Arkansas Hits a Home Run with Smith Hire

Arkansas Hits a Home Run with Smith Hire

We're not even to May yet, but Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long gets the early vote for Administrator of the Year in college football.

Long did the right thing – even though it was the hard thing – when he fired super-successful coach Bobby Petrino. Long handled that difficult duty with enough fortitude and passion that it turned fan disappointment and anger into pride in the institution. Big-money donations immediately flowed in after Long deposed his duplicitous coach.

Now Long has backed that up with a smart hire in John L. Smith as Petrino's short-term replacement. Not a sexy hire, but a smart one.

The Arkansas fans wildly wishing for one of the Usual Untouchable Suspects – Jon Gruden, Steve Mariucci, the ghost of Bear Bryant – may not love it. The Arkansas fans wildly wishing for one of the Unusual Suspects – Sean Payton or a current head coach at a powerhouse program – will be disappointed. But the Arkansas fans who want what's best for both a very talented 2012 team and the future will indeed be happy with John L. He's the best available man for the job.

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