Over the past few weeks, rumors and speculation regarding the future of the Arkansas football program have been dominating the conversation.
Following the firing of Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Mississippi State’s Zach Arnett last Sunday, many expected Arkansas to follow suit. To the surprise of many, they didn’t and Sam Pittman’s job seemed safe throughout the week.
During his press conferences in the week leading up to Saturday night’s 44-20 win over FIU, Pittman sounded like a coach relatively confident in their job security. Shortly before kickoff, ESPN’s Rod Gilmore reported that Pittman told them that he wasn’t getting fired this year – despite Pittman refuting Gilmore’s claim in his postgame press conference.
Fast forward to Sunday morning and numerous reports were circulating that Hunter Yurachek had let players and staff know that Pittman was returning as Arkansas’ head coach for the 2024 season. That afternoon, Yurachek confirmed those reports with a statement of his own.
As expected, a large majority of Razorback fans were not happy with this news. Many took to social media to voice their opinions and frustrations with the situation and direction of Arkansas football going forward.
Here’s some what they’re saying about Pittman remaining at Arkansas for another season.
This seems to be the general sentiment from Arkansas fans
I love Sam Pittman.
I love what he did for the football team.
I love what he did for the university.
I love what he did for the state.
I think he’s already peaked here and I’m very concerned that keeping him next year will unnecessarily set us back a year as a program.
Pittman won nine games in 2021 and hasn’t gotten close to hitting that mark again the past two seasons. It’s appearing that he has indeed peaked at Arkansas, but we’ll know for sure after next season.
Life as an Arkansas fan is "often disappointing"
With the snap of his fingers and the click of a button, Hunter Yurachek disappointed the vast majority of the Arkansas fanbase. It will be very interesting to watch how this plays out over the course of the next year.
Some feel very strongly that this is the wrong decision
We’re done, @HunterYurachek. When we go 2-10 with an empty stadium next year, you’ll wish you hadn’t gone down with the ship. Thanks for showing us that you’re happy being in the SEC cellar. You’ve lost all my support. https://t.co/kYAtHvZz2z
— Tyler Davis (@TylerDavis93) November 19, 2023
It’s a fact that Arkansas football has been trending in the wrong direction over the past two years, and are near the bottom of the SEC currently. Most fans are claiming their support for the team is over. It’s up to Pittman to show them they’re wrong, but that is an unenviable job to have right now.
Paper sacks might make an appearance in Fayetteville next year
USA TODAY's Dan Wolken believes Yurachek is making a mistake
Wolken’s reasoning for this being mistake is interesting here. He goes on to state that unlike the first time around, when Pittman was hired in 2019, the coaching market is favorable for Arkansas this year. If they wait and have to make a change next year, there will likely be more competition for high-level coaches.
Are the Hogs becoming an unserious football program?
— lancey (@__lancey) November 19, 2023
If Saturday night was any indication, Razorback Stadium could be empty
Really curious how we’ll sell tickets next season
— Josh Teeter (@joshteeter01) November 19, 2023
According to Andrew Hutchinson, the announced attendance for Saturday night’s game against FIU was 61,442. That is the 12th-smallest attendance since 2001, when Razorbacks Stadium was expanded. Hutch also noted that this is the smallest attendance during Sam Pittman’s tenure in Fayetteville – not counting the 2020 season which had limited attendance due to the pandemic.
A common theme among fans: not happy with Yurachek's decision
Disgusting. Upset with this decision from HY but hope I can be proven wrong. https://t.co/ymYf20KBSS
— Josh Teeter (@joshteeter01) November 19, 2023
Radio personality Bobby Bones with a much different take than most
Great. He deserves another year. https://t.co/2NSLysXFWS
— Bobby Bones (@mrBobbyBones) November 19, 2023
Arkansas football is at a tipping point
— BP (@HawgsNCards) November 19, 2023
Is this an indictment of Arkansas' place in the football landscape?
I’m always mad at the football program because I’ve always had a deep belief that we could compete at a high level again, but until there’s a demonstrated commitment to winning…monetarily, culturally, just forget it. Very eye-opening day coming to grips with what the program is
— 🅱️ 𝕏 🐗 (@brycejallday) November 19, 2023
Could money be a factor in the decision to keep Pittman for another year?
Big donors don’t want the change bad enough to pony up the money (without influencing the next hire) so Hunter didn’t have much of a choice really.
Once we finish burning it to the ground next year and no-one comes to the games, the big money boosters will be motivated to pay. https://t.co/o5IxBrzajX
— Brandon (@FaytownHog) November 19, 2023
Yurachek put the rumors to bed, but could've done so last night
Hunter was in the room when media was asking Sam those questions last night.
Glad he eventually shared this; but wonder why he didn't do so last night when Sam was having to sit through that. https://t.co/PcrYmwigg3
— FootballScoop (@FootballScoop) November 19, 2023
The response to Yurachek's post was overwhelmingly hostile and negative
Most hostile comments I've ever seen on an Arkansas post. And for good reason. HY saying this to the team BEFORE the Missouri game is foolish. Even if we lose by 50 on Friday, Sam will still be retained cause HY already promised the players. My lord… https://t.co/QKFUeBOLl9
— 𝕋𝕙𝕦𝕟𝕕𝕖𝕣ℍ𝕠𝕘⚡️🐗 (@Forever_A_Hog) November 19, 2023
Texas A&M fans are taking shots at Arkansas with the news
I, too, am very excited that Pittman will be Arkansas' head coach heading into the 2024 season. https://t.co/t2TBKaevRq
— Sidelines – Texas A&M (@SSN_TAMU) November 19, 2023
Does Yurachek's statement confirm that Pittman was on hot seat?
Nothing says “all is well” like your boss publicly acknowledging that he was seriously considering firing you. https://t.co/9VkBcnsY3L
— Russell Smith (@Russell___Smith) November 19, 2023