Chris Ash will have a familiar face joining him at Arkansas following the Rose Bowl.
Charlie Partridge will join the Razorbacks staff as the defensive line coach, it was announced Saturday by Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema.
Partridge, 39, serves as Wisconsin's associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Arkansas will be the fourth different place at which he has worked with Ash. Both Ash and Partridge played at and graduated from Drake in the mid '90s before working together at Drake, Iowa State, Wisconsin and now Arkansas.
Like Ash, Partridge will stay with Wisconsin through the Badgers' New Year's Day bowl game before officially coming to Fayetteville to join Bielema's staff.
“I am excited to welcome Charlie to our staff here at Arkansas,” Bielema said. “He brings a great amount of experience on the defensive side of the ball and in special teams, as well as a strong recruiting background in Florida.
"Charlie has been part of our staff for the last five years, and his knowledge of the way we run our program and specifically the defense will be valuable as we move forward in our transition. He will also be a key asset in developing our student-athletes.”
Prior to his promotion to co-defensive coordinator at Wisconsin, Partridge coached special teams at Wisconsin. He has also coached at the University of Pittsburgh, Eastern Illinois, Iowa State and Drake.
Partridge visited with the Arkansas media Sunday morning via teleconference. He was smooth and professional, highlighting his strengths as a top-notch recruiter.
Partridge confirmed that he enjoys recruiting south Florida, his home. He said when you scan the Wisconsin roster all of those with Florida ties were his recruits.
"I had a hand in all of those," Partridge said. "I think Coach Bielema also played a role. We both have a track record of recruiting that area going back, for him all the way back to his days at Iowa, Kansas State and then again at Wisconsin. I had recruited there at all of the places I had coached.
"In Florida in recruiting is where Bret and I got to know each other. I think when you talk about going to Florida, it's recruiting just like anywhere else. It comes down to trust, no different than any other place."
Partridge said it will be exciting to go back into Florida "representing an SEC school, especially from a program like Arkansas."
Partridge said he had not been to Fayetteville, but knew a little about it from friends, all of whom spoke highly of the area.
"I know it's close to the Ozarks," he said. "I've talked to a lot of people and none of them had anything but positives about it and said there is a great quality of life there."
Partridge was co-defensive coordinator with Chris Ash at Wisconsin. Ash is the new defensive coordinator at Arkansas. However, Partridge will not have that title with Ash.
"Chris was the lead coordinator, without a doubt," Partridge said. "I assisted him. I'll continue to assist him. I'm the defensive line coach."
Partridge worked under Jeff Long at Pitt under two head coaches. He said Long encouraged him on how to handle the transition to Dave Wannstedt and how to conduct the interview process.
"Jeff gave me great recommendations on how to work through that," Partridge said. "I will be excited to see Jeff in person when I get to Fayetteville."
Partridge said he's got friends in the SEC in the coaching fraternity, but he's also got a brother with ties to an SEC school. His brother received an accounting degree from Florida.
"I told him that when we play, he's rooting for Arkansas," Partridge said. "He said, absolutely."
Partridge has not seen videotape of his new defensive line at Arkansas, but he's looked at a depth chart.
"I'm well aware of Chris Smith and some of the amazing things he's done," Partridge said. "I know that Trey Flowers, another defensive end had 13 tackles for losses. I saw that Byran Jones had 52 tackles and that's great production in that league for a defensive tackle. I know that Robert Thomas, like Jones, is a senior. So I'm excited to get to work with those players and know there are some other young players that are very talented."
Partridge was asked if Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez tried to persuade him to stay at Wisconsin and if that was a reason it's taken a few extra days for the move.
"Certainly, Coach Alvarez is a great leader, like Bret, and is trying his best to hold things together as long as possible for the new coach," Partridge said. "But for me it was just a matter of catching my breath, trying to finish off the recruiting period and then sit down with my wife. It wasn't about any other offers."
Partridge said he's also recruited the Pittsburgh area as well as Florida and looked forward to possibly taking a piece of Arkansas and getting to know high school coaches close to Fayetteville. However, he said exact recruiting locations won't be named until Bielema finishes the coaching staff.
Partridge, a Plantation, Fla., native, earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Drake in 1995 and a master's degree in education from Iowa State in 2002. Partridge and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Alexa and Kylee.