Bret Bielema: Bio, Early Life, Wife, Salary & Career

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Bret Arnold Bielema, also known as Bret Bielema, is an American football coach. Bret is the outside linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant for the National Football League’s New York Giants.

Previously, Bielema was a college football coach. He served as a head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for six years.

Likewise, he served as a head coach at the University of Arkansas for five seasons.

Bret achieved a 68–24 record with the University of Winston and ended with a 29–34 record with the University of Arkansas.

Likewise, Brett had 11 regular wins in his starting career as head coach with the University of Winston. Besides, he was also a college football player.

Bret and other coaches
Bret Bielema posing along with other coaches

Brett has two Big Ten Leaders division titles (2011, 2012) and three Big Ten championships (2010, 2011, 2012).

So far, he is the only coach that lost every Rose Bowl game in Winston history. Bielema also received Big Ten Coach of the Year honors once in 2006.

Bret Bielema – Quick Facts

Full Name Bret Arnold Bielema
Birth Date January 13, 1970
Birth Place Prophetstown, Illinois, United States
Famous Name Bret Bielema
Religion Christianity
Nationality American
Ethnicity White Caucasian
Education The University of Iowa
Horoscope Capricorn
Father’s Name Arnie Bielema
Mother’s Name Marilyn Bielema
Siblings Brandi Bielema, Betsy Bielema
Age 54 Years Old
Height 6 feet 2 inches (1.8 m)
Weight N/A
Shoe Size N/A
Hair Color Brown
Eye Color Brown
Body Measurement N/A
Build N/A
Married Yes
Girlfriends No
Spouse Jennifer Hielsberg
Profession American football coach
Position outside linebackers coach and senior defensive assistant
Net Worth $8 million
Former Franchises N/A
Social Media Twitter
Children Two daughters
Last Update February, 2024

Bret Bielema | Bio, Early Life, Education

Bret Bielema was born on January 13, 1970, in Prophetstown, Illinois, USA, to his father, Arnie Bielema, and his mother, Marilyn Bielema.

He grew up alongside his two sisters named Brandi Bielema and Betsy Bielema. Interestingly, the siblings’ trio is pretty much close to each other.

Bret has reached 54 years of age as of 2024. Similarly, his Zodiac sign is Capricorn. The Bielema family belongs to a White Caucasian ethnicity.

Likewise, the family owns an American Nationality.

Bret and family
Young Bret with his parents and siblings

Now coming to his education, he completed his high school degree from Prophetstown High School.

Upon completing high school, the coach joined the University of Iowa. Bret graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

During his college days, Brett was an outstanding football player. Therefore, one could easily presume that he would choose to pursue his career in the sport.

Body Measurements 

Bret Bielema is a man with fair skin and short brown hair, and brown eyes. Not to mention, he is quite tall, standing at 6 feet 2 inches (1.8 m).

Although his weight hasn’t been updated or enclosed in the media, we can clearly see Bret has gained almost around 50 pounds. 

Bret Bielema | Career

Playing Career

Brett started his sports career as a college football player. While at the University of Iowa, he played as a defensive lineman from 1989 to 1992.

Back then, Bielema served as a team captain in his senior season. He played under Coach Hayden Fry.

Bret’s team beat Iowa State by 21-7 in his senior season.

After this match, Bielema approached Iowa State head coach Jim Walden for a post-game handshake and said, “You’re a big prick. It’s been a pleasure kicking your ass the last five years.” (Iowa State had never won the match with Iowa while Bielema was with the team).

Bret’s statement created so much controversy that the University of Iowa officials sent an official apology letter to Jim.

After graduating from the University of Iowa, Bret also played for the Milwaukee Mustangs, a team in the Arena Football League.

Coaching Career

Head Coach- University of Wisconsin (UW).

Coaching career (2006- 2007)

Bret started his coaching career with Wisconsin Badgers, Madison, in 2006. In his first season game as a head coach, his team ended the regular season 11–1 (7–1 in Big Ten Conference play).

Likewise, on September 16, 2006, the team had a victory of 14–0 over San Diego State. Along with this win, Bielema became the third Wisconsin head coach to win the first three games of his career.

Interestingly Bielema kept adding a record of being the first head coach in Wisconsin to win seven games in the early season, winning 24–3 over Purdue on October 21.

Bret’s overwhelming wins did not just end there; he continued to become the first coach in Wisconsin history to win eight games in his first season.

Likewise, he broke his record with his ninth victory on November 4, over the Penn State Nittany Lions, by 13–3.

The record kept growing with his tenth victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes on November 11 by 24–21. Bret became the first head coach in Big Ten history to win ten games in his first season along with his win.

Importantly, his first coaching season continued to make him the first UW history coach to win 11 games in the regular season.

Coaching career (2007-2012)

Likewise, on January 1, 2007, his team won over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Capital One Bowl by 17–14.

With his win, Brett became the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season, finishing 12–1.

During his journey as head coach with Wisconsin, Bret kept a record of 17 wins in his first 18 games.

Along with this, he became the third-best among the best starter of a head coaching career in Big Ten history.

The first two were Urban Meyer, who won 24 straight games, and Michigan’s Fielding H. Yost, who went 55–0–1 from 1901 to 1905.

After defeating #1-ranked Ohio State, by 31–18, Bielema wrote yet another piece of history for UW as the first win over a #1-ranked team since 1981.

Brett Bielema was nominated as a finalist for the 2010 Bear Bryant Award. The award is given to the college football’s Coach of the Year.

However, he could not get the award as the award went to the other nominee, Gene Chizik of Auburn. Apparently, his career as a head coach of Wisconsin ended in the year 2012.

Head Coach- University of Arkansas

Brett announced to leave from Wisconsin and joined as the head coach of Arkansas on December 4, 2012.

He left partly as he believed his assistant coaches were not paid well. And as well, he wanted to play in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Sadly, Bielema’s first season with Arkansas Razorbacks did not go well. During this time, the Razorbacks recorded the worst SEC record since entering the conference in 1992.

However, the team showed a significant improvement in the second season. To achieve bowl eligibility, Razorbacks won two SEC games against LSU by 17–0 and Ole Miss by 30–0. However, they lost the remaining conference game.

Again, Bret’s third season with Arkansas did not go well. The team got a slow start and suffered losses. Moreover, the Razorbacks lost to Toledo and Texas Tech in the non-conference.

However, the season’s last games lead the team to victory over Kansas State by 45–23.

Additionally, Bielema’s fourth season went worse with two defeats to Missouri in the regular-season finale and Virginia Tech in the 2016 Belk Bowl.

After his not-so-good coaching experience with Razorbacks, Bielema was fired after his five seasons on November 24, 2017.

Bret Bielema was the highest-paid coach in Arkansas, with a salary of $4.2 million.

Bret Bielema | Buyout 

Amidst the firing process of Bielema, he had five seasons of success as a coach at Arkansas. Although his firing news blew up, he had a good turn of money around him as a buyout worth $11.9 million. 

Thus, with things set in his way, Bielema stood as a volunteer in the NFL team. Naturally, therefore, with the tables turned, Bielema only got around one-third portion of the buyout. 

Actually, the Arkansas and Bielema contract stated that if Bielema had high-paying employment, Arkansas wouldn’t pay him.

In addition to that, Bret was simply a consultant to Bill Belichick; however, Bret joined New England as the club’s defensive line coach. 

Subsequently, Arkansas claimed that Bret breached their contract and stopped paying him. Altogether, this incident planted a fury in Bret, which was followed by a lawsuit against him. 

National Football League (NFL)

So far, Bielema has worked for two NFL teams, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants.

Brett got a chance to work with NFL for the first time with the New England Patriots. Back then, he was hired as a defensive consultant to head coach Bill Belichick.

Ahead of the 2019 season, Bret Bielema was promoted to defensive line coach.

Adding one next NFL team to his coaching career, Brett was hired next by the New York Giants. He joined the Giants on January 21, 2020, as the outside Linebackers Coach and Senior Assistant.

After the Giants announced that he would join the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign as a head coach on December 19, 2020, back then, Illinois fired coach Lovie Smith. 

In the first game with Illinois against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, he won the game. Also, it was said that Bret Bielema had signed 12 recruiting classes as a head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas.

You can check your college stats of Bret here.

Bret Bielema | Wife and Children

After their four years of relationship, Bret engaged his girlfriend, Jennifer Hielsberg, on April 1, 2011.

Likewise, the couple exchanged their marriage vows at a Catholic church in Madison’s private ceremony on March 10, 2012.

The couple seems to be enjoying their married life together. They entered their 8th wedding anniversary in March 2020.

Remembering the same, Bret took it to his Twitter handle to describe his beautiful memories with Jennifer with their wedding photo and a caption that said,

“It doesn’t seem possible, but it was eight years ago today we took this walk together. Now we have added two beautiful girls and many memories.”

Bret’s wife, Jennifer, worked as a model for different modeling agencies before marriage. Likewise, She is also a businesswoman and has worked for many financial institutions.

Read about Bret’s wife Jennifer Hielsberg Bio: Age, Career, Net worth, Family, Children Wiki.

Bret's daughters
Bret’s two adorable daughters

The couple is blessed with two adorable daughters. The first of which, Briella Nichole Bielema, was born on July 8, 2017.

Likewise, his second daughter Brexli Nichole Bielema was born on March 18, 2019. The couples enjoy the best moments of their lives, and there is no news regarding separation or divorce.

Bret Bielema | Salary, Net Worth

While with Arkansas, he had a rewarding contract of $4.25 million in salaries with an additional $100 000 every season.

Despite the roller coaster in his coaching career, Brett has an estimated $8 million net worth.

After being fired from Arkansas, he received a total buyout of $11,935,000. Bret received a mere salary of $50,000 as a defensive line for the Patriots.

However, the payment details from his current job at the New York Giants aren’t revealed to the media.

Moreover, Brett seems to be living a lavish life with his family from his professional career income. He also owns luxurious cars and a beautiful house.

Fayetteville House

Bret Bielema has put his Fayetteville house on sale for $2 million on Additionally, he had bought that 6,309-square-foot home for $1.5 million.

As for the description, the mansion is a two-level European-style Estate in Bridgewater with spacious living.

Additionally, the manor features five garages, two fireplaces, four bedrooms, and 5.5 baths.

Furthermore, it has a luxurious gourmet kitchen, wet bar, exercise room, heated saltwater pool, family-inspired outdoor kitchen, and glamorous landscaping.

The Bret Bielema Show 

The athlete started his reality show in 2016 named “The Bret Bielema Show,” where he portrays the sentiments of some college coaches.

Apparently, while doing so, he also entertains the nation with his quirky personality.

Net Worth of Bret Bielema in Different Currencies

Here is the net worth of Bret Bielema in different currencies, including the Euro and Pound.

Currency Net Worth
Euro 12,671,405 
Pound Sterling £10,808,797 
Australian Dollar A$19,778,479 
Canadian Dollar C$18,198,660 
Indian Rupee 1,078,002,500 
BitCoin ฿224 


Bret Bielema | Some Popular Quotes

  • You can’t skip a step and assume you’re going to get to where you want to be.
  • Hard work pays off.
  • Scars remind you of difficult places in your life that you’ve championed.
  • Education is the best way to relieve someone from a bad thought process.

Bret Bielema’s Social Media Presence

Twitter  239.6k Followers

Common Queries

Is Arkansas still playing Bielema?

No, Bret was fired from Arkansas after the fifth season in 2017, although he still had time left on his contract.

He collected a buyout of around $11.9 million, which he paid monthly until the end of 2020.

Why was Bret Bielema fired? What is his coaching record?

Although, Brett’s interviews suggest he did not know the reason himself, and he was only informed of the news while he was coming off the field.

However, as per Arkansas, Bret had lost way too many games and never approached contention in the SEC West.

As for his coaching record, V=Bret Bielema maintains a record of 5-7. 

Who is the current head coach of Arkansas?

Sam Pittman is the current head coach of Arkansas.

Did Bret Bielema get a Super Bowl ring?

Yes, he got the Super Bowl ring while spending time on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England.

Does Bret Bielema get a Tattoo?

He had a Tigerhawk tattoo when he was 19. Well, he tattooed it back when he was the walk-on defensive lineman for the Hawkeyes. 

Also, the tattoo has two giant words, “Believe” and “Achieve,” on opposite ends of a giant “I.”

What is between Bret Bielema and Michael Bennett?

As a coach and a former Patriots player, Michael Bennett and Bret Bielema had something called “philosophical differences” between them. Although they never mentioned it in detail, this led to a one-week suspension from the team for Michael and their ultimate departure.

Also, Read about coach John Madden Bio: Career, NFL, Wife, Salary, Net Worth Wiki.

Aaditya Bhatta
Aaditya Bhatta

Aaditya Bhatta

Aaditya Bhatta is a dynamic writer and sports enthusiast, whose passion for both realms is reflected in his work. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, Aaditya brings a unique perspective to his writing, captivating readers with his engaging content.


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Aaditya's journey as a writer and sports aficionado began at a young age when he discovered his passion for both pursuits. Throughout his academic and professional endeavors, Aaditya has honed his skills in content creation and sports analysis, immersing himself in the intricacies of the games he loves.

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