Matt Jones is the editor of the Hawgs Sports Network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has a bachelor's and master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.
Pittman: AD's vote of confidence 'really big' for program
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman is shown during a game against Florida International on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — Speaking one day after Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek publicly announced he would return for the 2024 season, football coach Sam Pittman said Monday he was looking forward to rebuilding the Razorbacks’ football roster in the coming months.
Pittman said there was “a lot of emotion in the room” as Yurachek informed players and staff members of his decision following Arkansas’ 44-20 victory over Florida International last Saturday.
“It was really cool because of the kids; they went off,” Pittman said. “I don’t ever want to get in that situation, but it was a special moment to be a part of. It was really cool.”
Pittman said he and Yurachek never had a conversation about him potentially being fired. But Pittman said he was in favor of Yurachek publicly commenting on his future because he thinks it will help the Razorbacks in recruiting.
Arkansas is 4-7 overall and 1-6 in SEC play heading into its season finale against Missouri on Friday. Pittman has a four-year record of 23-24 with the Razorbacks.
“I think it’s really big because we’re getting a lot of negative from coaches in recruiting,” Pittman said. “I’ll say this: I think when you sign up for the SEC, you have to win. It’s here, [Texas] A&M, Mississippi State, Alabama, wherever — you’ve got to win. If you don’t, there’s opportunities for you to be unemployed. That’s just how it is and that’s what we sign up for.
“I look at this as an opportunity for us to change our team — keep the ones that are good players for us and good kids, and change our team.”
Pittman on multiple occasions hinted at increased Name, Image and Likeness funds that will help attract high-profile recruits.
“I think financially we’re going to have the money from the NIL to do that,” Pittman said of changing the roster. “I think when all that happens we can field a really, really good football team. I’m excited about [Friday], but I’m really excited about the future.”
Pittman said it is easier to change a team now than when he arrived as Arkansas’ coach following the 2019 season because of changes in transfer rules. NIL has also changed the game.
“I think we can recruit against anybody, it’s just you can’t recruit against [everybody] financially,” he said. “I feel good about where we’re sitting now and if that’s the case, I think we can go out and recruit and fare well against anybody in the country.”
Pittman was also asked about winning back fans who have become disappointed in his job performance.
“You have to show what you can do,” he said. “When we do, I think we'll get them back.”
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