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.
2 Razorback assistants to stay at Arkansas
Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom watches a July 2020 workout in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Sources with knowledge of the decisions told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Tuesday that University of Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom and strength and conditioning coach Jamil Walker both intend to remain with the Razorbacks for a second season.
Media reports in recent days indicated Odom was on a short list of candidates for the defensive coordinator role at Texas under new Coach Steve Sarkisian and that LSU Coach Ed Orgeron was also interested in hiring him.
Walker was among a pool of candidates for the strength and conditioning position at South Carolina under new Coach Shane Beamer.
"This was an important and outstanding day," Arkansas coach Sam Pittman tweeted Tuesday in response to a tweet about Odom.
Odom and Walker are both likely to receive raises or other financial incentives, the sources indicated. Both were hires by Pittman for his original staff at Arkansas, with Walker coming over with Pittman from the staff at Georgia, and Odom joining offensive line coach Brad Davis as Pittman’s first confirmed hires in December 2019.
Social media sites were abuzz on Tuesday morning and afternoon with word that Odom and Walker had both committed for a second year on Pittman’s staff.
Sophomore safety Jalen Catalon posted a picture of himself and Odom with the words “Unfinished business” and the hashtag #Runitback on his Twitter page that caught fire.
Odom is the highest-paid UA assistant. His original contract called for a $1.2 million salary, but it was bumped to $1.3 million after receiving interest from Orgeron.
Walker came aboard with a two-year contract with a salary of $300,000 per year through the end of February 2022.
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