Arkansas coach Sam Pittman takes pride in being a little old-school, as the saying goes. He’s been coaching since 1984, mostly in the South and Midwest.
And while Pittman has embraced the newer changes in college football – like the transfer portal and conference realignment – some things still irk him, even though he knows he can’t change them.
Arkansas’ recovery after a loss like it suffered Saturday against Brigham Young used to be just put your head down and go to work on Monday. Pittman still embraces that philosophy, but it’s more difficult now, he said.
“It’s hard because the addition of social media has been the addition, not of opinions so much, but negative,” Pittman said. “It used to be like, ‘you gotta do better.’ It was not ‘you suck.’ Now the comments have nothing to do really with happened in the game.”
Pittman came under the hottest fire he has been under in his three-plus years as Arkansas coach after that loss Saturday. Some fans – wrongly – are calling for his job. Putting the players in the mix, men in their late teens and early 20s, who take social media with more seriousness than Pittman, 61, does, and it’s downright impossible to completely ignore.
“It is (harder) because you want to please the people,” Pittman said. “You can’t always do that. That’s the hard part about our job and I would imagine the hard part about being a student-athlete.”
Pittman’s personality has been one of his biggest positive traits. He’s good with fans and media, both locally and nationally. When things have gone south, though, those adoring comments about his relaxed personality turn into barbs about how he wants to be the players’ friend too much.
They’re ridiculous comments from an ignorant bunch, but in this day and age, they compound difficulties.
“We all have feelings,” Pittman said. “And when you let people down, you’re already beating yourself and somebody is beating the hell out of you, I think it’s a little bit harder to recover.”