First, it was assistant coaches — now Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema has poached strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert from the University of Wisconsin.
Herbert, whose innovative techniques and relentless approach played a key role in producing three straight Big Ten Conference champions, played defensive line for two Rose Bowl championship teams while with the Badgers and has spent 11 years in UW's strength and conditioning program, including the last four in charge.
"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 statement released Tuesday by Arkansas.
"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. 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 started his career as an intern during the 2002 season following his playing days at Wisconsin and was promoted to assistant strength and conditioning coach in 2003. He was involved in all aspects of sports conditioning for the football team during his time with the Badgers.
In his 15 total seasons at Wisconsin, he was part of 14 bowl appearances and five Big Ten championships.
In Herbert's four seasons in charge, the UW football team outscored opponents 435-309 in the fourth quarter. Also, the Badgers were 15-5 in games played in November or later, outscoring its foes 856-442 in those months.