Bret Bielema’s first season at Arkansas didn’t go exactly as planned.
The Razorbacks went 3-9 and he missed a bowl game for the first time in his head-coaching career.
In a Q&A with the Associated Press, Bielema said "the Lord decided" Arkansas should have a tough season and that he learned a lot more from the losses than he would have from wins.
Question: Arkansas went 3-9, what's the emotional toll of that?
Answer: "It is what it is. I don't have a reaction one way or the other. Obviously (I) didn't want to go 3-9, but it was the reality of what it was. For whatever reason, the good Lord decided us to be that way. There's a certain amount of teaching that can come from a win, but I do think you learn more from losses than you do from wins. Just the inventory that you press, if you're a true competitor, the way that you react. You'll get more out of a defeat ... Now, obviously, it's not great for recruiting, it's not great for anybody involved, fans, coaches, players, staff, whatever it is. But it is what it is."
Bielema also addressed his wife’s role in the Razorbacks’ season. Jen Bielema came under fire early in the year after she tweeted “#karma” following Wisconsin’s loss to Arizona State. Fans responded by sending Jen Bielema death threats.
Q: Professional criticism is one thing. When it turns and flips onto personal level, as it did this season with (wife) Jen, how tough is that to handle?
A: "The only thing I was concerned about her was just her safety. I mean, some people, when they claim they're going to kill you and your dogs and, you know, hope you die in a car crash and make malicious comments, that's ... People are today a little off. I spend a lot of time away from home. One of the things that we did is talk to the people that we need to talk to to make sure that there wasn't any potential threat to her safety and well-being. That's my only priority, is the safety of my family, which right now is my wife and two little dogs that I do like."
Arkansas actually went winless following the tweet, which was karma indeed. It’s unfortunate that Bielema had to go through so many things both on and off the field, but this is probably the tale of many football coaches that struggle. People who send death threats over a tweet have their own issues that should be addressed and it’s good Bielema brought the threats to light.
Sadly, the only way those people will probably go away is when Arkansas starts winning.
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