Bowden Salary Supplement

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas' attempt to hire Clemson coach Tommy Bowden to replace Houston Nutt hit a snag Monday night, but Bowden could take the job today.

There was no word on what caused the delay, but it's possible Bowden was simply struggling with the thought of leaving his home of the past nine years.

The board of the Razorback Foundation was asked to conduct a 7 p.m. Monday conference call to agree to supplement Bowden's salary, but that meeting was pushed back until 9 p.m. A few minutes after the appointed hour, there was word that the conference call would be held at 9 a.m. today.

One source explained there was no reason for the foundation to consider specifics until athletic director Jeff Long was certain that Bowden would say yes. Apparently, Long and Bowden were together in South Carolina and Bowden was expected to provide an answer prior to the conference call.

The Razorback Foundation would be responsible for any money paid Bowden above the state pay scale.

For instance, Nutt made a state salary of about $330,000, but his total package was about $1.5 million, including deferred compensation of $250,000 per year, $600,000 for his TV and radio shows, and $250,000 per year for speaking engagements.

Bowden's total package could be about $2.5 million or so annually, including money that Bowden could use to pay off a $2.5 million buyout at Clemson.

Clemson made Bowden a counter-offer, a source said Monday night. But a high-ranking Clemson official said he doesn't believe the offer will be enough to keep Bowden from going to Arkansas.

UA Board of Trustees chairman Stanley Reed said earlier Monday that he didn't think the university would ask for foundation approval unless officials believed that Bowden would accept the offer.

Reed said Long made the decision to try and hire Bowden and that Chancellor John White wanted feedback from the Board of Trustees on the possible hiring. Reed said he provided that feedback after informal conversations with several board members. He said some board members had reservations about the hire and that he communicated those to White.

Such reservations likely include the feeling that the hiring of Bowden, son of Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden, is a lateral move for Arkansas.

Clemson completed a 9-3 regular season with a 23-21 victory over in-state rival South Carolina on Nov. 24, but lost the previous week to Boston College when the ACC Atlantic Division championship was on the line. Clemson will play in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, ironically against Auburn and Tommy Tuberville, who was mentioned early in speculation about Nutt's successor.

Although Clemson has never had a losing season in Bowden's nine years, the Tigers did not win an Atlantic Coast Conference championship from 1999-2004 and have not done better than second in the division since the ACC split in 2005. More than once, he has been identified as a coach on the hot seat.

Reed said he believed Bowden, who coached with Long at Duke in the mid-'80s, had an impeccable record and he used "integrity" and "character" to describe Bowden's football program.

Bowden's name rose to the top of the speculation before noon on Monday and, at one point, there was word that the deal was done. People in the know kept saying that was not true.

Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips, a former Arkansas defensive lineman in the late 1960s, could not be reached Monday because he was in New York City. He's not expected to return to Clemson until late Wednesday night.

Bowden has a 69-41 record at Clemson. The Chick-fll-A Bowl will be the Tigers' eighth under Bowden. The Tigers declined a bowl bid after the 2004 season as a self-imposed punishment for a fight that occurred in the South Carolina game.

Bowden is also no stranger to Arkansas interim coach Reggie Herring, who served as Bowden's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Clemson from 1999-2001.

Herring, who will coach the No. 25 Razorbacks when they face No. 7 Missouri in the Cotton Bowl, declined to comment about Bowden on Monday.

ESPN reported Monday that Bowden was among three candidates known to have interviewed for the Arkansas job. Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English and Tulsa co-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn were the other two, the network said.

Malzahn, who led Springdale High to a state championship in 2005, served as Arkansas' offensive coordinator for one season before leaving last January for Tulsa.

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