Arkansas hires Caldwell, Cinkovich

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino announced Steve Caldwell and Kris Cinkovich to fill two voids on his staff Wednesday.

FAYETTEVILLE – It didn't take long for Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino to find the replacements for vacancies on his coaching staff.

Petrino introduced former Tennessee assistant Steve Caldwell as defensive ends coach and UNLV assistant Kris Cinkovich as receivers coach Wednesday. Caldwell replaces Kirk Botkin, who was informed Sunday he would not be retained on the Razorback staff next season. Cinkovich replaces Paul Petrino, who left Arkansas last month for Illinois.

"I've known Kris and Steve for a number of years and know the transition for our program will be smooth," Petrino said in a release through the University of Arkansas media relations office. "Steve's experience in the Southeastern Conference will be invaluable and the record of success Kris has had with wide receivers speaks for itself. They are both relentless recruiters and great teacher who are familiar with our philosophy."

A graduate of Arkansas State University, Caldwell spent 13 years under former coach Phillip Fulmer at Tennessee, where he also served as recruiting coordinator. There he helped lead the Volunteers to the 1998 national championship and two SEC titles while coaching a defense that 10 times ranked among the league's top four.

"It's a blessing to be here," Caldwell said Wednesday. "After spending 40 years in football, sitting out this fall made me realize how much I really missed the game. I just thank God that I have this opportunity to coach again."

The 54-year-old had been speculated to be interested in Arkansas if a job ever came open after attending multiple practices in Fayetteville last spring. Known as an ace recruiter, Caldwell has several ties to the Natural State. He was key in stealing away several Arkansans to Tennessee during his time with the Vols, including wide receivers Bret Smith (Warren) and Slick Shelly (Fort Smith Southside), and running back Cedric Houston (Clarendon).

"With a background in the state of Arkansas I feel like I bring some things to the table recruiting-wise and football-wise" Caldwell said. "I feel like I can help this staff and it's privilege to be here.

"I'm looking forward to recruiting this state as a Razorback."

Caldwell said with his background in Arkansas he anticipates having a portion of the state, as well as other duties in Oklahoma and the midwest.

Both coaches have ties to Petrino. Caldwell coached with the Razorback head coach at Nevada in 1994 and Cinkovich played alongside Petrino at Carroll Community College in the early 1980s.

Cinkovich has spent the last six seasons as receivers coach for UNLV after bouncing around the Nevada high school circuit for more than a decade.

"I've had a long-term relationship with Coach Petrino going all the way back to Carroll College when we both played for his father, who had a great influence on my coaching career and my coaching beliefs," Cinkovich said. "We've maintained our relationship throughout the years. I've always been a proponents of the way he teaches and the system that he runs. I've been using that for myself over the years and I'm anxious to get in here and apply that and what I know to this great football program.

Courtesy: UNLV
Cinkovich played alongside Bobby Petrino at Carroll Community College.
"I worked for a great coach at Carroll College named Bob Petrino that said every day you either get better or you get worse, but you never stay the same. As a teacher and a coach that's my number one job that we'll get better every day."

Cinkovich replaces Paul Petrino, who also served as the team's offensive coordinator. Ironically, Cinkovich served as Carroll's offensive coordinator when Paul Petrino was a quarterback there in the late '80s. He also replaced current Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee as receivers coach at UNLV in 2004.

Having spent so much time in Nevada, Cinkovich said it will be a learning curve adjusting to recruiting the SEC.

"I know some people that live here and I made a trip out here last February to visit with Bobby and Paul," Cinkovich said. "I'm anxious to learn a lot more (about Arkansas) and I do have a lot to learn about it. I'm coming with an open mind and great enthusiasm. I'd like to think I approach my coaching the same way.

"I'm confident I'll do what I need to get done to be a great recruiter for the University of Arkansas."

Cinkovich said preliminary discussions with the coach have found he will either recruit north Florida or Houston. Paul Petrino recruited Florida while Botkin handled duties in Houston.

"The final decision hasn't been made yet," he said.



Sept. 20, 1955, Thayer, Mo.


Thayer High School; Arkansas State University 1977; Master's, Arkansas State University 1978


Linebacker and Defensive End, Arkansas State 1974-77


Arkansas State 1978-80, Northwest Mississippi Community College 1981-84, Arkansas State 1985-89, Tennessee 1990, Pacific 1991-93, Nevada 1994, Mississippi 1994-95, Tennessee 1995-2008


Leisa Henley Caldwell


Daughter: Lauren

Sons: Landon and Lendl


1991 Sugar, 1996 Florida Citrus, 1997 Florida Citrus, 1998 Orange, 1999 Fiesta, 2000 Fiesta, 2001 Cotton, 2002 Florida Citrus, 2002 Peach, 2004 Peach, 2005 Cotton, 2007 Outback, 2008 Outback.



Sept. 30, 1960


Carroll College, 1984 – bachelor's degree; Central Washington, 1987 – master's degree


Spokane Falls Community College, 1979-80 – OL; Carroll College, 1981-82 – OL


Central Washington 1986; Carroll College 1987-89; Oregon Tech 1990; UNLV 1991; Green Valley High School 1992-94; Las Vegas High School 1995-2003; UNLV 2004-2009


Joanie Cinkovich


Daughters: Carly and Stephanie

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