The University of Arkansas is on the verge of replacing disgraced ex-football coach Bobby Petrino with former Arkansas assistant John L. Smith, who was head coach at Louisville and Michigan State.
Smith, 63, was only four months into his deal with his alma mater, Weber State, when he approached Arkansas about their football job opening, according to ESPN.
Smith was Petrino's special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach for three seasons and worked with Petrino on the same coaching staff at Idaho, Utah State, Louisville and Arkansas, according to his old Arkansas bio.
ESPN reported that Smith's deal will be for one year and that Smith can provide a guiding hand to coordinators for allowing them to do their jobs.
Smith has demonstrated a colorful, quirky personality in past coaching stops. But he views this as an opportunity to help settle a situation and coach a legitimate title contender, ESPN's Joe Schad reported. Smith has been a sounding board and guiding hand for Bobby Petrino throughout his career and now he will attempt to help his former staff and players through a difficult time.
John L. Smith became a trending topic on Twitter as news spread that he would succeed Petrino, who was fired after his inappropriate relationship with Jessica Dorrell came to light.
John L Smith took Weber State job just 4 months ago but leaves before coaching a game. Is this the perfect Petrino replacement or what? asked user @JeffSchultzAJC, referring to Petrino's quick coaching stops.
CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell said the move is a good one for Smith.
Can't blame John L. Smith for leaving Weber St for Arkansas, Rovell tweeted. In 2010-2011, Weber St LOST $48,357 on its football program.
Arkansas fan @JaredPepper22 praised the move.
Im good with John L. Smith. Best Decision #GOHOGS, he tweeted.
What does the L in John L. Smith stand for? A mean-spirited Wikipedia user edited Smith's profile to say the L stood for Loser, although Smith's profile was quickly re-edited. It's unclear what the L stands for, as all of Smith's bios do not point it out. But we're pretty sure its not Loser.
Here is a screenshot of what his Wikipedia profile looked like as word that Arkansas is hiring John L. Smith became known: