Late last night, the University of Arkansas released details on most of the agreements reached to pay new assistant Razorback football coaches. It’s a payroll of more than $4.6 million for assistant coaches alone.
New head coach Chad Morris is being paid $3.5 million, a bit under the $4 million fifth-year coach Bret Bielema was being paid before he was fired at the end of the season. This makes total payroll around $8 million, exclusive of other perks including insurance, retirement contributions and numerous other benefits.
The UA responded to an Arkansas Times Freedom of Information Act request after the information was released publicly. The UA had refused FOI requests for preliminary documents on grounds — “active use” and “competitive disadvantage” — to which I had objected. It is still withholding some information.
Said Rebecca Morrison, who handles FOI requests, in an e-mail last night:
As previously shared, written agreements have been presented to all assistant coaches, and while agreed to in principle, not all have been executed or returned. However, we are at a point, we believe, that the competitive disadvantage of providing the offered financial terms of those agreements not fully executed is minimized and are willing to provide a summary of those terms of offer. While not obligated to create a record, we are attempting to be helpful. We will continue to supplement our responses with final executed copies of the other employment agreements as they are completed. We maintain the position that releasing drafts of unsigned agreements being negotiated places the university at a significant competitive disadvantage; therefore, we still consider those records to be exempt pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(b)(9).
John Chavis will be paid $995,000 as defensive coordinator through a combination of university salary and other enhancements under a deal that provides for a potential two-year extension in which pay could rise to $1.2 million. Other bonuses are possible — for bowl games, for example — and there are a variety of perks including health insurance, retirement contributions, tuition reductions, a car, moving expenses and private club membership. The agreement has an extensive section on payments in the event of termination by either party.
Another top hire, offensive coordinator Joe Cradduck, will be paid $600,000 according to a summary provided by UA, but his contract wasn’t included in those released. I have asked whether the $600,000 figure reported in the summary is university salary alone or represents the combination of university pay and other enhancements, for speaking appearances and the like, that have traditionally been the responsibility of the private Razorback Foundation.
Trumain Carroll will be paid $290,000 as head strength and conditioning coach, plus the assortment of perks.
Steve Caldwell will be paid $360,000 as defensive line coach, plus potential bonuses and perks.
Here’s the Caldwell contract.
Secondary coach Mark Smith will be paid $225,000, plus add-ons.
Running backs coach Jeff Traylor will be paid $370,000, plus add-ons.
Defensive line coach John Scott Jr. will be paid $340,000.
While we had made FOI requests for the top three coaches, the UA provided new contracts for most other hires by head coach Chad Morris and also offered this pay summary for other coaches whose contracts were not provided: