Coach Bielema contract extended to 2020, annual pay average at $4.25 million
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A two-year contract extension has Razorback Football Coach Bret Bielema with the program through December 2020, with average annual pay during the period being $4.25 million, University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long announced Saturday (Feb. 7).
As part of the extension of his original employment agreement, Bielema received an increase to his annual compensation, which is paid through a combination of non-taxpayer funds generated by the athletic department and private gift support from the Razorback Foundation. Under the terms of the new arrangement, Bielema’s compensation will be $4 million in 2015 with $100,000 increases in each subsequent year. Additionally, Bielema will now be eligible for athletic and academic achievement incentives totaling up to $1 million per year.
“Coach Bret Bielema is not only one of the best college football coaches in the nation, he is an outstanding leader,” Long said in a statement. “What Coach Bielema and his coaching staff have done for our young men, on and off the field, is something that has dramatically changed the course of our program and most importantly positively impacted the lives of our football student-athletes. He is building a championship program in a way that all Arkansans can be proud of. We look forward to his continued leadership of our football program and the many successes yet to come.”
Entering his third season as the Razorbacks’ head coach in 2015, Bielema is credited with the Razorbacks being one of the nation’s most improved teams. Arkansas finished the 2014 season with a 7-6 record, including a 31-7 victory over Texas in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl. It was the Razorbacks’ first winning season since 2011.
In 2014, Arkansas’ balanced rushing attack produced the only pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the nation. Jonathan Williams ranked fourth in the SEC with 1,190 yards and Alex Collins finished fifth in the league, rushing for 1,100 yards. Quarterback Brandon Allen, a two-year starter under Bielema, enters his senior season with 34 career touchdown passes, sixth-most in school history.
The Razorbacks had the SEC’s most improved defense last season, holding opponents to only 19.2 points per game on average after allowing 32.3 points per game in 2013. The 11.9 point improvement ranked seventh nationally.
Also, the Razorbacks became the first unranked team in college football history to shut out back-to-back ranked opponents after blanking No. 20 LSU and No. 8 Ole Miss.
The UA statement also noted Bielema’s work to improve player skills off the field. The Arkansas football program had a program-record 32 student-athletes named to the SEC All-Academic team for the Fall 2014 semester. The team also posted its highest grade point average ever for the fall semester in 2014.
“Every day since we arrived in Fayetteville, we have worked with our coaches and student-athletes on building something special here at the University of Arkansas,” Bielema said. “We have assembled another great staff and recruiting class to help us continue to move forward in the SEC West. My wife and I love Arkansas and the tremendous support the Razorbacks receive throughout the entire state.”