Bielema: Sam Pittman is a 'premium recruiter'

Bielema: Sam Pittman is a 'premium recruiter'

Sam Pittman, who spent last season at Tennessee, is making his mark on Arkansas' staff.

Sam Pittman, who spent last season at Tennessee, is making his mark on Arkansas’ staff.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t says a lot about an assistant coach’s ability when Nick Saban comes calling. It also says something when that assistant tells him thanks but no thanks.

When Jeff Stoutland left Alabama for the Philadelphia Eagles in February, Saban found himself looking for an offensive line coach.

One of the first people he wanted speak with was Sam Pittman.

Pittman, who had joined Bret Bielema’s staff at Arkansas two months before, decided to remain in Fayetteville.

His loyalty was soon rewarded with a two-year contract extension and a hefty raise from $275,000 a year to $550,000.

That move is already paying dividends, with Pittman leading by example through his work ethic on the recruiting trail.

“Whenever we have office duty, he’s usually in here an hour before. And if he’s recruiting 30 offensive linemen, he Facebooks 15 and Tweets the other 15,” Bielema told the media last week. “He has just constant communication and his personality, you guys have been around him a little bit, he’s engaging.”

Bielema said that Pittman, who spent last year at Tennessee staff following five seasons at North Carolina, has become an unofficial leader of the staff’s recruiting efforts.

“He’s a premium recruiter and the more I can put to Sam and say, ‘This is how Pitt does it. The rest of us should be following,’” he said.

Bielema has been vocal that one of the reasons he left Wisconsin was the difficulty he experienced retaining assistants.

“One of the things I’ve always kind of just prided myself on as a head coach, but also before I became a head coach, I realized how much of an affect assistant coaches have on a program,” he said in February. “It’s one thing for a head coach to deliver a message and say certain things. But the assistant coaches have to be in tune with that message, believe in that message and will relay that message when they’re in their position meetings and they’re dealing with those players.

“It takes a long time to cultivate that and it’s good when you’re able to retain it.”

Photo credit: Angela Lewis / Chattanooga Times Free Press

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