FAYETTEVILLE – Known since last week to be new Arkansas coach Sam Pittman’s new defensive coordinator, former Missouri head coach Barry Odom officially was announced Monday by the Razorbacks as their defensive coordinator.
Odom replaces John Chavis, Arkansas’ defensive coordinator the past two years not retained at the conclusion of the 2019 season during which head coach Chad Morris was fired with two games remaining.
Ironically, Odom’s last game as Missouri’s coach was defeating Arkansas, 24-14 the Nov. 29 day after Thanksgiving. He was fired Nov. 30 despite being a Mizzou grad and former Tigers linebacker who inherited a 2016 team that had gone through campus turmoil in 2015 and would go 4-8, 7-6, 8-5 and 6-6 under Odom, previously Mizzou’s defensive coordinator.
This past season Odom had to keep the Tigers going despite NCAA probation because of a former tutor’s involvement in academic irregularities involving three sports.
Odom’s Mizzou teams always were renowned defensively and nationally ranked 14th in total defense (312 yards per game average) and 17th in scoring defense (19.4 points per game) and seventh nationally and second in the SEC in pass defense.
Odom previously was defensive coordinator in 2014 at Memphis when former Memphis coach Justin Fuente’s Tigers went 10-3 while ranking fifth nationally in scoring defense (17.1 points per game) and 22nd in total defense (343.3 yards per game.
Pittman and Odom, both from Oklahoma, are longtime friends “for almost 20 years now,” Pittman has said.
“He tried to hire me when he was at Missouri,” Pittman was quoted. “What a great guy and great coach. Missouri went on probation and nobody left his team. So that tells you a lot about who he is.”
MASON JONES HONORD AGAIN
Mason Jones’ career 41 points leading Arkansas’ 98-79 men’s basketball victory over Tulsa last Saturday at Walton Arena earned the Razorbacks junior guard SEC Player of the Week.
The SEC Office announced Jones’ honor Monday in Birmingham, Ala.
In addition to his 41 points, Jones against Tulsa posted a team leading four steals and four assists and hit 5 of 11 3-pointers and sank 12 of 13 free throws.
It marked the second time this season that Jones has been voted SEC Player of the Week.
Coach Eric Musselman’s 9-1 Razorbacks next play Valparaiso at 7 p.m. Saturday at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock.
While the Razorbacks practice this week around the UA’s fall semester final exams, Valpo of the Missouri Valley Conference has a busy week on the court.
The 6-4 Crusaders of Valparaiso, Ind.m were set to play Charlotte Monday night in Charlotte, N.C. and stay in North Carolina for Wednesday night’s game against High Point.
Coach Mike Neighbors’ 10-1 Razorbacks women have a similar practice schedule around finals like Musselman’s men before opening Saturday’s basketball doubleheader at Simmons Bank Arena against the University of Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans at 1 p.m.
Little Rock’s women host the Memphis Tigers tonight at the Jack Stephens Center.
Returning much from their 2019 SEC West champions and College World Series team has netted Coach Dave Van Horn’s Razorbacks a preseason Top Ten ranking by the Collegiate Baseball publication. Collegiate Baseball rates Arkansas ninth nationally.
BASEBALL HOGS PROJECTED 9TH NATIONALLY
The Razorbacks return No. 2 and No. 3 starting sophomore pitchers Connor Noland of Greenwood and Patrick Wicklander, and position player starters shortstop Casey Martin, outfielders Heston Kjerstad and Christian Franklin and catcher Casey Opitz.