The University of Arkansas has hired John L. Smith as its head football coach.

Smith signed a 10-month letter of agreement with a compensation package of $850,000. Smith will also be eligible for performance and academic achievement incentives.

The 63-year-old Smith had spent the last three seasons as special teams coach for the Razorbacks. He was hired as the head coach at his alma mater, Weber State, last December.

"I am extremely pleased to welcome Coach John L. Smith back to the Razorback program as our new head football coach," director of athletics Jeff Long said. "Coach Smith brings a wealth of football knowledge, BCS conference head coaching experience, passion for the game and a close familiarity with the current team and coaching staff. I firmly believe that his selection is in the best interests of the young men in our program and will also best serve the mission of our football program and university in achieving success on and off the field in the upcoming season and in the long term."

Arkansas was in need of a head coach after getting rid of Bobby Petrino on April 10. Petrino was fired due to the aftermath of his motorcycle accident on April 1. A female employee of the Arkansas athletic department, Jessica Dorrell, was as a passenger on the motorcycle and it was later revealed that Petrino was having an affair with her.

Smith has had head coaching stints at Idaho, Utah State, Louisville, Michigan State and Weber State. He has produced a 132-86 overall record to go with six conference champions (two Conference USA, two Big West and two Big Sky).

"I am tremendously excited to have this special opportunity to return to Arkansas and lead the Razorback football program," Smith said. "During my coaching career, I have always been dedicated to developing student-athletes to their fullest potential. In the last couple of weeks, I came to the realization I could provide guidance and stability to a program I'm extremely invested in. While at Arkansas, we worked to make the Razorbacks a top 5 team and much of the credit for that goes to the student-athletes. Throughout the spring, the assistant coaches and student-athletes have shown incredible focus and character, which we will use to build on as we work to achieve our goals for 2012. I want to thank President (Donald) Bobbitt, Chancellor (David) Gearhart and Jeff Long for the trust they have shown in me."