When Sam Pittman started putting together a staff in December he probaby knew what he was looking for with position coaches long before he was able to start hiring anybody.
That’s what you get from coaches who have been around awhile.
That’s why other coaches talking to him about keeping wide receivers coach Justin Stepp at Arkansas got is attention.
“There were coaches that held me back after we were getting ready to leave (meetings) and talked to me personally about him,” Pittman said Friday in a teleconference with media members. “I don’t think he arranged that.”
Stepp also sold himself. He came in with the previous coaching staff and played a big role in landing big-time recruits such as Treylon Burks, Trey Knox, Mike Woods and others, but got Pittman’s attention quickly.
“Stepp volunteered to go on the road with me, which meant something,” Pittman said. “I saw how coaches looked at him, how recruits looked at him.”
The fact he’s a good guy helped.
“He’s a good person, good family,” Pittman said. “He fit that good man, good communicator role that I had kinda set for people that I want to hire, so we hired him.”
Having some deep recruiting ties in a border state also played a role.
“Obviously I’d seen what he’d recruited to the room before I got here and he had strong ties in East Texas and we need that,” Pittman said.
But he wasn’t the only option for the position.
“I had several guys I could have hired as wide receivers coach that would have done a nice job,” Pittman said. “But I just felt he was so good in the three days I was with him I felt like we needed to keep some continuity with the previous staff.”
Stepp is the only holdover on the staff, but Pittman said Friday he wasn’t necessarily disqualifying members of the previous staff.
“We were going to visit with everybody,” he said.
Some got other jobs. Others probably didn’t have what Pittman was looking for to win games in the SEC. They certainly hadn’t done that with the Razorbacks.
And what other coaches told him got his attention.
“They just felt very adamant that he was a good man and a good coach,” he said.
Pittman obviously agreed and kept the coach with maybe the deepest and most talented position group for the Hogs.