FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - We are slowly learning more and more about our new head hog, but THV 11 learned another side of Bret Bielema-his softer side.
Bret Bielema is all about helping others, and charities and volunteering are just a couple of things close to his heart. One of the organizations he works with the most is Komen Race for the Cure because of his mother.
Komen Race for the cure fills the roadways with pink, but there could be a little red leading the way if Kari Nikolish, board president for the Komen Ozark affiliate in Arkansas, has anything to do with it. Like Bielema, she is also from Wisconsin, and knows the new coach from past runins.
"He is someone who gives a lot back to the community he lives in, and for most people who find themselves involved in charities it is passionate for them," said Nikolish. "His mother battled breast cancer two times, once while he was a player in college. He's been an advocate in the Madison area and I hope that he will be an advocate here for us in Arkansas."
Nikolash said Bielema is known for his coaching methods, but one of his greatest attributes is helping others.
"He actually came out on race day and shot the gun, but more than just that, he stood around and made a real genuine attempt to get to know the survivors. It was a fun event for people.," she said.
He actually started a program at Wisconsin called Football 101 to bring in more money to find a cure for breast cancer.
"It was built as a half day training event for women, but I can tell you the Badger women are pretty smart about their football just like the Razorback fans, so more than anything it just became a fun event for them to hang around the coaches," she added.
Nearly a thousand women took part in Football 101, and they raised around $100,000 for breast cancer research, and it's that support Nikolish is looking forward to.
"Once he gets his team in place and does a little thing like win a national championship, he can get involved with our affiliate. What a great gift that will be for the community and the women who need our services so badly," she concluded.
Coach Bielema also volunteered at Children's Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club in Madison.