One of the biggest scores of the off season's coaching carousel may not be a new hire, but instead the retention of Barry Odom at Arkansas, who was in the mix for coordinator openings at LSU and Texas just weeks ago.
Arkansas is rewarding Odom's return to Sam Pittman's staff for a second year with a new contract and raise. The coaching veteran's initial contract with the Razorbacks went through 2023 with an annual salary of $1.3 million.
According to Whole Hog Sports, Odom's new contract still has him locked in through the 2023 season, and will be worth $1.75 million per year.
The new salary figure marks the highest salary that the Razorbacks have ever committed to an assistant coach. Former defensive coordinator John Chavis previously held that honor while he made $1.5 million as the team's defensive coordinator in 2018-19. As of this past fall, Chavis was thoroughly enjoying himself coaching middle school football.
A new crop of the highest paid coordinators in college football is starting to take shape, and we'll have an article highlighting them all in one spot soon. Clemson recently made offensive coordinator Tony Elliott part of the elite $2 million per year club, and Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning just got a raise that will make him among the highest paid assistants in college football as well.
The report adds that contracts for new assistant coaches Jermial Ashley (DL), Cody Kennedy (TEs) and Michael Scherer (LBs) have been finalized. Ashley and Kennedy will make $300k annually (Kennedy has a two-year deal while Ashley's is for one season), while Scherer will make $175k on a one-year deal.
The raise for Odom, and salaries for those new assistants, helped to ensure that the Razorbacks on-field staff in 2021 will be paid $5.375 million collectively, which is a program record and increase of about 3% on what they committed to Pittman's inaugural staff.
Arkansas was widely viewed as one of the most improved teams in the country last season, after finishing 3-7 and significantly closing the gap on many of their SEC opponents. The expectation is that Pittman, Odom, and some of the new quality hires will be able to continue that upward trend heading into the fall.
Head here to read the full piece from Whole Hog Sports.
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