In a question-and-answer period with emcee Jimmy Dykes, the former Louisville coach got all choked up.
Chris Bahn of Arkansas 360 reports that Smith became emotional when talking about what the opportunity to be the Hogs’ coach meant to him.
Asked by Dykes what first popped into his mind when Athletic Director Jeff Long called to offer him the job, Smith needed a minute to gather his thoughts. Then he had to take time to regain his composure.
“Gosh, I get to go back to my family I just left,” Smith said before lowering the mic and fighting back tears.
Whatever the end result of Smith’s 10-month contract might be — Liberty Bowl, BCS title or something in between — it became even more clear that he genuinely cares about his players and assistant coaches. Whatever compelled him to leave the program as an assistant coach in December wasn’t nearly as big as the pull he felt to come back.
Smith replaced Bobby Petrino after the latter became embroiled in scandal over a mistress who also happened to be an Arkansas’ athletic office employee whom Petrino had just moved into the football office.