FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Whether it is to replace Chad Morris or as the offensive line coach there’s plenty of support for Sam Pittman to return to Arkansas.
The offensive line hasn’t been the same since he left following the 2015 season. That isn’t a slight at Dustin Fry. I personally think he did a decent job considering the numbers were so low when he got to Arkansas. But the offensive line in 2015 was dominant and it was one built by Pittman.
Pittman was attracting top talent to Arkansas and he was getting them from different states. When Pittman opted to leave for Georgia he was replaced by Kurt Anderson. The line was never the same for Arkansas without Pittman despite repeated attempts by Bret Bielema to convince people he had upgraded from Pittman to Anderson.
Pittman has helped the Bulldogs build a talented offensive line and has them in the hunt for the SEC Championship. They lost a tough game at home to South Carolina and still have to go to Auburn this week and then host Texas A&M the following before closing out the regular season with Georgia Tech.
Here’s five things to know about Pittman.
Head Coaching Experience
Most aren’t aware that Pittman actually has been a head coach in college. He was the head coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College in 1992-93. They were 5-4-1 in 1992 and then 6-5 in 1993. He was the offensive line coach there in 1990. That had followed head coaching stints at a couple of high schools in Missouri, Princeton and Trenton.
Associate, Assistant Head Coach
He was assistant head coach at Northern Illinois (2004-06) and Arkansas (2013-15). He was associate head coach at North Carolina (2011) and Georgia (2019). Pittman coached for Butch Davis at North Carolina. In addition to Arkansas, Georgia and Hutchinson Community College, Pittman has coached the offensive line at Northern Illinois (1994-95, 2003-06), Cincinnati (1996), Oklahoma (1997-98), Western Michigan (1999), Missouri (2000), Kansas (2001), North Carolina (2007-11) and Tennessee (2012).
Pittman was born on Nov. 28, 1961, in El Reno (Okla.). He graduated from Grove (Okla.) High School and then attended college at Pittsburg (Kan.) State. Pittman played at Pittsburg State, where he was a first-team NAIA All-American and twice earned all-conference recognition. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and was inducted into the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998
He currently has five commitments for the offensive line in the Class of 2020. They are five-star Broderick Jones from Lithonia (Ga.). The rest are four-star recruits. They are Rome (Ga.) Darlington’s Tate Ratledge, New Orleans (La.) Warren Easton’s Sedrick Van Pran, League City (Texas) Clear Creek’s Chad Lindberg andd Live Oak (Fla.) Suwannee’s Joshua Braun.
Sends Them To NFL
Since 2013, eight players he has coached have been drafted, including two first-round picks, and three others have signed free agent contracts. In the past two seasons, four of his players have earned either All-America and/or All-SEC status: Isaiah Wynn, Solomon Kindley and Andrew Thomas in 2017, as well as Thomas and Lamont Gaillard in 2018.
Of Pittman’s eight drafted offensive linemen since 2013, Ja’Wuan James was selected 19th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 2014 and Travis Swanson became the highest Razorback center draft pick in school history when he was picked 76th overall by the Detroit Lions. In 2013, Jonathan Cooper, who was tutored by Pittman for four seasons at North Carolina, was the seventh overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals, the earliest an offensive guard had been taken since 1986.