One Last Hope for UA Staff Holdover among Flood of Calipari’s Imports

Chuck Martin, Chin Coleman, Arkansas basketball, Kentucky basketball
photo credit: Kentucky Athletics

Much of the focus has been on his process building the Arkansas basketball roster, but John Calipari has also needed to construct his first coaching staff.

The Razorbacks took another step in that direction with the announcement of Ronald “Chin” Coleman and Chuck Martin as assistant coaches Wednesday afternoon. They join a staff that previously included only Kenny Payne.

Coleman and Martin are following Calipari from Kentucky to Fayetteville, as they were both on his staff in Lexington last season. Payne is also a former assistant for the Wildcats, but spent his last two years as the head coach at Louisville.

Coleman, like Payne, will have the title of associate head coach, while Martin is a regular assistant coach.

Last offseason, the NCAA expanded the number of allowed full-time assistant coaches from three to five, so Calipari still has two spots to fill.

Three assistants from last year’s staff, Anthony Ruta, Todd Lee and Michael Musselman, followed former Arkansas basketball coach Eric Musselman to USC. There has been no update on Keith Smart’s future, but he is no longer listed on the UA website.

That leaves Ronnie Brewer Jr., the recruiting coordinator, as the last hope for a holdover from the previous five-man staff. A native of Fayetteville who played for the Razorbacks before becoming a lottery pick, Brewer is listed below Calipari and Payne on UA’s coaches page.

If he doesn’t retain Brewer, Calipari will be tasked with doing the same thing with his coaching staff as he has with the roster. He inherited only walk-on Lawson Blake, another Fayetteville native, but no scholarship players.

Since taking over, he has added three five-star recruits in Karter Knox, Boogie Fland and Billy Richmond III and a trio from the transfer portal in Zvonimir Ivisic, Jonas Aidoo and Johnell Davis. All except Aidoo and Davis are following Calipari from Kentucky to Arkansas.

Contract Details for New Arkansas Basketball Assistants

Chin Coleman and Chuck Martin have each agreed to three-year deals with Arkansas, according to copies of their employment agreements obtained by Best of Arkansas Sports via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Coleman will have a salary of $700,000, while Martin will be paid $350,000 annually. When you throw in the $900,000 that Kenny Payne will make, that brings the Razorbacks’ assistant coach salary pool to just under $2 million for the three announced coaches.

Even with two more hires to make, Calipari’s staff is already set to make about $1 million more than the combined salaries of last year’s five assistants. That is on top of Arkansas making Calipari the second-highest paid coach in college basketball with a contract that starts at $7 million.

Like Payne, Coleman and Martin are each eligible for a $50,000 bonus if the Razorbacks reach the NCAA Tournament. Coleman – and Payne – can make an additional $50,000 if they make the Sweet 16.

No further details were provided with Martin’s deal, but Coleman’s contract includes a non-compete clause that prevents him from taking another assistant coach job within the SEC.

If the Razorbacks were to dismiss him for convenience, they’d owe him 70% of his remaining contract. That buyout would be offset by his income at his next job and he’d has the duty to mitigate by pursuing another job.

If he were to leave Calipari’s staff to take another job, Coleman would owe the UA a buyout of 20% of his remaining contract.

Coaching History for Coleman, Martin

Ronald “Chin” Coleman

  • 2024-present: Arkansas (assistant)
  • 2021-24: Kentucky (assistant)
  • 2017-21: Illinois (assistant)
  • 2015-17: UIC (assistant)
  • 2012-15: Bradley (assistant)
  • 2012: Nebraska (director of player development)
  • 2011-12: Colorado State (assistant)

Chuck Martin

  • 2024-present: Arkansas (assistant)
  • 2023-24: Kentucky (assistant)
  • 2022-23: Oregon (assistant)
  • 2017-22: South Carolina (assistant)
  • 2014-17: Indiana (assistant)
  • 2008-13: Marist (head coach)
  • 2006-08: Memphis (assistant)
  • 2004-06: St. John’s (assistant)
  • 2001-04: Drexel (assistant)
  • 2000-01: UMass (assistant)
  • 1999-2000: Seton Hall (assistant)


More on Arkansas basketball’s No. 3 recruiting class starting at the 55-second mark below:

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More coverage of Arkansas basketball from BoAS… 

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