Arkansas hires another coach away from Wisconsin


FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema added even more Wisconsin flavor to his staff Tuesday, hiring strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert.

Herbert will join the Razorbacks after spending the past four seasons in charge of the Badgers’ strength and conditioning program. He worked on the strength staff for 11 years, beginning as a volunteer assistant in 2002.

“Ben Herbert has transformed countless student-athletes and his system has become known by those on the next level for producing individuals with toughness and an incredible work ethic,” Bielema said in a news release Tuesday.

Herbert is the fifth coach and staff member to follow Bielema from Wisconsin. He joins defensive coordinator Chris Ash, defensive line coach Charlie Partridge, director of football operations Mark Taurisani and director of on-campus recruiting Chris Hauser. Ash has reportedly applied for Wisconsin’s head coaching vacancy.

Herbert replaces Jason Veltkamp, who led the Arkansas strength program for five years before accepting the same position at North Carolina State on Monday.

But Herbert is widely known for his strength and conditioning system, helping Wisconsin produce 41 NFL Draft picks during his tenure. There have been six first-round selections, including Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, Chicago Bears offensive tackle Gabe Carmini and Cincinnati Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler.

“He has a strong background in what we want out of our strength and conditioning program, and he has shown a great ability to produce results with energy and passion,” Bielema said in the news release. “He is focused on details and consistency and is always thinking outside the box to come up with new, improved ways to make our student-athletes better. He oversees a comprehensive plan that extends beyond the weight room, and our student-athletes will benefit from his instruction.”

Herbert joined the Wisconsin football staff after being a four-year letterman with the program. He played at Wisconsin under current athletic director Barry Alvarez and was part of teams that won two Rose Bowls.

The former defensive lineman is tied for the school’s bowl record for sacks. He collected two sacks in Wisconsin’s Rose Bowl win against Stanford in 2000.

Haynes introduced

Former Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes was introduced as Kent State’s head coach during a press conference Tuesday. It signaled a homecoming for Haynes, who played for the program and was an assistant coach.

“I was nervous because it’s something I wanted so bad and dreamed about,” said Haynes said, who thanked Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long and former coach John L. Smith among many others during Tuesday’s press conference.

Haynes will get his first head coaching opportunity in replacing Darrell Hazell, who was hired by Purdue after leading Kent State to an 11-2 record and the GoDaddy.com Bowl this season. Haynes and Hazell — who will coach Kent State in the bowl — worked together as assistant coaches on Jim Tressel’s staff at Ohio State.

“A lot of the things these guys want to hear is, there’s not going to be a lot of change. That’s what I told them,” Haynes said of his message to players. “I have to be me. I have to be who I am. But there’s not going to be a lot of change philosophy wise.”

Cinkovich to Idaho

Former Arkansas receivers coach Kris Cinkovich has a new position after being named offensive coordinator at Idaho. Cinkovich was hired by Paul Petrino and will get his first chance to work as an offensive coordinator.

Cinkovich replaced Petrino as Arkansas receivers coach in 2010 and spent three seasons with the Razorbacks. He worked with record-setting wideouts Jarius Wright, Cobi Hamilton and Joe Adams during his tenure.

“My wife and I say thanks to the Razorback Nation for a great 3 years living in NW Arkansas. Proud to have been a Hog! Good luck,” Cinkovich said via Twitter.