Peyton Hillis is one of the most accomplished Razorback football players of the 21st century.
Sure, the former Conway High star often played third fiddle to Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, but he was no slouch. As a freshman, before D-Mac and Jones arrived, he ranked No. 4 in the SEC in touchdowns. Had he not played in the greatest backfield in college football history, he would have been a headliner in most any other program.
Plus, of course, he was good enough in the NFL to grace the cover of a Madden video game:
Since retiring, he’s been a successful businessman in northwest Arkansas, and has worked coaching high schoolers in places like Siloam Springs.
Nowadays, he lives in Springdale, just a few minutes away from the University of Arkansas. Despite his accomplished background, Hillis, though, can hardly get a minute of time from the current Razorback football staff.
“I heard tons of great things about Sam Pittman. Never met him personally. I mean, I’ve asked to meet him. They won’t even let me go in the door and meet him,” he said on a recent GASN interview.
Hillis doesn’t mean to single out Pittman here.
After all, this is an unusual time during a pandemic when hardly anybody is welcome to just waltz on into a head football coach’s office.
Hillis is just venting about a bigger situation. He’s frustrated that the overall leadership at the UA, over the last few years (including the Bret Bielema and Chad Morris eras has been too devoid of people who are from Arkansas. (Pittman is from right across the border in Oklahoma but has had plenty of Arkansas ties outside of his tenure assistant coaching under Bielema.)
Watch the entire interview here:
“The past year and a half, two years, I’ve been trying to ask to be on the staff in some capacity to help in any way I could. But they’re not going back to the roots, they’re not getting any Arkansas guys that actually care about the university, not bringing in coaches that have ties.”
“I know a bunch of coaches that I’ve played for tried to get the head coaching job and they don’t want them. The athletic director, no Arkansas guys. And who’s going to care more about the university than people that actually are from Arkansas, that have played there and want them to win?”
“What’s really funny is I played at Cleveland for two years and just had one [great] year and they had showed me more love” than in Arkansas, he continued.
“And I live in Arkansas, just one town over from Fayetteville, and they don’t even know you’re here. You know what I mean? Even though you want to be a part of it. You want to be a part of it, you want to help the team win. I just don’t know what direction they’re going in, and it doesn’t make sense to me, but I don’t think my opinion really matters.”
Hillis isn’t all frustration, though. He also talks highly of some of his teammates and coaches during his playing days. For more from his interview, go here: