FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Much like Bret Bielema before him, Dan Enos couldn't resist the chance to take on the Southeastern Conference's best.
Enos left his job as the head coach at Central Michigan on Thursday to become the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arkansas, a step down in position but one up into the high-profile world of the SEC.
The former Michigan State quarterback joins Bielema, who left Wisconsin two years ago and persuaded his former college competitor to join him with the resurgent Razorbacks.
''I had a great job, and obviously it would just take an unbelievable opportunity to leave something like that,'' Enos said. ''And that's how my family and I view this, too good of an opportunity to not pursue and look at.''
Bielema and Enos played against each other in college while Bielema was at Iowa and Enos at Michigan State. The two also coached against each other over the years, and their conversations about Enos' possible hiring began last week at a coaches convention.
Enos was 26-36 in five seasons with the Chippewas, overcoming a pair of 3-9 seasons to begin his career before leading the school to bowl games in two of the last three seasons. He called plays as a head coach, and Central Michigan passed for more than 3,000 yards four times, the kind of balanced offensive approach Bielema wants to go with his bruising running game.
''Dan is a great fit for our program,'' Bielema said. ''He runs a pro-style offense and brings expertise at the quarterback position as both a player and coach ... He has an outstanding reputation and will be a tremendous asset for Razorback football.''
The 46-year-old Enos replaces former Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, who left last week to take the same job at Pittsburgh. He also takes over a Razorbacks team that returns senior quarterback Brandon Allen and a pair of 1,000-yard running backs in Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins next season.
While Chaney was known for his work with Drew Brees at Purdue and a creative passing offense at Tennessee, Enos is a former Michigan State quarterback and assistant who has worked with both quarterbacks and running backs in his career.
He coached offensive tackle Eric Fisher, the first Mid-American Conference player to be taken No. 1 overall the NFL draft, at Central Michigan. Also, he worked with former Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton in 2006.
Enos joins an Arkansas program that emerged from the post-Bobby Petrino scandal to reach a bowl game for the first time in three years this past season, defeating Texas in the Texas Bowl. The Razorbacks finished 7-6 in Bielema's second season, ending a 17-game SEC losing streak and bouncing back from a 3-9 record in Bielema's first year.
''When this opportunity became available, it's something that we felt was a no-brainer,'' Enos said.
Enos signed a three-season contract and will make $550,000 annually at Arkansas, with a $350,000 buyout if he leaves before Feb. 15, 2018. He also signed a no-compete clause that prevents him from taking another job in the SEC during his contract, unless it's a head coaching position.
''The challenge of winning a championship in the SEC and developing young men at the highest level of college football is very attractive,'' Enos said. ''Bret and I share many of the same philosophies, and I'm excited to open the next chapter of my coaching career down in Fayetteville.''
Enos worked for four seasons at Michigan State before taking over at Central Michigan. He's also spent time during his coaching career at Cincinnati, North Dakota State, Western Michigan, Missouri State, Southern Illinois and Lakeland College.
The Michigan native was 16-7-1 as a starting quarterback at Michigan State, where he graduated with both his bachelor's and master's degrees.
Central Michigan athletic director Dave Heeke said the school will move quickly in naming a new coach.
''This is an extraordinary opportunity for a leader who seeks a team that's strong on the field and in the classroom,'' Heeke said.