One year ago Sam Pittman’s hire barely generated notice by the national and SEC media. Has that ever changed. ESPN’s Matt Barrie tweeting: I don’t care what their record ends up Sam Pittman is the SEC coach of the year. Fox Sports Aaron Torres: Sam Pittman has done an unbelievable job with this program. Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin tweeting that Pittman should be the conference coach of the year and it’s not even close.
Hog fans warmed up to this man immediately when he said in his first press conference that the University of Arkansas was the best school in America. Soon he was telling the entire country the same thing.
“This is it for me. I’m not interested in any other program,” said Sam Pittman. “Arkansas is truly the greatest program in America to me.”
His first job was to guide these players through an unprecedented COVID disruption which wiped out spring football. But by late summer something was brewing on the Hill. Something which allowed the Razorbacks to cast off the depression of back-to back two win seasons.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” says Dalton Wagner, Arkansas Offensive Lineman. “The coaching staff has come in and put together an excellent plan for us every day. Coach Pittman is really branding that physical and mental toughness. He turned this team into a blue collar team for sure.”
Fans began to notice that this coach wasn’t into excuses. When COIVD took out most of Arkansas D-line the head coach could have perhaps asked for a postponement of the LSU game. But they played and Arkansas lost.
“We had the numbers to play and that’s the spirit of the game. Nobody said a word about it and to be honest with you we should have played today and that’s what we did,” said Pittman.
Through the ups and downs of this season the players clearly have adopted a go back to work mentality inspired by their boss.
“If you asked this team how many wins we were going to get at the beginning we were going to win them all,” says Grant Morgan, Arkansas Senior Linebacker. “That’s just how we think. No matter what happens we just gotta be able to go back to work. That’s just coach Pittman’s thing. That’s just what we do.”
Former Razorback great Dan Hampton said to me about Sam Pittman. We finally got a coach that’s one of us. I agree. In my time covering this team that’s been the formula for success. Get a coach that lives, breathes and eats being a Razorback. That’s Sam Pittman.