The results have been mixed for all the head coaches at Arkansas who coached their first game once the Razorbacks started playing an SEC schedule in 1992.
The good news for Arkansas’ fans is once you get past the very first game in 1992 the coaches haven’t lost. But while no coach has lost his first game there’s been some close calls.
Chad Morris and the 2018 Razorbacks will open the season on Saturday at 3 p.m. when Eastern Illinois comes to Fayetteville. The Razorbacks are prohibitive favorites in this game, but guarantees nothing once the ball goes in the air on the opening kickoff.
Here’s a look at the first game for coaches since the 1992 season.
Jack Crowe, 1992, Lost to The Citadel 10-3 — We all know how this turned out. The next morning Crowe was fired by athletic director Frank Broyles. Technically, this was Crowe’s 24th game at Arkansas not his first like the others on this list, but it was the first game once the Hogs started playing an SEC schedule. Crowe was 9-15 with the Hogs.
Joe Kines, 1992, Defeated South Carolina 45-7 — Kines was named the interim head coach when Crowe was fired. The Hogs immediately went on the road and blasted the Gamecocks in their SEC opener. Kines was 3-6-1 at Arkansas.
Danny Ford, 1993, Defeated SMU 10-6 — Ford replaced Kines as head coach of the Hogs. He formerly had coached Clemson to the 1981 national championship. Ford led Arkansas to its first SEC Championship Game in 1995. He was 26-30-1 with Arkansas.
Houston Nutt, 1998, Defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 38-17 — Nutt was hired away from Boise State by Broyles following Ford’s dismissal. Nutt led the Hogs to a pair of SEC title games. Nutt’s teams won nine games three times and 10 once. He was 75-49 at Arkansas.
Bobby Petrino, 2008, Defeated Western Illinois 28-24 — Petrino followed Nutt who left for Ole Miss. Petrino followed up Nutt’s success with Arkansas’ only 11-win season since joining SEC and also won 10 once. He led Hogs to first BCS game. Last team ranked No. 5 in nation. Was 34-17 with Hogs.
John L. Smith, 2012, Defeated Jacksonville State 49-24 — Smith was named interim head coach after Petrino was fired by Jeff Long in April. The wheels fell off in Week 2 for Smith when the Hogs lost to Louisiana-Monroe 34-31 in Little Rock. He was 4-8 at Arkansas.
Bret Bielema, 2013, Defeated Louisiana-Lafayette 34-14 — Bielema came in after Smith’s interim season as the permanent replacement for Petrino. It really never worked out for Bielema at Arkansas. His best team was 8-5 in 2015. Had nice success at Wisconsin. Record with Hogs was 29-34.
Morris’ history at Arkansas will begin to be written on Saturday.