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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Sexton will play big role in Pittman's contract

by Wally Hall | December 14, 2021 at 2:32 a.m.

The last time Arkansas beat Texas, it followed with an eight-win season and Bret Bielema was given the keys to the Razorback Foundation vault by then-athletic director Jeff Long.

That new contract ended up costing the Razorback Foundation around $9 million after Bielema was fired. In order to get his buyout down to that number, it took some legal strong-arming by both parties.

Bielema is not the only instant millionaire in the game of college football, Gus Malzahn and numerous others have left jobs with more money than they would have ever envisioned when they got into coaching football.

College coaching salaries have become outrageous, and at some point it has to stop.

For now, though, big salaries are with us and don't appear to be going anywhere.

Which brings us to Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman's desire to get a new contract. Yes, he is currently under a contract with the UA that has gone from $3 million a year to $3.75 million a year.

He earned raises by winning six, then seven, then eight games this season.

Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek believes in incentives and that raises are earned.

Apparently Pittman noticed LSU is paying Brian Kelly $8.9 million to coach the Tigers. Ole Miss raised Lane Kiffin to $7.2 million.

Neither coach faced the mountain of challenges Pittman did when he came to Arkansas.

Sometime near the end of the season, Yurachek said he and Pittman would be visiting about a contract extension after the season.

More than likely he meant after the Outback Bowl and with agent Judy Henry in the negotiation.

Pittman most likely meant after the bowl game as well, but when he switched to Jimmy Sexton for representation -- and he has said that is for him and his staff -- the game changed.

Two days after bowl preparations began, Sexton delivered his initial contract offer.

It is for a little more than $50 million for seven years, or almost double what Pittman is scheduled to make.

Of course, it was a first offer, so perhaps Sexton realized it was high for a coach who is 11-11 after two seasons.

Or maybe he didn't. Only Sexton knows.

Sexton is a shrewd businessman and top shelf negotiator who has one goal, get his client as much money as he can, which also means more money for Sexton who works on a commission.

Sexton cannot afford to worry about the programs or schools he negotiates with.

He doesn't take no personally, but he takes them seriously and he's got the reputation for winning negotiations.

There have been coaches who received raises because some other school was interested in them, only for it to turn out the school wasn't interested in Sexton's client.

So expect to hear rumors like -- and this is just an example -- if Mike Leach leaves Mississippi State next year, the Bulldogs are coming after Pittman.

It is part of the way the game is played.

Yurachek has had one short experience with Sexton early in Arkansas' coaching search two years ago. Lane Kiffin was interested in Arkansas and its offer. Sexton, who represents Kiffin, apparently told Yurachek that Ole Miss had beat the offer by $100,000. But if Yurachek countered with another $100,000, Sexton felt the deal would be done.

Yurachek said no thanks. He was not interested in a bidding war.

The best guess here, at least at this time, is Yurachek will make a counter offer that will again include incentives, and it will be up to Pittman to take it or leave it.

Sexton is powerful but he can't say yes or no to offers, just present them and offer advice.

Print Headline: Sexton will play big role in Pittman's contract


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