Smith Among Arkansas Assistants Rewarded

Arkansas announces a hefty pay raise and extension for defensive coordinator Rob Smith, rewards five other assistants and also announces it is finalizing details to do the same for three other assistants on staff.

Arkansas has officially extended the contract of defensive coordinator Robb Smith two years and given him and five other football assistants raises with three more coaches expected to have their deals finalized soon.

That announcement came Thurday via a press release from Razorback athletic director and Vice-Chancellor Jeff Long.

“We are pleased with the continued progress being made within our football program, both on and off the field, under the leadership of Coach Bret Bielema and his coaching staff,” Long said. “As the 2014 season progressed and momentum continued to build, we began discussions with Coach Bielema on ways to retain the quality coaches we have on our staff.

“After letting the season play out, we proposed extensions and pay increases to maintain the momentum of our program and remain highly competitive with coaches’ compensation within in the Southeastern Conference,” Long added.

Bielema, who directed a turnaround from 3-9 in 2013 to a 7-6 record and bowl win over Texas in 2014, was obviously pleased.

“I am appreciative of Jeff Long and our administration for working proactively to retain the outstanding coaches who are a part of our staff,” Bielema said. “This is another tremendous show of support for the direction of our program and a meaningful commitment to the success of Razorback Football.”

Smith, whose defense was ranked 10th nationally while he was making $500,000, gets an immediate $250,000 raise and will make $750,000 in 2015, $800,000 in 2016 and $850,000 in 2017.

Smith’s new contract has a $250,000 buyout if he takes another college coaching anytime from Jan. 1, 2015 to Feb. 15, 2018 and then $100,000 from Feb. 16, 2018 until June 30, 2018.

That buyout does not apply if he leave for an NFL defensive coordinator position or a college head coaching post.

"It’s an honor,' Smith said. "I’m very flattered by it. Here’s the thing: You have to go out and earn it every single day."

Offensive line coach Sam Pittman - whose offensive line has allowed just 22 sacks in two years - has his salary jump from $500,000 to $525,000 and his contract now runs through June 30, 2018.

Secondary coach Clay Jennings gets a $30,000 raise and will make $350,000 and now has an SEC no-compete clause in his deal that runs through June 30, 2017.

Tight end coach Barry Lunney and Rory Segrest will now be making $240,000 each with their contract extensions running through June 30, 2016.

Lunney’s pay raise is $40,000 while Segrest’s bump in $15,000.

Arkansas strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert salary increases from $300,000 to $330,000 in 2015 to $340,000 in 2016 and $350,000 in 2017.

The release noted that the school is in the process of finalizing new contract details for offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, running backs coach Joel Thomas and wide receivers coach Michael Smith.

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