Arkansas plans to “move on from” head coach Bret Bielema after the season, according to SBNation‘s update of several notable college football coaching searches. The Razorbacks will reportedly fire Bielema after the season ends, but it remains to be seen exactly how long they will wait, whether it’s right after the game or in the days afterward.
Malzahn is reportedly interested in returning to his home state of Arkansas, but “status might depend on this week’s Iron Bowl,” according to the report.
Memphis’ Mike Norvell is also expected to be a candidate for the position, as his success in the region is expected to be considered a positive to boosters, according to SBNation.
On Friday, Sports Illustrated‘s Bruce Feldman reported that Malzahn was reportedly Arkansas brass’ top choice to replace Bielema next season.
“Earlier this week Arkansas canned athletic director Jeff Long, and multiple sources tell SI that in the wake of a dismal season for fifth-year coach Bret Bielema things have really gotten messy with Razorbacks’ brass,” Feldman wrote. “Big-money boosters at Arkansas and members of the university’s board of trustees have been pushing for the Razorbacks to go after Auburn coach Gus Malzahn to be their next head coach. Malzahn, an Arkansas native, high school coach and former Razorbacks assistant under Houston Nutt, has rallied the Tigers back into playoff contention this season and is coming off a big win over No. 1 Georgia in Week 11.”
Arkansas currently has a 4-7 overall record and is 1-6 in conference play. Coach Bret Bielema has a 29-33 record at the school and is 11-28 in conference play.
Malzahn, who previously coached at Arkansas State, is 53-23 as a head coach — including 44-20 (24-15 SEC) during five seasons at Auburn — and had the Tigers ranked No. 6 in last week’s College Football Playoff rankings.