FAYETTEVILLE — It appears that Arkansas has secured commitments from Barry Odom and Jamil Walker to stay in Fayetteville.
That is big news on both fronts. Odom, the defensive coordinator, was rumored to be in the mix at both Texas and LSU. It’s no secret that if Odom had gone he probably would have taken Sam Carter with him. That would have been a double blow to Sam Pittman and Arkansas’ defense.
South Carolina was supposedly in the mix for Jamil Walker with one report out of that state projecting Walker to go there. But Walker has a two-year contract at Arkansas that pays him $300,000 per year. He just finished his first year in Fayetteville so it has another 12 months remaining on it.
It appears Arkansas’ Director of Athletics and Vice-Chancellor Hunter Yurachek has stepped to the plate to help Pittman keep as much of his staff intact as possible. Walker, Odom and Carter all drew praise from observers for their work this past season.
According to sources, there’s still one possibility on the Arkansas staff who could exit though there’s no exact timeline for that.
Justin Stepp left Sunday to go to South Carolina. He was replaced at Arkansas by Colorado State’s Kenny Guiton. By all accounts, this is a win-win situation for both schools. Stepp got to go home, got $60,000 additional dollars per year and provides the Gamecocks with a very good coach. Arkansas, likewise, hired a very good coach from Colorado State who has ties to Kendal Briles.
Just like Odom has ties to Carter and Brad Davis (as did Pittman with the OL coach) this allow Briles to have Guiton and tight end’s coach Jon Cooper as coaches he wanted to Fayetteville. Pittman was looking at hiring another person from a school in Louisiana to coach tight ends when he came to Arkansas, but Briles asked to be allowed to bring Cooper. Pittman agreed and so Cooper was hired.
While fans get upset when coaches leave one has to understand. Do you want to have a staff that no one tries to hire the assistants? Good situations happen at times where both schools win with the hires and I think that was case with South Carolina and Arkansas as mentioned previously.
It will be interesting to see if Pittman goes forward with the current staff or one change still happens.