Sam Pittman to return as Arkansas head coach next season

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman on the sidelines against Auburn during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Michael Woods)
Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman will remain at the school for a fifth season. (AP Photo/Michael Woods) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Sam Pittman will return as the head coach of Arkansas next season.

The Razorbacks have had a disappointing season, but athletic director Hunter Yurachek informed the coaches and players of his decision to retain Pittman following Saturday's win over Florida International.

Arkansas improved to 4-7 (1-6 SEC) with Saturday night's 44-20 win over FIU. It was the Razorbacks' first home win since a 28-6 victory over Kent State on Sept. 9.

The Razorbacks started the season 2-0 before dropping their next six games. The losing streak, which included one-possession losses to BYU, LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama and Mississippi State, was snapped with an overtime win at Florida on Nov. 4. However, Pittman's team followed that up with a 48-10 blowout home loss to Auburn, leaving many wondering whether Pittman would return to Fayetteville for a fifth season.

Yurachek, with a statement released Sunday afternoon, put an end to any speculation about Pittman's status entering the 2024 season. He will be back.

"Our team was extremely excited last night after the game when I informed them that Coach Pittman is our head coach and will be moving forward into the 2024 season," Yurachek said. "This has not been the season any of us anticipated. We have work to do. I am confident that together, we can meet the goals and expectations of our program. I want to thank the many Razorback fans who have supported our team this season. I look forward to honoring our seniors and cheering on this team on Friday as we take on Missouri."

The Razorbacks were in a brutal place when Pittman took over the program.

Pittman brought Arkansas back to relevancy after the end of the Bret Bielema era and the awful two-year stint for Chad Morris. In fact, a 20-game SEC losing streak was snapped during Pittman’s first season and he led the team to winning records in 2021 (9-4) and 2022 (7-6).

The Razorbacks have not been able to keep those winning ways going this season and have especially struggled on offense. Dan Enos, hired by Pittman to replace Kendal Briles as offensive coordinator, was fired after the 7-3 loss to Mississippi State. Enos lasted only eight games on the job.

Pittman, who has a 22-24 (11-22 SEC) record in Fayetteville, will be tasked with hiring another new offensive coordinator for the 2024 season.

Pittman, 61, spent decades as an offensive line coach before landing the Arkansas job, his first head-coaching position at the NCAA level. He coached the Razorbacks’ line from 2013 to 2015 and also had stops at Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.