Feel good moments in football cost money, and people are feeling really good about Razorback football right now.
It’s well documented that when Sam Pittman was hired, he was so overwhelmed by the idea that Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek was willing to make him the new head coach that he forgot money was supposed to also be a topic of conversation.
It will be the topic of conversation now. Pittman just hired super agent to the college football coaches Jimmy Sexton. Arkansas fans will remember him from the many raises he got Houston Nutt by floating rumors of schools trying to hire Nutt away on a daily basis.
When the $3 million contract hit Pittman’s desk the first time around, the new head Hog was pleased. He had nearly quadrupled what he was making at Georgia while agreeing to a budget-friendly deal that would allow him to go out and hire top assistants.
But that was two years ago.
The inflation created by the inability to find enough workers in the retail shipping industry is nothing compared to the inflation created by the coach shipping industry. Every time a coach gets fired, an agent yells cha-ching.
As of this writing, hard numbers haven’t been released, but most expect Lincoln Riley’s contract to run slightly above Nick Saban’s $9.7 million per year, which means there’s a real chance he will become college football’s first $10 million man.
LSU’s Brian Kelly will check in at roughly $9.5 million, a half million extra per year more than Orgeron despite the 2019 national title.
Lane Kiffen, who hit the league at the same time as Pittman, just signed an extension worth $7.5 million.
Former Louisiana coach Billy Napier, who has yet to coach a single second in the SEC, just signed a seven year deal worth $7.4 million per season.
Even SMU’s Sonny Dykes was offered at least $4 million to not bolt for TCU. Discussion on local Dallas radio indicates SMU could have scraped up the money to go as high as $6 million if there had been a chance to keep him.
Yurachek would have to offer Pittman at least a 33% raise just to get him to the minimum offer of a Group of 5 school. Simple pride of being an SEC school should drive Arkansas to offer an extension well over Pittman’s current contract.
An Elite 8 run by Eric Musselman’s Razorback basketball team got him a raise to $4 million, making Arkansas one of the few universities where the basketball coach makes more than the football coach.
That won’t last long though.
While private schools throw the rankings off a bit since they don’t have to disclose salaries, best guesses have Pittman’s contract just outside the Top 50. If a Top 25 coach is going to make Top 25 money, his contract will have to reach at least $5 million.
Yurachek may have to do some gentle prodding of his band of merry checkbooks to get to the amount Pittman deserves.
If any balk, he need only throw up streams of games against Western Kentucky, North Texas, Colorado State and San Jose State. A gentle reminder of where this thing was just two short years ago should be more than enough to get the cash flowing.
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