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MADISON - Bret Bielema won't have to change windbreakers, but he is changing conferences.
In a shocking decision, BadgerNation has confirmed that Bielema will leave the University of Wisconsin after seven seasons to take over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Named the conference coach of the year in his first season in 2006, Bielema is 68-24 in seven seasons at Wisconsin. He was Bary Alvarez's hand-picked successor. An Iowa graduate, Bielema has never coached in the SEC, having spent time coaching at Iowa and Kansas State before coming to Wisconsin.
Bielema led Wisconsin to three 11-win seasons, took Wisconsin to a bowl game in all seven seasons and was ranked in the Associated Press top 10 during five of his seven seasons, including three seasons in the top five.
The move was the second stunning hire at Arkansas, which brought in John L. Smith after firing Bobby Petrino earlier this year after a scandal in which Petrino hired his mistress to work in the football department.
Arkansas was 21-5 the last two seasons, but went 4-8 this season under Smith. Athletic director Jeff Long announced after the season that Smith would not return.
The move comes three days after Wisconsin (8-5) upset No.12 Nebraska, 70-31, to win its third straight conference championship, and raises more than a few eyebrows considering previous comments the seventh-year coach has made.
Quoted this summer as saying, "We (Big Ten) don't want to be like SEC in any way, shape or form," Bielema also has touted his 2013 roster as being his best team yet.
The move also puts into question Wisconsin's 19-member 2013 recruiting class, which includes three four-star recruits (tailback Corey Clement, safety Tyler Foreman and receiver Rob Wheelwright) from outside the state.
Stay tuned for much more on this move from BadgerNation.com