adopt the state and especially Northwest Arkansas. Bielema did that, and he knew the passion of the fans, but in the last few weeks he talked about needing to win.

It is highly doubtful Saban could win more than four or five games at Arkansas next year -- although all nonconference games are winnable -- but the coach who is hired needs to be ready to work 24-7 to build a stronger foundation.

The new athletic director has to work with that person to understand the Razorback Nation like Bielema did, but win more games.

Sports on 11/28/2017

Print Headline: AD hire crucial before naming new coach


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Archived Comments

  • drs01
    November 28, 2017 at 7:28 a.m.

    Steinmetz seems to be the real problem. He's not a business person, or even a sports minded one. He failed to see the flaws in Jeff Long until the Board read him the riot act. His interim AD has casts many doubts on this hiring process. She came across as "wonder women" but has nothing in her background to suggest she is one. These two clowns make me speculate that maybe they will end up with a female AD or head coach. If Hillary couldn't break the glass ceiling......maybe these two will.
    This is what happened when you have limited controls over people who know how to spend other people's money.

  • GeneralMac
    November 28, 2017 at 9:25 a.m.

    EXCELLENT column, Wally !

    Spot on with everything you wrote !

    Glad to see someone " gets it" in regards to understanding the situation.

  • Delta2
    November 28, 2017 at 9:34 a.m.

    Sorry Wally, but UAF is a "steppingstone job", like it or not. After being fairly unbiased lately, you've slipped back a bit into rah rah mode today. Tighten up.

  • TexBack
    November 28, 2017 at 11:10 a.m.

    drs01 I agree with you 100%. Steinmetz and Peoples have no idea what it's like to grow up living and dying each week with the performance of the Razorbacks. They didn't camp out for days to buy tickets to see Sutton's hogs in Barnhill. They don't know what it was like to experience the highs of the '64 hogs or the win over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. They never carried a goal post from Razorback Stadium to Dickson Street. They do not know how devastating it was to lose to Texas in 1969. Or to Indiana State in 1979. And how much it still hurts today. They can't tell you where they were or how exciting it was when US Reed hit his shot or Decori Birmingham caught that pass. In fact, would they even know what I'm referencing? For that "Interim" AD to get up there on Friday and talk about "I've done this" and "I'm in charge of that" literally made me sick. We have too much history, success and pride to see these two individuals leading this effort. The BOT needs to drop the hammer immediately on these two if they haven't already. With the likes of Bill Montgomery, Ken Hatfield, Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson, Butch Davis, etc., we have plenty of knowledgeable and respected people that could advise or assist in this process. At least they've "held" a football. And let's hope the new AD cleans house on about half this department's overhead. We don't have enough money in this state to afford an overpaid staff of administrators. The house cleaning process has begun. Keep it going!

  • RBBrittain
    November 28, 2017 at 5:34 p.m.

    That's how it ought to be, Wally, but it doesn't look that way: Cromer Peoples is hiring the coach with little or no input from anyone involved in the search for her future boss (assuming she stays on). Her problem is NOT her gender, but the same problem JLS had: She's an interim. She basically told the world -- including both coach *and* AD candidates -- that as far as our coach is concerned it doesn't matter who the AD is. If so, then WHY did we fire Long? It woulda been a lot easier to have Long fire Bielema (even on Steinmetz's personal orders), hire the coach, then quietly let Long go in the offseason.

  • jmg1232
    November 29, 2017 at 2:43 p.m.

    Steinmetz should make Cromer-Peoples the new permanent AD with a 20 million dollar buyout. Then Wally will have to squirm.