Arkansas head coach Sam Pitman signed his new contract extension which increases his annual salary to $5 million per year for the next four years through December 31, 2026, retroactive to January 1, 2022. On April 16, 2022, the vice- Arkansas Intercollegiate Athletics Chancellor Hunter Yurachek announced that the University of Arkansas and Pittman had agreed to terms, but it took a month and a half for attorneys to get everything done and all parties sign. Here is the complete contract of 21 pages (VIP).
The contract will automatically be extended for a fifth year, through Dec. 31, 2027, if Arkansas wins seven games in a single season, and that includes a bowl win over a Power 5 opponent. Pittman previously won 3 million per year, and the new agreement also contains pay escalations “based on the number of wins per season and incentive bonuses based on playoff success.
Pittman cannot leave Arkansas on his own and seek another SEC head coaching job under the terms of the new deal. This non-competition will be lifted if it is terminated for convenience by the AU.
Pittman hired Jimmy Sexton as his agent in the offseason, and Yurachek was on the other side of the negotiations. Rumors began to spread that a deal was struck during the ‘Spring Showcase’ on April 16. It’s no secret that it was a great weekend for visiting rookies, with prospects in the 2023, 2024 and 2025 classes close at hand. Pittman and Yurachek were able to reassure these players that the man they are hiring as head coach will be in Arkansas for the rest of his coaching career.
“Arkansas is where I want to be, it’s my dream job,” Pittman said. “I am so grateful to our university and Hunter for believing in me, our coaches and staff and the program we are building. We are all excited to continue building on what we have done and to continue to make our fans and the entire state of Arkansas proud of our football team.
The new contract makes Pittman the highest-paid head coach in Arkansas history. Bret Bielema previously held that accolade at $4.2 million, which was slightly higher than the basketball coach’s Eric Mousselmanis a $4 million contract. Technically, his annual salary is $500,000 with “other compensation” for speaking engagements, television and radio appearances, sponsorships and so on that add up to an additional $4.5 million.
The contract includes bonuses for certain achievements. Pittman will receive a (non-cumulative) bonus of $250,000 if the program wins seven or more games, $500,000 for eight wins and $750,000 for nine. Each level has been increased by one win over the previous deal. For his old contract, he got a $250,000 bonus for six wins, not seven.
“For clarity and by way of example, in the event that the Program wins eight (8) Games during the 2022 season, one (1) additional contract year will be added to the Term, and the other amounts of compensation for policy years 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027 each increase by $500,000.
Retaining payment. In addition to Coach’s annual salary and other compensation, Coach will be eligible for up to three (3) retention payments (“Retention Payment(s)”). Subject to all applicable state and federal tax reporting and withholding requirements, withholding payments will be payable (i) on December 31, 2024, (ii) on December 31, 2026, and (iii) in the event that the term is extended pursuant to Section 1, December 31, 2027. Retention payments will be made to Coach in a lump sum in the following amounts:
Effective date – December 31, 2024 $3,300,000
January 1, 2025 – December 31, 2026 $2,700,000
January 1, 2027 – December 31, 2027 $1,500,000 (if term is extended as per section 1)
The retention payments listed above reflect the additional compensation the Coach is eligible to accrue each contract year as follows: (i) $1,000,000 for contract year 2022, (ii) $1,100,000 for the 2023 contract year, (iii) $1,200,000 for the 2024 contract (iv) $1,300,000 for the 2025 contract year, (v) $1,400,000 for the 2026 contract year, (vi) and $1,500,000 for contract year 2027 (if term is extended as per Section 1).
If terminated for convenience by the University of Arkansas, just like its former agreement described, UA shall pay an amount equivalent to 75% of its remaining annual compensation from the date of termination until at the end of the agreement. However, if the program’s winning percentage is less than 50% on the date of termination, UA will only play Pittman 50% of what would otherwise be owed to him.
If terminated for cause by the University of Arkansas and does not accept another position as a coach, scout or football analyst before the expiration of the term (including any extension), the coach will receive a pro-rated amount on a daily basis from the start date of any current and previously unpaid retention payment period set forth above on the date of the notice of termination. For example, if UA terminates the Agreement for convenience on November 30, 2024, Coach will be entitled to receive a prorated portion of the $3,300,000 Retention Payment to be paid on December 31, 2024, but not will not be entitled to receive any part of the Retention Payment to be paid on December 31, 2026, or any part of the Retention Payment to be paid (if any) on December 31, 2027.
Its benefits include a football skybox and tickets (a skybox suite with 12 seats) plus an additional 20 free home game tickets, loaner vehicle or car allowance (valued not to exceed $8,400 per year) and country club memberships at Blessings, Paradise Valley Athletic Club and Fayetteville Athletic Club.
If he wins the college football championship game, he wins a million dollars. He receives $750,000 for making an appearance in the game (compared to $500,000 in the old deal, which he now gets for appearing in a semi-final game). He receives $250,000 if the team makes the Rose, Fiesta, Peach, Sugar, Cotton or Orange bowls. He gets $150,000 for a level 2 bowl appearance and $100,000 for a level 3. These bonuses are not cumulative. He receives $250,000 for winning the SEC Championship Game or $100,000 for his appearance. If he is named Coach of the Year, he receives $25,000 and $50,000 for being named NCAA Coach of the Year. Pittman can also receive $25,000 if 90% or more of students graduate in a given year when their eligibility is exhausted. He gets $12,500 if the number is 80-89%.