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The Early Lead
Posted at 04:35 PM ET, 04/23/2012

Weber State’s John L. Smith will replace Bobby Petrino at Arkansas


John L. Smith, from his Michigan State tenure. (Al Goldis / AP)
Four and a half months after leaving Arkansas to take the coaching job at Weber State, John L. Smith will return to the Razorbacks to replace Bobby Petrino.

Smith, 63, has a 10-month contract with the school, which is expected to conduct a nationwide search after the season. Smith had served as Petrino’s special teams coach for three seasons before leaving for Weber State, his alma mater. Under Petrino last season, the Razorbacks were 11-2 and won the Cotton Bowl; with a talented team returning, the hiring of Smith gives the coaching staff some continuity after the Petrino mess.

Petrino was fired April 10 after heattempted to conceal, and later admitted to having an “inappropriate relationship” with a recently hired 25-year-old employee.

Petrino’s relationship with Jessica Dorrell, whom he had hired in the football office and gave a $20,000 gift, came to light when they were involved in a motorcycle accident earlier this month. Athletic Director Jeff Long fired Petrino because of a “pattern of misleading and manipulative behavior designed to deceive me and members of the athletic staff.”

The Associated Press first reported the hiring of Smith.

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By  |  04:35 PM ET, 04/23/2012

 
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