Hours after leading the Georgia Bulldog offense in the 2019 Southeastern Conference Championship game, former Arkansas assistant coach Sam Pittman was named as the next head coach of Razorback football on Sunday.
“In his previous tenure, Sam and his wife Jamie fell in love with the state of Arkansas and with Razorback fans,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yuracheck said in a press release. “They know what a special place this is and are excited for the opportunity to come back to the home of the Razorbacks.”
Pittman was an original coaching staff member under former Hog coach Bret Bielema from 2013-15 before leaving for Georgia. With the Razorbacks, Pittman’s first two offensive lines allowed the least amount of sacks per game in the entire conference and included both former and current NFL talent such as Travis Swanson, who earned first-team All-America honors under Pittman, Sebastian Tretola, Dan Skipper and Frank Ragnow.
Ragnow is now the starting center for the Detroit Lions.
Bielema had many drawbacks as Arkansas’ coach, but recruiting was not one of them. Three top-25 classes (‘13,‘15,’16) were among the best things that came from Bielema’s run with the Razorbacks. Credit must be given to Pittman as well, who served as Bielema’s recruiting coordinator throughout this time.
After Arkansas, Pittman took the job as offensive line coach for Kirby Smart’s first staff at Georgia in 2016. With the Bulldogs, Pittman continued to have success, with the titles to back it up this time.
In four years at Georgia, Pittman helped the team to three-straight SEC Eastern Division titles, and in 2017, an SEC Championship, plus the school’s first-ever College Football Playoff appearance in a win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.
“Sam Pittman has been an integral part of successful teams that have competed at the highest levels, including for SEC and NCAA Championships,” Yurachek said. “As one of the nation’s premier offensive line coaches, he has built a remarkable body of work thanks to his tremendous passion for his student-athletes, including teaching the fundamentals and developing his players on and off the field.”
Pittman has also coached at other Power 5 schools such as Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, North Carolina and Tennessee in his 32-year career.
“Sam knows the Southeastern Conference inside and out and is one of the nation’s best recruiters,” Yurachek said. “His connections throughout football will enable him to build a quality coaching staff.”
Pittman will replace Barry Lunney Jr., another former Bielema assistant, who served as interim head coach for the final two games of the 2019 season after Chad Morris was fired for his poor 4-18 overall record in two years in Fayetteville.
This is Yurachek’s first football coaching hire since being named Athletic Director in late 2017. He is already credited with the hires of men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman and gymnastics coach Jordyn Wieber.
Pittman will be announced at a public celebration on Monday on the field inside the Walker Pavilion at 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to park in lots west of Razorback Road, including Lots 72, 73, 73A and 74. Doors on the east and west side of the Pavilion will open at 2 p.m, according to a press release.