Bios for Arkansas' 2018 football assistant coaching staff

By: Matt Jones
Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018
An Arkansas Razorback helmet at Chad Morris introductory press conference Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.
Photo by Andy Shupe
An Arkansas Razorback helmet at Chad Morris introductory press conference Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.
Photo by Otto Kitsinger, AP

Steve Caldwell

Postion: Defensive Line Coach

Age: 62

Alma Mater: Arkansas State

Hometown: Thayer, Mo.

Previous: Defensive Line Coach/Assistant Head Coach, Boise State, 2014-17

Notable: Caldwell served as defensive line coach at Arkansas from 2010-12 and worked under defensive coordinator John Chavis at Tennessee from 1995-2008. He played a role in the recruitment and/or development of former Arkansas defensive linemen Chris Smith, Darious Philon, Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise, all of whom are currently in the NFL.

Photo by Sam Craft, AP

John Chavis

Postion: Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach

Age: 61

Alma Mater: Tennessee

Hometown: Dillon, S.C.

Previous: Defensive Coordinator, Texas A&M, 2015-17

Notable: Chavis has spent the past 23 seasons coordinating defenses in the SEC at Tennessee, LSU and Texas A&M. He won the Broyles Award, which is presented to the nation's best assistant coach, in 2011 while at LSU. His defenses have finished in the top 15 nationally 12 times and he has had 17 players selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Photo by Lynne Sladky, AP

Ron Cooper

Position: Defensive Backs Coach

Age: 55

Alma Mater: Jacksonville State

Hometown: Huntsville, Ala.

Previous: Defensive Backs Coach, Texas A&M, 2017

Notable: Cooper is the only assistant with college head coaching experience, having spent a combined nine seasons at Eastern Michigan (1993-94), Louisville (1995-97) and Alabama A&M (1998-2001), as well as a stint as interim head coach at Florida International in 2016. Cooper's long assistant career includes stops under notable head coaches Lou Holtz at Notre Dame, Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin, Steve Spurrier at South Carolina and Les Miles at LSU.

Photo by SMU Athletics

Joe Craddock

Postion: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach

Age: 32

Alma Mater: Middle Tennessee

Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.

Previous: Offensive Coordinator, SMU, 2015-17

Notable: Craddock was the youngest offensive coordinator in college football when, at 29, he was hired at SMU following the 2014 season. He is currently the youngest offensive coordinator in the SEC. From 2012-14, Craddock was on staff at Clemson, first as a player development assistant and later as an offensive graduate assistant.

Photo by SMU Athletics

Dustin Fry

Postion: Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator

Age: 34

Alma Mater: Clemson

Hometown: Summerville, S.C.

Previous: Offensive Line Coach, SMU, 2015-17

Notable: Fry spent one season in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams and spent three more seasons on various NFL practice squads. He was an offensive graduate assistant coach under Chad Morris at Clemson from 2012-14.

Photo by Ben Goff

Barry Lunney Jr.

Postion: Tight Ends Coach

Age: 43

Alma Mater: Arkansas

Hometown: Fort Smith, Ark.

Previous: Tight Ends Coach, Arkansas, 2013-present

Notable: Lunney, a former Arkansas football and baseball player, is a holdover from Bret Bielema's 2017 coaching staff. As a position coach, Lunney has had three tight ends drafted, including 2015 Mackey Award winner Hunter Henry. Prior to Arkansas, Lunney was an offensive coordinator at Bentonville High School under his father, Barry Lunney Sr. He had previously served on college staffs at Tulsa and San Jose State.

Photo by Andy Shupe

John Scott Jr.

Postion: Defensive Line Coach

Age: 42

Alma Mater: Western Carolina

Hometown: Greer, S.C.

Previous: Defensive Line Coach, Arkansas, 2017-present

Notable: Scott was one of eight assistant coaches who were fired in December, but has since been re-hired to a similar position. Prior to coaching at Arkansas, Scott spent two seasons - one as a defensive quality control assistant and one as an assistant position coach - on the staff of the New York Jets. He was defensive line coach at Texas Tech in 2014.

Photo by SMU Athletics

Mark Smith

Position: Defensive Backs Coach

Age: 38

Alma Mater: Hardin-Simmons

Hometown: Abilene, Texas

Previous: Director of Football Recruiting, SMU, 2015-17

Notable: In addition to his role as recruiting director, Smith also was a defensive analyst in his final season at SMU. Prior to SMU, Smith was a head coach at L.D. Bell High School in Hurst, Texas, where he had a 21-22 record in four seasons. Smith was a graduate assistant under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma and was an all-conference kicker in college.

Photo by SMU Athletics

Justin Stepp

Postion: Wide Receivers Coach

Age: 34

Alma Mater: Furman

Hometown: Pelion, S.C.

Previous: Wide Receivers Coach, SMU, 2015-17

Notable: Stepp spent three seasons as an offensive graduate assistant at Clemson from 2009-11 and later spent three seasons as a receivers coach at Appalachian State. His wife, Brooke, also works for the Razorbacks as a support staff member focused on recruiting. His twin brother, Josh, is an assistant coach at Georgia State.

Photo by SMU Athletics

Jeff Traylor

Postion: Running Backs Coach/Associate Head Coach

Age: 49

Alma Mater: Stephen F. Austin

Hometown: Gilmer, Texas

Previous: Running Backs Coach/Associate Head Coach, SMU, 2017

Notable: Prior to coaching at SMU, Traylor was a tight ends and special teams coach at Texas for two seasons. From 2000-14 he was head coach at Gilmer High School in east Texas, where he had a 175-26 record with three state championships and two state runner-up finishes. Traylor's high school coach, Joe Black, was a member of the Razorbacks' 1964 national championship team.


Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.