FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples told the media Friday she learned to call the Hogs at a young age.
She pointed out how she’s from southern Missouri with family spread throughout northern Arkansas. She also wants the Razorbacks to continue playing games at War Memorial Stadium as an “important part of their history.”
Basically, Cromer Peoples said many things that would be necessary to eventually have her interim tag removed.
“I have just been overwhelmed and so proud to step into and be part of the Razorback Nation,” Cromer Peoples said. “It is one of the reasons I wanted to come here, quite candidly. There is no place like the University of Arkansas. There is no place like this department and like this state. The passion that makes it so special is exactly the thing that propels us.”
Cromer Peoples arrived at Arkansas in 2014, having worked at Indiana and with the NCAA previously. She was serving as associate vice chancellor for athletics and senior associate athletics director for administration and sports programs, among other titles, as of last week. When athletic director Jeff Long was fired Tuesday, she was promoted to take his place in the interim.
“I’ve worked in some different places, and they have passionate fans as well,” Cromer Peoples said. “I had great experiences there, but this is a special and unique place. At a very young age, actually, I learned to call the Hogs. The opportunity to come back be part of that as an adult was irresistible.”
Cromer Peoples provided no insight on the future of football coach Bret Bielema past Saturday when the Razorbacks play host to Mississippi State. She offered support but did not specify if or when any personnel decision would be made.
Arkansas is 4-6 overall and 1-5 in SEC play. Bielema is 29-32 and 11-27 against conference opponents during his five seasons.
“I don’t think anyone would disagree it’s been a tough season for us,” Cromer Peoples said. “There are a lot of people who are weighing in about the decisions that they believe are pending. Right now, we have a football coach, and we have a game tomorrow, and we’re looking forward to playing it.”
As for the future of games at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Cromer Peoples indicated she is all for it. The Hogs have played at least one home game at War Memorial every year since 1948. The contract with the stadium is set to expire after next season.
Long had previously said he wanted to have a resolution regarding the future of playing at War Memorial before the end of this season. The assumption had been Arkansas wouldn’t agree to a contract requiring the Hogs to play there once a year.
“[Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz] and I will continue to evaluate our long-term relationship with War Memorial,” Cromer Peoples said. “I think it’s an important part of our history. It’s a special part of who we are as Razorbacks, and the chancellor and I will work together on a long-term recommendation for that partnership.”