Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema has filled out his staff by hiring a familiar face.
Brett Bielema called Michael Smith a master of fundamentals and "a tremendous recruiter."
Kansas State’s Michael Smith, whom Bielema worked with from 2002-2003, was named the Razorbacks’ wide receivers coach on Thursday night.
Smith, 42, has coached the same position for Bill Snyder at K-State since 2009, and he was the Wildcats’ running backs from 1997-2005. He also was a record-setting wide receiver for the Wildcats.
“During my two seasons at Kansas State, I learned that Michael Smith is one of the masters of the fundamentals of the game,” Bielema, the Wildcats' co-defensive coordinator in 2002-2003, said in a press release. “As a player, he was part of building the foundation at Kansas State, and as a coach he played an instrumental part in one of the greatest turnarounds for a program in the history of college football. He has a proven track record of leading his student-athletes to reach their full potential.
Bielema also said Smith was “a tremendous recruiter who has very strong ties in his hometown of New Orleans.”
“When I came to Arkansas, I said I wanted to assemble a staff second to none,” Bielema said. “The administration has shown tremendous support of that goal and Michael Smith completes the group in exciting fashion. Our staff is made up of individuals who have earned respect within the profession and should generate excitement for our program.”
Smith was not available for comment Thursday but will speak to the media during a teleconference Friday morning at 10:45 Central. He replaces George McDonald, who stepped down this week to become offensive coordinator at Syracuse.
Smith spent the first 11 years of his coaching career at Kansas State before becoming the running backs coach at Rice in 2006. He went to Arizona in 2007-2008, serving as running backs coach and then coaching inside receivers. Smith returned to Kansas State in 2009 when Snyder returned as head coach.
Some of his notable wide receiver pupils include:
-- Chris Harper, who in 2012 earned second-team All-Big 12 honors;
-- Tyler Locket, who in 2011 earned All-America honors as a kick returner;
-- Aubrey Quarles, an All-Big 12 performer in 2010;
-- 2009 All-American Brandon Burks, who set school and Big 12 kickoff return records and led the conference and ranked eighth nationally in all-purpose yards per game;
-- And Arizona's Mike Thomas, who in 2008 became the Pac-10 career receptions record holder.
Smith has also coached the top three career rushing leaders in Kansas State history -- Darren Sproles, Eric Hickson and Mike Lawrence.
Smith wrapped up his playing days as the second-leading receiver in Big Eight history (179 receptions), and his career receiving yardage total (2,457) was third-best in conference history. He was a third-team All-American in 1991, an honorable mention All-American in 1989, and a two-time All-Big East pick.
Smith graduated from Kansas State with a bachelor’s degree in social science. He is married to the former Karyn Tieken. He has four children: Kylie, Kenzie, Kason and Kamryn.
The Smith File
Hometown: New Orleans
Birthdate: Nov. 21, 1970
Family: Wife, Karyn; Children, Kylie, Kenzie, Kason, Kamryn
Jan. 2013 Arkansas (Wide Receivers)
2009-12 Kansas State (Wide Receivers)
2008 Arizona (Wide Receivers)
2007 Arizona (Running Backs)
2006 Rice (Running Backs)
1997-05 Kansas State (Running Backs)
1995-96 Kansas State (Graduate Assistant)
1993 Kansas State (Student Assistant Coach)
Bowl Games: Fiesta Bowl, 2013; Cotton Bowl, 2012; Pinstripe Bowl, 2010; Las Vegas Bowl, 2008; New Orleans Bowl, 2006; Fiesta Bowl, 2004; Holiday Bowl, 2002; Insight.com Bowl, 2001; Holiday Bowl, 1999; Alamo Bowl, 1998; Fiesta Bowl, 1997; Cotton Bowl, 1997; Holiday Bowl, 1995; Copper Bowl, 1993