Dissecting the Details of Deals for New Arkansas Football Coaches

Morgan Turner, Ben Sowders, Arkansas football
photo credit: Stanford Athletics / Arkansas Athletics

FAYETTEVILLE — Morgan Turner has agreed to a two-year deal to become the new tight ends coach for Arkansas football, Best of Arkansas Sports has learned.

According to a copy of his employment agreement obtained via a Freedom of Information request, the former Stanford assistant will have an annual salary of $325,000 with the Razorbacks.

It is unknown how much Turner made with the Cardinal because Stanford is a private institution and not subject to FOIA laws. He was there for 13 years, the last decade of which was spent coaching tight ends.

Turner replaces Dowell Loggains, who made $300,000 his first season at Arkansas before getting bumped up to $400,000 this February. That means the Razorbacks shaved a little bit off of the salary pool for its 10 on-field assistants.

Loggains left Arkansas to become the offensive coordinator at South Carolina. With the new role, he received quite a hefty pay raise. According to GamecockCentral, Loggains received a three-year deal that will pay him $1 million annually.

Barry Odom Contract at UNLV

The Razorbacks are still searching for their next defensive coordinator after Barry Odom left to become the head coach at UNLV earlier this month. He had been in that position since Sam Pittman took over the program following the 2019 season.

Odom was the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the SEC this season, according to research by Best of Arkansas Sports, as he was paid $1.85 million. In fact, the only assistants at public institutions with higher salaries this year were Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken ($2 million) and Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles ($1.9 million), according to the USA Today database.

He actually took a slight pay cut to become a head coach again, at least initially. His five-year, $9.75 million contract includes a salary of $1.75 million in his first two seasons with the Rebels, according to NevadaSportsNet.com.

However, that will increase to $2 million the next two years (2025 and 2026) before jumping up to $2.25 million in the final year of his deal.

Those numbers are nowhere near SEC head coaching figures — Odom made a little more than $3 million annually at Missouri and now the bottom of the league is making close to $5 million — but it’s a significant commitment for a Group of Five program like UNLV.

The Rebels had been set to pay former head coach Marcus Arroyo $1.6 million in 2023 and, even before his automatic raises in a couple years, Odom will be the highest-paid coach in the Mountain West, just edging out Colorado State’s Jay Norvell ($1.7 million in 2023).

Ben Sowders Contract at Arkansas

According to a copy of his employment agreement obtained by Best of Arkansas Sports via a Freedom of Information request, new strength and conditioning coach Ben Sowders agreed to a two-year deal with Arkansas that pays him $400,000 the first year and $450,000 the second year.

That is a significant raise from what he was making at Louisville, where his salary was $300,000, according to USA Today. His average annual salary is equal to what Jamil Walker was making, though, as Arkansas bumped Walker’s pay up to $425,000 earlier this year.

As for Walker, he is owed the remaining amount on his deal because he was terminated for convenience. That is a little more than $531,250 because he was under contract for another 15 months.

However, Arkansas might end up paying him less than that because there is a “duty of mitigation” clause in his contract that requires him to pursue similar employment. Whatever he makes at his next stop would be deducted from the buyout.


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