That was a melancholy article in the sports section in this morning’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, with quotes from head Hog football coach Bret Bielema and a couple of assistants about getting ready for what most believe to be Bielema’s final game as coach.

A head coaching change inevitably means changes in assistant coaches, too.


Bielema said he had no regrets and even sounded a hopeful note, citing improved records this year by some other teams.

“All these teams had a dip-down year,” Bielema said. “Now, I didn’t have the prior success, I get it. But what we took over, what we’ve built and what’s coming back is a very exciting time.”

Top assistants Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads also acknowledged the talk of changes in the coaching staff, but said that was part of the business. They’ve been fired before. Said Enos:


We can take it. We can handle it. Obviously when you’re 4-7, we know people aren’t going to be running around trying to have a parade for us or build statues of us in front of the stadium. We get all that..

The expected change in leadership would come with financial complications — both a deal with a new coach, or coaches, and settling up with the old ones. (UA also has an athletic director to hire to succeed Jeff Long, who made $1 million a year and buyout worth up to more than $4 million.) So, for the record:

Head coach Bret Bielema has a contract that runs through 2020. There are different opinions on what his buyout is worth , between $5 and $6 million by one account, but much more by an original contract that has since been altered.


The assistant coaches, with one exception, have contracts that only run through June 30, 2018. The terms in them generally provide for the time remaining on contracts should they be terminated, or up to six months. A change in head coach is an event that can give rise to a termination for “convenience.” 

The coach payroll adds up to about $8 million, not counting a variety of perks such as cars and tickets to games.

Bret Bielema, head coach, has a current pay level of $4.2 million and a contract through 2020: Here is his contract.

Dan Enos. The offensive coordinator is paid $800,000. His contract runs through June 30, 2020.  See his most recent contract here.


Paul Rhoads. The defensive coordinator makes $700,000, His most recent contract here.

Michael Smith. The receivers’ coach makes $400,000,

Chad Walker. The linebacker coach makes $375,000.

Kurt Anderson The offensive line coach is paid $370,000,

Barry Lunney.
The tight ends coach makes $350,000.

John Scott. The defensive line coach is paid $340,000

Reggie Mitchell.
The running back coach makes $310,000.

Vernon Hargreaves. The linebacker coach is paid $300,000

All the coaches have contracts with incentives based on performance on the field, such as a conference championship, but none of those will be applicable this year. Bielema can qualify for $50,000 for meeting a couple of academic standards.