FAYETTEVILLE The contracts were terminated for eight of Arkansas' nine full-time football assistant coaches last week, according to documents obtained Monday through an open records request by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Barry Lunney Jr., a former Arkansas player who has coached tight ends the past five seasons, was the only full-time assistant coach who was not terminated. Lunney has been on the road recruiting this week, although it has not been officially announced whether he will be retained on the staff of new head coach Chad Morris.
Coordinators Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads, and position coaches Kurt Anderson, Reggie Mitchell, Michael Smith, John Scott, Vernon Hargreaves and Chad Walker were informed of their termination in letters signed by Senior Associate Athletic Director Julie Cromer Peoples and dated Dec. 7 and Dec. 8. Strength coach Ben Herbert also was relieved of his duties Dec. 8.
In the letters, the coaches were instructed to return all university-issued property, including cellphones, computers and vehicles, by the end of business Monday.
All of the fired assistants were brought to Arkansas by former head coach Bret Bielema, who was fired Nov. 24 for convenience after the Razorbacks went 4-8 overall and 1-7 in SEC games. The university promises to pay up to six months salary to each of the coordinators and position coaches, pending mitigation, in the event a head coach is fired, according to standard language located in each of their offer letters.
The fired coordinators and position coaches had combined annual salaries of $3.595 million, meaning the university could owe up to $1,797,500 in buyout payments, a figure that would be offset by future earnings.
Because their contracts were terminated by the university, all of the assistant coaches are no longer subject to no-compete clauses that prohibited them from taking jobs at other Southeastern Conference programs.
The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that Rhoads would become the defensive backs coach at UCLA, but no official announcement of the hiring has been made. No movement has been reported for the other seven assistant coaches or Herbert.
Several UA assistants took to Twitter last week to post what appeared to be farewell messages to Arkansas fans and players, but university spokesmen did not confirm any staff changes when emailed last Friday.