FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) — You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the new Razorback head football coach Sam Pittman. He is building a rock-solid staff and he’s signed some highly sought-after recruits.
But there’s a soft side to him too. You saw him cry at the podium, and he vowed loyalty to the program. And the secret weapon behind it all ― his wife, Jamie.
In an instant, Coach Pittman brought life to a failing Razorback football program. He turned haters into loyal fans again with his low-key, rock-solid way.
But, this story is not about Sam Pittman. It’s about a woman from Pittsburg, Kansas, who now bleeds Razorback red.
“Even today I still pinch myself, like am I really doing this interview right now,” she said as she laughed.
Her name is Jamie Pittman. She’s tough to miss.
Before Coach Pittman even signed his contract, it was his wife Jamie he embraced and kissed. Walking in for his official introduction ― it was Jamie by his side.
Even Coach Pittman himself joked about Jamie being the first 6-star back in 1986. “My recruiting skills started a long time ago,” Coach Pittman laughed as he giddily talked about his wife to Razorback nation. It was Jamie who was his first and best recruit.
Coach and Jamie married quickly. After dating for three months, the two got engaged, and then married about a year later.
She knew right away, Sam was the man for her.
Fast forward 34 years later and this girl’s not in Kansas anymore.
Coach Pittman was hired as the 34th head football coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks in December 2019. Jamie remembers that moment, the feeling of the day they made their way back to Fayetteville for the second time in their life.
“We went to JJ’s – a sports bar here in Fayetteville, and we love JJ’s – and we went in there, and they started calling the Hogs when we walked in,” she remembered. “It was awesome.”
Coach Pittman was the offensive-line coach under former Razorback coach Bret Bielema back in 2013, and it was then Jamie had grown to love the town. She felt like it was home.
But, the Georgia Bulldogs came calling.
“So when we left, I was mad.” Jamie said. “I was mad at Sam for about a year – took me about a year to get over it. I was like ‘I can’t believe you moved me again.'”
“We did not get a divorce when we left Arkansas for a year,” Coach said in his welcome speech to Razorback nation, “but she did not talk to me for a year when I was in Athens, because she just loved Arkansas.”
“I grew to love everything about it, the people are so nice here and welcoming. At the time I thought it might be our last move,” Jamie told us.
It was not – not yet anyway.
To Georgia they went, and despite her being upset, she supported Coach every step of the way. But you can imagine how she felt then when she heard the head coaching job was open at Arkansas.
“I think I was too scared to get my hopes up, so I kinda just put it on the back burner,” Jamie said.
It wasn’t on the back burner long. On Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek flew to Georgia to see the Pittman’s in person.
“So I was so nervous and I wanted everything to work out so good,” Jamie said. “I ran to Starbucks and got a jug of coffee for the A.D., all the pastries, had everything all set out on the table, so when they came in, I was trying to be the good hostess.”
Jamie said Coach was just as excited and she could just feel his excitement sitting next to him.
“He was like almost a little rag doll when they offered him the job,” she said. “His shoulders sank and he sat down and just starting crying. He’s very emotional, but he was just so happy. I was so happy, and we were just so thankful.”
Yurachek told the Pittman’s to pack their bags as a plane awaited to take them back to Arkansas that same night. Jamie was told she had 10 minutes to throw whatever she wanted in a bag to back to Arkansas.
“We jumped on the plane and it was so funny because I told Hunter, ‘Let me get more comfortable I think I’ll put on a Nike jogging suit for the plane ride home,’ and he’s like ‘Oh no, don’t do that Jamie,’” she said.
Jamie had no idea what awaited them when they landed in Arkansas territory.
“He was like, ‘There’s gonna be people waiting to see you,’” Jamie said. And sure enough as soon as we landed they landed, over 300 people were at the airport hollering at the new head Hogs in charge.
“We were just so happy – never will forget it,” Jamie said.
The tears flowed the next day too as an emotional Coach Pittman began to address Razorback nation.
“So I look up at him and he’s starting to shake and he starts crying,” Jamie said. “So I’m not crying, but he’s blubbering like a big baby three different times and I said, ‘We’re not supposed to cry remember?'”
It’s a dream come true Jamie said for both of them. A girl from Kansas who’s now commonly referred to as ‘Momma Hog’
“I’m Momma Hog, I guess. The boys call me Momma Hog – I don’t know if I like that,” she laughed. “Momma Hog. It’ll be neat, I’m excited!”
And all of Arkansas is excited too, Momma Hog!
Coach and Jamie don’t have children of their own, but they feel every year they have 104 of them.
Jamie said they plan to give this their everything.