Matt Jones is the online sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Northwest Arkansas Newspapers.
UA football staff to earn $3 million
Arkansas tight end coach Barry Lunney Jr. is expected to see Lakeside QB Garrett Carson in the spring.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas' nine full-time football assistants will make a combined $3 million in the 2013-14 academic year, the most ever by one staff at the school.
The university released contract details for Michael Smith and Barry Lunney Jr. on Tuesday. Smith and Lunney were hired last week as the Razorbacks' receivers and tight ends coach, respectively.
Smith will make $275,000 annually - the same amount to be owed to his predecessor, George McDonald, who resigned two weeks ago to take the offensive coordinator position at Syracuse. Lunney, a former Arkansas quarterback, will earn $200,000 annually.
The contracts for both run through June 30, 2014. They will owe the UA $50,000 if they choose to leave for another program before the end of the contract period.
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Better assistant pay was one of the reasons given by Bret Bielema for accepting the Razorbacks' head coaching position in December. Bielema's Wisconsin staff last year made a little more than $1.9 million and he lost six assistant coaches from his staff following the 2011 season.
Bielema, who will make $3.2 million annually at Arkansas, led the Badgers to three consecutive Rose Bowl appearances before resigning last month.
The $3 million cumulative total is up from $2.603 million last year at Arkansas. The Razorbacks' assistant coaches have received sizable pay raises following each of the last three seasons.
New assistant staffs at SEC schools Tennessee and Kentucky will make $3.085 million and $2.267 million, respectively, next season, according to reports.