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. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Multiple years for all UA assistant football coaches
Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman (right) is shown with his assistant coaching staff during the Razorbacks' basketball game against Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville. At left and facing is offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas football coordinators Barry Odom and Kendal Briles have signed three-year contracts, while the other eight on-field assistants are on two-year deals under first-year Coach Sam Pittman.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette received copies of the contracts for all Razorback football assistants Friday following a public records request. The salaries of all 10 Pittman assistants had previously been released.
New strength and conditioning coach Jamil Walker has signed a two-year agreement that will pay an annual salary of $300,000.
The contracts for assistant coaches are set to run through Feb. 28 of the year they expire, which is 2023 in the case of Briles and Odom, and 2022 for the others.
Additionally, the Razorbacks contracted to pay buyouts for a couple of the assistant coaches.
Arkansas agreed to pay Kentucky an amount not to exceed $100,000 for LeBlanc, who will draw an annual salary of $450,000. The Razorbacks agreed to pay Georgia an amount not to exceed $32,5000 for special teams coach Scott Fountain, who also agreed to a $450,000 salary.
All the contracts include incentive clauses for various levels of achievement, such as a month’s pay for winning the SEC championship, a half-month’s pay for appearing in lower-tier bowls, and a month’s pay for appearing in what the SEC refers to as its group of six bowls: the Outback, Texas, Gator, Belk, Music City or Liberty.
The assistant coaches would receive two months pay for appearing in the national championship game and three months pay for for winning the College Football Playoff.
Most of the contracts were signed by Pittman and the assistant coaches in the last six to eight weeks, while UA system president Donald Bobbitt, chancellor Joe Steinmetz and athletic director Hunter Yurachek have signed them mostly in the last few weeks.
The defensive coordinator Odom, a four-year head coach at Missouri who led the Tigers to a 25-25 record, tops the staff pay at $1.2 million per year, followed by Briles, who will be paid $1 million per season.
Offensive line coach Brad Davis, the first assistant to join Pittman immediately after his hiring, is next in salary at $550,000, followed by Fountain and LeBlanc.
Wide receivers coach Justin Stepp, the sole carryover assistant from the Chad Morris regime, will draw a $400,000 salary, followed by tight ends coach Jon Cooper ($300,000), cornerbacks coach Sam Carter, linebackers coach Rion Rhoades and running backs coach Jimmy Smith, who are all at $225,000.
The total salary pool for the assistant coaches comes to $5.025 million, right in the neighborhood specified by Yurachek at Pittman’s hiring press conference on Dec. 9.
Pittman signed a five-year contract at $3 million per season with various incentives and graded buyout language.
The Razorbacks will try to break out of a three-year postseason slump, which has included back-to-back 2-10 seasons, when they kick off the 2020 season on Sept. 5 against Nevada at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
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