I'm not going to call any more hires a "home run" since people clearly have different definitions of what constitutes a "home run" hire. I'll use golf terms from here on out. This is a 5-foot flat-ground putt for birdie.
ESPN top 25 recruiter. Developed NFL talent. Highly regarded in the coaching community. Match him up with Bret Bielema's reputation for linemen and, voila! Good things are happening.
Here's the press release from UA:
FAYETTEVILLE - Sam Pittman, who has 27 years of experience with 19 coaching offensive line, has been named Arkansas' offensive line coach, head coach Bret Bielema announced Thursday.
"Sam Pittman has earned a reputation as one of the finest offensive line coaches and one of the most relentless recruiters in the nation," said Bielema. "His time with Jim Chaney is another bonus as we move forward with the development of our offensive philosophy. He has been a part of great programs where he played a major role in assembling highly ranked recruiting classes. He has demonstrated the ability to help linemen make remarkable improvement in a short amount of time. He also is able to relate to his players and simplify the game for them, which will benefit our aggressive offensive attack."
Pittman oversaw the offensive line for offensive coordinator Jim Chaney last season at Tennessee, when the Volunteers led the SEC and ranked fourth in the NCAA in fewest sacks allowed per game, following five seasons coaching the offensive line at North Carolina.
In 2012, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray passed for 3,619 yards and 34 touchdowns. His touchdowns were the seventh-most in a season in SEC history, and his passing yards ranked 11th in conference history. Bray also broke the Tennessee single-game record with 530 yards passing, a record previously held by Peyton Manning and the second-highest single-game total in SEC history.
Also during the 2012 season, wide receiver Justin Hunter ranked third in the SEC with 1,083 receiving yards and was fourth in the conference with an average of 6.1 receptions per game. His 73 catches ranked as the second-highest single-season total in UT history, and his receiving yards ranked third on the school's single-season list. As a team, Tennessee led the SEC and was fourth in the NCAA allowing an average of 0.67 sacks per game. The Vols also ranked 16th in the country in passing offense, 19th in total offense, 23rd in scoring offense and 33rd in passing efficiency.
The 2011 North Carolina team, with Pittman having been promoted to associate head coach, averaged 6.3 yards per play in the regular season, the second-best mark in the ACC. The UNC offensive line helped running back Giovani Bernard to 101.8 yards per game, a mark that led all NCAA freshmen and included seven 100-yard rushing games. Bernard's 14 rushing touchdowns ranked second nationally among freshmen.
Additionally, sophomore quarterback Bryn Renner led the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing efficiency, a category in which UNC led the conference as a team as well. The Tar Heels ranked fifth in the ACC in total offense at 396.6 while earning a berth in the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl.
Named one of the nation's top 25 recruiters by ESPN.com, Pittman twice signed the No. 2-rated offensive tackle in the country with Alex Hurst in 2010 and Kiaro Holt in 2011. Hurst, who started all 12 games at left tackle for UNC as a sophomore during the 2011 season, joined teammate and left guard Jonathan Cooper as the first Tar Heel tandem to earn All-ACC lineman honors since 1993.
Pittman also developed offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds, who earned second team All-ACC honors in 2008 and was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
Pittman joined the Tar Heels after four seasons as the offensive line coach at Northern Illinois from 2003-06, including three seasons as assistant head coach from 2004-06. During that time frame, the Huskies produced a pair of standout rushers in Garrett Wolfe and Michael Turner.
Wolfe led the nation in rushing with 1,928 yards in 2006, while Turner, who has earned two Pro Bowl selections with the Atlanta Falcons and led the NFC in rushing in 2010 and 2011, finished second in the nation as a senior at Northern Illinois in 2003 with 1,648 yards.
Pittman's first stint as offensive line coach for Northern Illinois was for two years, from 1994-95. Pittman also previously coached the offensive linemen at Kansas, Missouri, Western Michigan and Oklahoma (1997-98). He also coached offensive tackles and tight ends at Cincinnati.
Before coaching at NIU, Pittman spent two seasons as the head coach at Hutchinson Community College from 1992-93 after serving as the school's offensive line coach in 1991. He was a head coach in the high school ranks at Trenton High School in Missouri from 1989-90 and at Princeton High School, also in Missouri from 1987-88. He began his coaching career with a two-year stint as a student assistant at Pittsburg State from 1984-85, followed by one season as an assistant coach at Beggs High School in Oklahoma.
Pittman played defensive end 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 is married to the former Jamie Conrad.
Sam Pittman Coaching History
|Dec. 2012||Arkansas (Offensive Line)|
|2012||Tennessee (Offensive Line)|
|2011||North Carolina (Associate Head Coach/Offensive Line)|
|2007-10||North Carolina (Offensive Line)|
|2004-06||Northern Illinois (Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line)|
|2003||Northern Illinois (Offensive Line)|
|2001||Kansas (Offensive Line)|
|2000||Missouri (Offensive Line)|
|1999||Western Michigan (Offensive Line)|
|1997-98||Oklahoma (Offensive Line)|
|1996||Cincinnati (Offensive Tackles/Tight Ends)|
|1994-95||Northern Illinois (Offensive Line)|
|1992-93||Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College (Head Coach)|
|1991||Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College (Offensive Line)|
|1989-90||Trenton (Mo.) High School (Head Coach)|
|1987-88||Princeton (Mo.) High School (Head Coach)|
|1986||Beggs (Okla.) High School (Assistant Coach)|
|1984-85||Pittsburg State (Student Coach)|
Birthdate: Nov. 28, 1961
Home Town: El Reno, Okla.
Family: Wife, Jamie
Bowl Games: Independence Bowl, 2011; Music City Bowl, 2010; Meineke Car Care Bowl, 2009; Meineke Car Care Bowl, 2008; Poinsettia Bowl, 2006; Silicon Valley Classic, 2004