FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – One of the biggest questions surrounding the start of the Sam Pittman era now has an answer. First reported by Football Scoop, then confirmed by Pittman himself, former Missouri head coach Barry Odom will be the next defensive coordinator at Arkansas.
It was a move that appeared telegraphed from the start, at least for those active enough on Twiter to notice that Pittman had been interacting with Odom ever since his firing from Missouri two weeks ago. Pittman and Odom both grew up in Oklahoma, and are reportedly good friends, despite never coaching together in the past. Odom would mark the second addition to Pittman’s staff from Missouri, joining offensive line coach Brad Davis.
Prior to his time at Missouri, Odom was the defensive coordinator at Memphis from 2012-2014. The Tigers defense was ranked 105th in scoring when Odom took over, and 11th when he left for Missouri.
He took the defensive coordinator job at Missouri in 2015, and was promoted to head coach at his alma mater when Gary Pinkel retired following the 2015 season.
In his four years coaching Missouri, Odom compiled a 25-25 record. He went 6-6 in his final season, beating Arkansas at War Memorial Stadium the day before he was fired.
One of the biggest questions about the Pittman hire was his lack of head coaching experience. This move addressees that somewhat, adding a coach with years of not only head coaching experience, but experience in the SEC.
There’s also the question of the Battle Line Rivalry, which Arkansas and Missouri fans have been slow to embrace. While it may always feel slightly manufactured, the addition of multiple former Missouri coaches to the Arkansas staff can only add to the many storylines going into the game every year.
Odom inherits one of the worst defenses in school history, and a unit that has seen little in terms of consistency. He would be the fifth DC since 2013, a stretch of historic forgetfulness for the Razorbacks on the defensive end.
Odom was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, and played linebacker at Missouri from 1996-1999.