Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Cortez promoted to UA assistant
Samantha Cortez, pictured in this 2008 file photo, has been hired as an assistant coach at Arkansas.
FAYETTEVILLE Former Arkansas gymnast Samantha Cortez has been promoted to assistant head coach for the Razorbacks, Coach Mark Cook announced Thursday.
Cortez, who joined the Arkansas coaching staff in 2012 after receiving her master’s degree from Arkansas the previous year, has been the team’s primary floor coach and choreographer in her three seasons. Prior to that, Cortez served as the Razorbacks’ director of gymnastics operations for two seasons after earning four letters as a Razorback from 2005-08.
“She is an outstanding coach and person,” Cook said in a UA release. “This past season, she coached Katherine Grable to our first national title on the floor and she has a bright future for coaching in our program.”
Cortez, a native of Verona, N.J., moved up following the departure of Rene Lyst, who helped start the Arkansas program with her ex-husband Cook in 2002. Lyst is now head coach at Arizona State. Cortez will add coaching duties on the balance beam and expanded administrative duties in her new role.
“Mark and Rene have built an amazing program and I am so excited to continue to build on their success,” Cortez said in the UA release.