10 objects about Bielema you may not have recognized, courtesy Bob Asmussen:
181 MILES AWAY
Who knew that when Marilyn and Arnie Bielema raised their son Bret on a farm close to Prophetstown, he would develop as much as turn out to be soccer coach on the state college. Prophetstown, a metropolis of two,062 residents, is pleased with its native son and his connection to school sports activities, celebrating every of his stops. Bret has two brothers, Bart and Barry, and a sister Brandi. One other sister, Betsy, died greater than 20 years in the past in a horse-riding accident. Throughout his opening press convention at Illinois, Bret talked about “my sister Betsy, who’s with us in spirit.”
Bielema famously has an Iowa tattoo on his leg. “It was nice concept once I was 18 on the College of Iowa,” he stated. “I didn’t actually envision myself being the top coach at Illinois.” His mother was by no means a fan of the ink. “She received mad at me on the primary one,” Bielema stated. How about an Illinois tattoo? He has been requested about it by his new fan base.
In 1992, then-Iowa senior Bielema made a reputation for himself with the Iowa State followers. After the Hawkeyes beat the Cyclones 21-7, Bielema went to Iowa State coach Jim Walden and stated how a lot he loved kicking his “butt” all through his profession. The feedback, reported by Iowa media, didn’t go over nicely with the parents in Ames.
BIG TIME IN THE LITTLE APPLE
Bielema spent eight years working for Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. Then, in 2002, Kansas State coach Invoice Snyder employed Bielema as his co-defensive coordinator. Working with the late Bob Elliott, Bielema coached a unit that helped the Wildcats win 11 video games in consecutive seasons. Longtime Kansas State radio analyst Stan Weber preferred what he noticed of Bielema from the beginning. “He’s a man that has a capability to work with others and to make the most of their expertise and be taught from them,” Weber stated. “He did an incredible job of shopping for in with what Invoice Snyder needed to do together with his program. But additionally flourishing himself, displaying the vitality, the passion.”
Then-Wisconsin coach and present AD Barry Alvarez employed Bielema away from Kansas State in 2004. After one yr, Alvarez requested Bielema to interchange him as the highest Badger. Wisconsin went 12-1 his first season in 2006, then fell to 9-4 and 7-6 the following two seasons. Observers suppose Bielema received harm by some downside recruits after his first season. He made adjustments and rebounded to win 10, 11 and 11 in years 4 to 6, together with consecutive Rose Bowl appearances. Bielema had a powerful employees, together with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, now the Badgers’ head coach.
WIN SOME, LOSE SOME
Bielema has solely been instructed “It’s important to go” one time in his teaching profession. He took over at Arkansas in 2013, changing John L. Smith. In 5 seasons, he had three successful groups. However the Razorbacks by no means completed higher than tied for third within the SEC West. After a 4-8 end in 2017, Bielema was fired. Individuals who cowl the Arkansas program have good emotions for Bielema. They appreciated his upbeat angle. The Razorbacks have had their share of ups and downs over time.
Bielema married Jen in 2012. The couple has two younger daughters, Briella and Brexli. Shortly after taking the job, Bret had Briella able to shout I-L-L, I-N-I. “For a couple of half hour, we taught one another that saying,” Bret stated. “I can’t think about having any larger second as a father.”
IN HIS DOWN TIME …
Bielema “loves” to fish, a passion that began on the creek that ran by means of his household’s farm. Catfish and bullheads there. Later, he grew to become a fan of deep-sea fishing. He used to golf, however has put the golf equipment away. Household and soccer fill most of his waking hours. The Bielemas take pleasure in going to live shows. He has turn out to be a rustic western fan, however likes every kind of music and likewise enjoys performs and musicals. “I like seeing and being part of issues that I wouldn’t have usually performed,” he stated.
The three years earlier than he stated “sure” to Josh Whitman, Bielema labored within the NFL. First, with the New England Patriots for 2 seasons. And a yr with the New York Giants. He gained a Tremendous Bowl ring with New England in 2019. However … “I’ve at all times stored a watch on potential conditions and this was one due to my residence state,” he stated, “as a result of it being on this division (Huge Ten West), there are plenty of positives to it.” For Bielema to have an opportunity to return residence, it meant Lovie Smith’s program failed, which it did with a two-win season in 2020 beneath the previous Chicago Bears coach. Bielema simply completed teaching a sport with the Giants when he received phrase of Smith’s dismissal. “I sat again and prayed and hoped that Josh would attain out to me,” he stated.
HERE FOR THE LONG HAUL
The final head coach lived in a rental. The Bielemas plan to construct a house in Champaign. Bielema simply turned 51 on Jan. 13. He wants simply three wins to hit 100 for his profession. His six-year contract provides him safety. He want to be in cost far past 2026. “I’m a really proud father of a 3-year-old and a 11/2 yr outdated,” Bielema stated. “It could do my coronary heart good to see them develop up and name Champaign their hometown for a protracted, very long time. Hopefully, go to high school right here.”