Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long (opening statement) -"Well thank you everyone for joining us here today. We have many members of our media and I want to thank you for being here with us a number of special guests. First I would like to recognize a few people with us. We have the president of our system Dr. Don Bobbitt. We also have with us our chancellor Dr. David Gearhart, the chairman of our Board of Trustees Mike Akin and I also know have trustee Jeff Hyneman and trustee Jane Rogers, as well as trustee Mark Waldrip. It's good to see all of our trustees today. None of you will know how excited I am to stand here today and introduce the next head football coach at the University of Arkansas. I want to share with you a little bit about our process. First of all, our chancellor, our president and our board of trustees were instrumental in this hiring process. Dr. Bobbitt, Dr. Gearhart and Mike Akin were supportive about the process and they kept our other Board of Trustees members on board and informed throughout the process. They provided great advice and counsel. They were very supportive. They were engaged and they encouraged me throughout this process. When we started in this process I told them there are ups and downs and backs and forths and many reports that are unfounded and untrue. The fan base will be excited and nervous and all of those things. This one is particularly interesting because it went on for eight months. Our trustees have been so supportive. I will tell you the thing that meant the most to me was that they entrusted me to carry out the process. That trust is everything. While I kept them informed they allowed me to do my job and that's all an athletic director asks of those above him."I am deeply appreciative of their support. I also want to thank a couple of people on my staff, Senior Associate (Athletic Director) Jon Fagg. Jon was critical to the success of this process and supported me throughout. I also have the support of the CFO Clayton Hamilton and our Associate AD for Academics Eric Wood. They were a very important part of this process throughout. Last April when we began this process I talked about the characteristics we were looking for and it was someone who shared the passion and success that our fans do and is willing to work tirelessly to achieve those goals. It would be someone who embraces the high expectations to win an SEC championship and a national championship. It would be someone who has discipline and accountability in their program, both on the field and in the classroom. It would also be someone who would lead our student-athletes and coaches with honesty and integrity and class on and off the field and, finally, someone who embraced the passion of football and embraced the passion of this fan base and what it means to all of us throughout the state of Arkansas. There is no question that the new head football coach embodies all of these characteristics. I'm proud to say that the coach we are introducing to the Razorback Nation today meets all of those expectations and has a football resume that includes five New Year's Day Bowl games, three Rose Bowls, two Big Ten championships and he has done this all in seven years and all before the ripe old age of 43. Just as important, he also brings the commitment of impacting the lives of the student-athletes he works with. His most recent APR was a 975, 50 points above the 925 benchmark. He also, over the last three years, has had 60 Academic All-Big Ten football selections on his team. He has a style of physical football that has led to some of the most dominating defenses in the country, an offense that begins with winning at the line of scrimmage and includes a balanced offensive approach. You also see that balanced offensive approach can produce some 70 points as he did last week in the Big Ten Championship Game. He is a coach who has won the right way both on and off the field. He is a coach that deeply values his relationships with student-athletes, and that means a great deal to me. Before I introduce our new head football coach I would like to introduce another new member of our team and that's his wonderful wife Jen. This afternoon I am very proud to be the athletic director of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks as we officially introduce the 32nd head football coach of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, Bret Bielema."
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