How close are Barry Odom and Sam Pittman? Arkansas DC says he tried to hire former OL coach 'a number of times'
There’s no doubt, Sam Pittman has impressed many with his ability to build a coaching staff in his first attempt to do so at the highest level of college football.
Not long after Pittman was hired in Fayetteville to run the Arkansas program, a decision which was quickly criticized by many around the SEC, the first-year head coach landed arguably the nation’s best defensive coordinator without a job by getting Barry Odom to join him on The Hill.
Odom’s decision came not long after losing his head coaching position at Missouri, which was a surprise to many, and was followed by the hires of offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, formerly of Florida State, and special teams coordinator Scott Fountain from Georgia.
In a matter of days, Arkansas upgraded at all three positions thanks to Pittman’s connections and his strong reputation in the coaching world.
That’s something Odom referenced during a recent appearance on Arkansas-based radio station 103.7 FM The Buzz, when discussing his desire to join Pittman at Arkansas.
“I’ve known [Pittman] for a long time and he is very genuine. He’s an honest, hard-working man with great values and character,” Odom said. “I knew he was going to run the program with integrity, he’s going to deal and honesty and trust in the values that I wanted to align with.
“He’s going to be successful. He has been at every stop that he’s been. He’s surrounded himself around a lot of great people but he doesn’t give enough credit, in my opinion at this point on what he has put forth guiding us, guiding our organization through the last few months, and I’m honored to be a part of the staff.”
That’s more than just simple words for his new boss, too. According to Odom, he tried on several occasions to pull Pittman away from Kirby Smart at Georgia but also failed to do so.
“I tried to hire Sam a number of times and never could get it done. He told me no a lot over my career and now we’re working together,” Odom added. “He is so well respected in the business because of the things that he’s built his career on — just being a really good guy. And he’s a great leader and he cares, man he cares about our student-athletes. It’s so genuine. The kids are going have a lot of fun playing for him, I know that.”
It may be easy for some to question Odom’s comments but considering all the job opportunities he likely had in front of him after losing the Missouri job, the defensive coordinator certainly didn’t waste any time accepting Pittman’s offer to coach the Arkansas defense. That says a lot more than words ever could.