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John L. Smith Will Not Return to Arkansas Next Season

John L. Smith will not return as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks after lasting one season with the program. He led the team to an overall record of 4-8 and 2-6 in South Eastern Conference play.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long made the announcement Saturday about the program’s decision to move in a different direction after meeting with Smith on Saturday. Long went on to thank Smith for his contribution to the university and program in a statement released by Arkansas.

“I have great respect for coach Smith, and I thank him for the sincere commitment he has shown our program,” said Long in the statement. “He made a difficult decision in uncertain times to return to his alma mater to guide the young men in our football program, and I will always be grateful for his efforts.”

In April, Smith was hired to replace Bobby Petrino and signed a 10-month contract. Smith was hired to coach at Weber State, his alma mater, in December 2011 but left without coaching a single game to take the same position at Arkansas.

Before Petrino was fired for lying to the school about a motorcycle accident, the Razorbacks were ranked in the top 10 but quickly dropped out of the polls after disappointing losses to Louisiana-Monroe and Rutgers at home. They were also expected to give Alabama and LSU serious competition for the SEC West title.

Smith’s first and only season at the helm of the Razorbacks has been horrific. He has led the team to  wins only against Jacksonville State, Auburn, Kentucky and Tulsa. The eight loses this season have equaled a school record.

Arkansas hopes to name a coach within the next 10 days, after finishing their season with a 20-13 loss to LSU on Friday. Once a coach is named Long says Smith will be reassigned as a consultant through the end of his contract on Feb. 23. 2013.

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