Tuesday, January 7, 2020   
Teacher pay raise, Medicaid expansion likely issues in 2020 session
After what is being viewed as a major bipartisan victory with the passage of the Mississippi Lottery during the last legislative session, Mississippi lawmakers will convene today for the 2020 regular session under a new governor and with a fresh set of issues to take on. The session represents a new opportunity for the state GOP, which now controls all eight statewide office for the first time since Reconstruction, in addition to holding a supermajority in the statehouse. As the session kicks off today, the SDN caught up with local legislators to get their takes on what will be the hot-button issues in the Mississippi Legislature in 2020. When asked what the primary focus of the 2020 session would be, all of the Golden Triangle legislators interviewed pointed to teacher pay raises -- a platform run on by many new legislators and championed by incoming Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, a Republican.
State Lawmakers Give Preview Of Upcoming Legislative Session
Tuesday marks the start of the new legislative session and a new administration in the state of Mississippi. With a new session comes new legislation that lawmakers are hoping to pass, and then there's also current legislation that law makers are hoping to revisit and make potential changes. As District 43 State Representative Rob Roberson prepares to enter his tenth session at the state capital, he said there are a three core issues he wants to address: improving the state's infrastructure and healthcare systems, along with increasing teacher pay. "We need to make sure our teachers are paid a salary that we don't lose them right after we get them trained to be able to do something," said Roberson. "We need to make certain that our students not only have facilities that they can be proud of, but when they leave, they will have a first class education."
Mississippi inaugurating new legislators for 4-year term
Legislators are taking their oath of office Tuesday in Mississippi, and they will set the direction of state government for the next four years. Republicans are maintaining control of the 122-member House and 52-member Senate. The opening day will be filled with formalities. Members of the House of Representatives will elect Republican Philip Gunn to serve a third consecutive term as speaker. They also will choose a new speaker pro tempore, the second-ranking leader of the House. Republican Rep. Jason White of West is expected to easily win the vote to become pro tem. He will succeed Republican Greg Snowden, who held the post two terms and was defeated in the party primary in August. Among the new lawmakers taking office is Democratic Sen. Sarita Simmons of Cleveland, who was elected to fill the seat long held by her father, Willie Simmons. He is being sworn in Tuesday as one of three state transportation commissioners.
Thirty-Nine New Members at Capitol for Start of 2020 Legislative Session
Growing Mississippi's economy is the number one priority for Republican House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton. He says during the campaign season, voters and local leaders repeatedly talked about the need for more jobs and workforce training. He says improving education is a part of that equation. "Education is tied up into that of course, K-12 and IHL education so when you talk about job creation you're talking about giving people skills and education and the training that they need to secure that job," said Gunn. Gunn says they'll also look at how to improve the state's prison system and healthcare. Incoming Republican Governor Tate Reeves says he'll be focused on workforce development and supports a teacher pay raise.
A slightly more African American, female Legislature convenes for 2020
On Jan. 7, new and familiar faces will convene at the Mississippi Capitol for the start of the 2020 legislative session. As a whole, the incoming lawmakers comprise a Legislature still whiter and maler than the Mississippi they represent. Although the Legislature's makeup does not mirror the state itself, the November 2019 statewide elections ushered in new representation for many districts. Now, those legislators serving in the 2020-2024 term comprise a slightly more African American and female group of lawmakers than the previous term. Census data breaks down the demographics of Mississippi's roughly 2.9 million person population. The state is 52 percent female (compared to 16 percent in the Legislature), 58 percent white (in the Legislature, that total is roughly 68 percent), and 38 percent black (31 percent in the Legislature).
Here's what Delbert Hosemann plans to do as lieutenant governor
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is set to become lieutenant governor this week and the Mississippi Legislature convenes Tuesday. In Mississippi, the lieutenant governor runs the Senate. It's a position that some consider the most powerful in state government. Here's what Hosemann told reporters in December about his plans for the 2020 session. Gov.-elect Tate Reeves declined to meet with reporters ahead of the legislative session to discuss his agenda. House Speaker Philip Gunn plans to do so on Tuesday.
Steve Holland reflects on years of legislative service and life after politics
A well-known figure in Mississippi politics will not be in Jackson when the state House convenes Tuesday. Steve Holland lost in November to challenger Rickey Thompson. That defeat ended a decades-long career in state politics that was marked by passionate speeches from the House floor, and a tireless crusade for issues such as public health. It is one day before lawmakers convene in Jackson, and Steve Holland is at Holland Funeral Directors, taking care of business. "It's different, I told somebody this morning, my car probably would automatically crank and head down the Trace but I said, by golly, I'm not going to be in it, it will just go by itself," described Holland. Holland represented District 16 as a Democrat and became known for his colorful language, and also as an advocate for the poor and disadvantaged.
Gov.-elect Reeves appoints Drew Snyder to continue leading state's Medicaid agency
Republican Gov.-elect Tate Reeves on Monday announced that he is appointing Drew Snyder to continue serving as executive director of the Mississippi Medicaid Division, a move which could signal little change for the state agency. Reeves made the formal announcement at the agency's division office in Tupelo, where he praised Snyder's leadership of the agency the past two years under outgoing Gov. Phil Bryant by saying the agency is now on track to have a balanced budget for two consecutive years. "As lieutenant governor, I have had the opportunity and the privilege of working closely with Drew and have seen firsthand how qualified and capable he is to continue leading this agency," Reeves said. "His knowledge of the agency and his ability to navigate the complex regulations surrounding it are invaluable."
Foretold 'uprising' hits cash-starved Mississippi prisons
The leader of Mississippi's underfunded prison system was pleading with lawmakers for money to hire more guards and pay them better in 2012 when he warned, "I see trouble down the road." Christopher Epps, a longtime Mississippi Department of Corrections employee, would later go to prison himself for collecting $1.4 million in bribes. But during budget hearings in October 2012, he said keeping salaries for guards the lowest in the nation would only work "as long as we don't have an uprising." The uprising arrived last week when five inmates died at the hands of fellow prisoners and two of the state's largest prisons were rocked by what corrections officials called "major disturbances" between gangs. Some observers called them riots. Now, with a new governor's inauguration looming and a new prison chief to be selected, Mississippi leaders face choices.
Prison brass warned of dangerous conditions a year ago, but lawmakers did not act
Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Pelicia Hall and other department officials sat across the table from lawmakers at the Capitol less than one year ago and issued a bleak warning: Without additional funding, the department couldn't adequately staff the state's prisons and guarantee the safety of more 19,000 inmates or prison workers. "I'm almost at capacity in my facilities. That's not a good place for us to be in in the state of Mississippi," Hall told lawmakers in a Jan. 16, 2019 House appropriations subcommittee hearing for her department. The direct plea to lawmakers was one of several that corrections officials and criminal justice advocates made over a period of several years. Almost every time, lawmakers ignored those pleas. The new year began with crisis in Mississippi correctional institutions.
Congressman wants federal authorities to look into Parchman deaths
Congressman Bennie Thompson wants the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the disturbances at the Mississippi Department of Corrections that lead to the deaths of five men, one with ties to north Mississippi. Thompson, who has represented the state's 2nd congressional district since 1993, tweeted Sunday afternoon that on Monday he would ask "that the U.S. Attorney General launch an investigation into the ongoing failures in safety, security, health, and environmental standards within the Mississippi Department of Corrections." "This is unacceptable," Thompson said. "It is appalling that there have been five lives taken this week due to what is being described as 'disturbances.' This is a crisis that must be quickly addressed. I offer my condolences to the families of the five men. We should all be concerned when any life is lost."
Parchman reopens notorious, long-closed Unit 32 after deadly Mississippi prison violence
Chaunta Shannon said she never imagined her son, who has stage-three colon cancer and is undergoing treatment at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, would be moved from the medical unit into a notorious maximum-security unit that was closed 10 years ago. Authorities have moved an undisclosed number of inmates to Unit 32 at Parchman in an effort to quell deadly violence during a statewide prison lockdown. In the past nine days, five inmates have been killed, a unit at Parchman has been set on fire and two inmates have escaped then been re-captured. A spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Corrections has not responded to multiple requests for comment about the reopening of Unit 32, which was shuttered in 2010 as part of a settlement after the American Civil Liberties Union sued MDOC. The lawsuit challenged the unit's inhumane conditions and lack of medical and mental health care. Reports that inmates are now being housed in Unit 32 are confirmed by prisoner rights attorneys, Cliff Johnson and Ron Welch, as well as MDOC's online inmate tracker.
Cindy Hyde-Smith, Roger Wicker 'Gunning to End Roe': Ask High Court to Overturn
Mississippi's two U.S. senators, Republicans Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide. The lawmakers took that stand in an amicus brief that they filed alongside 37 other U.S. senators and 166 U.S. House members on Jan. 2, hoping the nation's high court will consider their arguments when it hears a key abortion case in early March. "The anti-choice movement is no longer trying to hide their real agenda," Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement on Jan. 2. "They are gunning to end Roe, criminalize abortion and punish women. If it wasn't clear why we fought like hell to stop Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation (to the U.S. Supreme Court) before, it should be crystal clear now." In the briefing, known as an amicus curie or "friend of the court" brief, the lawmakers wrote that the court should consider whether Roe and another U.S. Supreme Court case that upheld abortion rights, 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey, "should be reconsidered, and, if appropriate, overruled."
Congressman Michael Guest officially launches re-election bid
Congressman Guest, who has served Mississippi's Third Congressional District since January 2019, filed qualifying papers at state's GOP headquarters in Jackson Monday afternoon as he launched his re-election bid. After signing the papers, Guest reflected on his first year in office and looked ahead to the future. The former Madison & Rankin County DA said Congress must continue to focus on comprehensive immigration reform, supporting law enforcement & military members, and more. In Mississippi, Guest said that the challenges that the state faces can only be solved through the ability to work together. He outlined his desire to work toward improving rural healthcare, rural broadband and infrastructure, in addition to assisting in the ongoing recovery efforts following the historic flooding in the Mississippi Delta. Guest was elected in November 2018 to succeed Gregg Harper, who did not seek re-election.
Mississippi congressmen respond to rumors of 'World War 3' and military draft
Since Friday's U.S. military strike that killed Iranian Military Commander Qasem Soleimani, there have been rumors of World War 3 and a military draft implemented to bolster troops in the region. Congressman Bennie Thompson tells WLBT, "What it's done is it's created a real uneasiness among a lot of members of congress as well as people here in the US because now people want to know, 'Are we safe? Can I go about my daily activities?'" While a draft is not in the works, it was ended in 1973, Thompson says he wants to hear a classified briefing on the circumstances that led to the assassination when he gets back to Washington. Congressman Michael Guest said, "I believe that if Iran chooses to take military action against either us or others in the Middle East, we are prepared to act decisively in that case and we are prepared to do everything we need to defend our interests in the Middle East." Currently, the 114th Military Police Company out of Clinton is the only Mississippi Guard unit in the region.
Trump qualifies for March 10 primary ballot in Mississippi
President Donald Trump's campaign has filed paperwork for him to appear on the March 10 Republican primary ballot in Mississippi. The qualifying papers and a $2,500 check were filed Monday at the state Republican headquarters by Gov.-elect Tate Reeves. He was accompanied by Gov. Phil Bryant, a fellow Republican. The two are co-chairman of Trump's campaign in Mississippi. Reeves, who will be inaugurated as governor Jan. 14, said Trump has led with economic growth and tax cuts. Mississippi Republican Party chairman Lucien Smith said Trump is the only Republican presidential candidate to file qualifying papers so far.
Unprecedented ad drive puts Michael Bloomberg on political map
Michael Bloomberg's massive air war is starting to pay off, as the former New York City mayor appears to be gaining traction in new national polls even though he's not running in the early-voting states and hasn't been on stage for any of the Democratic debates. Bloomberg has been staffing up and opening offices in Super Tuesday states, and his advertisements have been ubiquitous on television and social media amid an unprecedented spending spree that has already surpassed well over $100 million. There is deep skepticism about whether Bloomberg's strategy of skipping the first four primary and caucus states can be a winning strategy. It's never been tried before on this scale. And despite his record of activism for liberal causes, Bloomberg is despised on the left, where there is little appetite for a billionaire with a centrist record. But Bloomberg has the resources to go the distance, and Democrats say there is a surprising well of goodwill for him among moderates in the party. Some see an opening for Bloomberg if the field continues to be divided.
Cedric Gathings named Associate Dean of Instruction for EMCC's Golden Triangle campus
East Mississippi Community College is pleased to announce that Cedric Gathings has joined the college as an associate dean of instruction for the Golden Triangle campus. Gathings, whose first day was Jan. 6, replaces Gina Thompson, who retired at the end of the fall term after 23 years of service to EMCC. Gathings' primary responsibilities will be providing leadership and administrative oversight for faculty in academic instruction on the Golden Triangle campus, maintaining a culture of academic excellence, utilizing data and assessments to make informed decisions about curriculum and instruction, overseeing professional development opportunities for faculty and collaborating with campus administration to maximize student success. Gathings brings a wealth of higher education experience to the position, most recently serving at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, as vice president for student affairs.
MUW culinary chair speaks at Starkville Rotary Club
Members of the Starkville Rotary Club had the opportunity to learn about the Mississippi University for Women's culinary program, when its director, chef instructor Alexi Harrison and chef instructor Mary Helen Hawkins spoke at its meeting Monday. The program was founded in 1996, and currently occupies Shattuck Hall on the MUW campus in Columbus. However, plans are in the works for a new facility. The program offers four concentrations, including culinary management, food art, food journalism and nutrition and wellness. The program also offers a bachelor's of applied science in culinary management aimed at those who have experience in the food industry, but need a bachelor's degree to advance. Additionally, Mississippi State University's Culinology program is taught as a joint venture between the Culinary Arts Institute and MSU's program in food science. Minors in culinary arts and nutrition are also offered. The program is part of The W's College of Business and Professional Studies.
Meridian Community College president Tom Huebner optimistic after heart attack
With scars on his chest and legs, Tom Huebner considers himself part of the nipper club -- people who've had surgery. "I will wear those scars with pride," said the Meridian Community College president, who is recovering from a heart attack he suffered on Nov. 21. "One, because I have no choice, and two, because it saved my life." Huebner, who returned to work Monday, said he's trying to get back in the swing of his routine while still recovering from quadruple bypass surgery. He plans to work a regular schedule, but at a slower pace depending on how he feels. The slower pace means he won't spend much time out in the community, he said. Huebner, 54, said he has a family history of heart issues. His father and grandfather were affected by heart problems, and a week before his heart attack, his brother had one too. "My brother just had one, what are the odds?" he said.
King Alexander looks back on his ups, downs at LSU
As he reflects on his presidency at LSU, which officially ended Dec. 31, F. King Alexander lists what he considers to be his major accomplishments: record enrollment and graduation numbers, an increasingly diverse student body, and the consolidation of system-wide offices and operations that resulted in a savings of more than $14 million year. But Alexander, who has been named president of Oregon State University, also acknowledges a couple of areas where he struggled during his more than six years as LSU's first combined president and chancellor. One of the most significant, he says, was getting a handle on the hazing culture of LSU's Greek system. Following the 2017 death of fraternity pledge Max Gruver in a hazing incident, Alexander led an effort to implement changes intended to curb excessive alcohol consumption among fraternity and sorority members and to ban hazing. Some say it was too little too late, while others say it went too far. Alexander, in an extensive exit interview with Daily Report, says he doesn't blame the Greek system, which he says is "very valuable in cultivating student leadership." But he says hazing is a cultural issue that exists in many institutions and needs to change.
President wants U. of South Carolina to spend more of its money helping low income students pay for college
University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen wants to spend more of the school's dollars on scholarships for students who can't otherwise afford to go to college. He also wants to make that money available to more people. "We want to do our part to make our university accessible and affordable to the people of South Carolina," Caslen said during a recent tour he took of schools across the state. Statute limits USC's spending on need-based and academic merit scholarships to 4 percent of institutional dollars, USC spokesman Jeff Stensland said. "We use almost every penny of that, I'm told," Caslen said. "We want to expand that to 8 percent." About $3.2 million, raised from out-of-state tuition dollars, is for need-based aid, Stensland said. The school also gets $3.7 million in state funding for need-based scholarships.
UGA to show regents plans for movie studio, new dorm
The University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication plans a multi-million dollar studio renovation for its new Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television and Digital Media program. The $3.75 million project, including about $2 million in construction, will be paid for with donated funds, according to information UGA officials submitted to the state Board of Regents in advance of the board's monthly meeting on Wednesday. UGA won't sign a construction contract until the entire $3.75 million is in hand, according to the paperwork. Regents also on Wednesday will see recommendations for hiring one of three Atlanta design firms for a 525-bed dormitory for first-year students planned for Baxter Street. The new residence hall is budgeted at $49.9 million, including construction costs of up to $40.3 million. The new building will allow UGA to expand the size of its first-year class "and provide 'swing space' as UGA continues to renovate or replace other residence halls on campus," according to the university's request.
Louisiana state panel recommends major expansion of high school classes for college credit
While funding and other key hurdles remain, members of a state task force Monday said eligible Louisiana high school students should have access to at least four classes for college credit without charge. The classes, called dual enrollment, are expected to be one of Gov. John Bel Edwards' priorities when the 2020 legislative session begins on March 9. "Research across the country documents that students who participate in dual enrollment are more likely than their peers to enroll in college, build academic momentum and persist to completion," according to a draft report compiled by the Louisiana Dual Enrollment Framework Task Force. Edwards named the 12-member panel last year after his bid to ensure that high school juniors and seniors would have access to two college courses without charge was shelved in the Legislature.
UF researchers develop potential drug that could treat various types of cancers
University of Florida researchers may have found a more effective treatment for certain types of cancers. Researchers from the UF College of Pharmacy say they have found a potential drug to treat some types of leukemia, lymphoma and breast and lung cancers. The results were published in Nature Medicine last month. The potential drug is a compound called DT2216 and acts on a protein that increases cancerous cells and resists treatment, said Daohong Zhou, a professor in the UF College of Pharmacy. According to a report by UF Health News, an inhibitor to stop the protein's growth already exists, but it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration because it puts people at risk of bleeding and is harmful.
Vanderbilt study: Medicaid expansion protects poor people from declining health
Medicaid expansion makes it less likely that low-income people will suffer from plummeting health that jeopardizes their lives, according to a new study by Vanderbilt University and Harvard University researchers scrutinizing Tennessee and 11 other southern states. The findings, published Monday in the peer-reviewed journal Health Affairs, imply that for every 1,000 people who gain insurance coverage through Medicaid expansion, 257 fewer people experience a decline in their health. When projected across the population of all 12 states, this means residents in expansion states were 1.8% less likely to report declining health than their peers in non-expansion states, said John Graves, a Vanderbilt associate professor who led the study. "The message is pretty simple," Graves said. "Medicaid is keeping people from the kind of precipitous health decline that could lead to death."
Historians approve anti-ICE resolution but vote down anti-Israel proposals at annual meeting
Members of the American Historical Association approved a resolution condemning college and university contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, 70 to 60, at their annual meeting over the weekend. They approved an additional statement in support of professors teaching off the tenure track, but voted down two resolutions expressing concern about academic freedom in Israel. The successful resolution on ICE now goes to the AHA's governing council for further consideration. Per association policies and procedures, the council may accept it, refuse to concur or exercise a veto. Since its formation in 2003, ICE has inked handsome contracts with various institutions to offer cultural competency, medical and other training to federal workers, and to partner in research. Just a handful of universities currently have such contracts, and few to none of the projects relate to ICE's most controversial functions regarding immigration. But these agreements have attracted increased scrutiny in recent years, as public disapproval of ICE's methods -- including family separation -- grows.
More Hispanic students than ever go to college, but cost is high
Pushed by their parents and educators, more Hispanics than ever are attending college in the hopes of securing their place in the U.S. middle class, presenting a growing challenge for institutions that in the past have catered to mostly white students. As they navigate challenges such as the bureaucracy of higher education and paying tuition in an environment where so few teachers, administrators and students look like them, many Latino students say they are worried higher education institutions are happily taking their money without making sure their specific needs are being met. The number of Hispanic students enrolled in college rose from 3.17 million in 2016 to 3.27 million in 2017, making them only one of two demographic groups that saw an increase in college attendance, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Report: Michigan State marketing campaign reduced high-risk drinking for students
Raging parties, keg stands and bros slamming beer after beer might be the Hollywood version of college life. Michigan State University has been working for years to show that it's not a reality, or at least not the only one. Organizers credit a marketing campaign for limiting dangerous drinking at MSU. "What this campaign is trying to do is reduce harm," said Larry Hembroff, director of research and evaluation for the MSU National Social Norms Center. "Getting people to not drink is not its goal. It's getting people to drink more moderately so they don't experience harm." Hembroff worked with MSU Health Promotion Director Dennis Martell and others to review survey data collected every two years going back to 2000. They found that the percentage of students completing the survey who said they consumed eight or more alcoholic drinks during one sitting fell 41%, from nearly 28% in 2000 to 16.5% in 2014, according to a study published in October. The percentage of college students who said they drink has fallen in recent years across the country, but Hembroff credits the campaign with causing a steeper drop in high-risk drinking practices at Michigan State.
Conference speakers stress value of liberal arts skills to small college presidents
Whenever presidents of private liberal arts colleges gather, the topic of their graduates' career readiness is near the top of their minds. This year's Council of Independent Colleges Presidents Institute is no different. Since the program officially began Saturday, presidents in various settings have touted their institutions' track records preparing students for careers and what they believe to be strong long-term prospects for students who earn degrees in the liberal arts. But among this group, worries run high that the liberal arts are being marginalized in America and the workplace. Some presidents are concerned that parents, students and employers are overlooking their institutions and instead turning toward campuses that tilt more heavily toward science and technology majors. So it was notable Monday when a managing director at one of the world's largest investment firms told presidents that the leaders who are its best employees are the ones who have the ability to operate outside of silos and to speak to many different types of people.
A critical moment for Mississippi's economy
State Auditor Shad White writes in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal: Today, maybe more than any time in our recent history, Mississippi faces fundamental questions about where our economy is headed. How we answer those questions is going to determine whether we succeed, like some of our surrounding states, or whether we become a rural Detroit. ... we now need to find a way to take our economy out of last place. That means attracting industries that pay higher wages, getting people who are in poverty into the workforce, and stopping the loss of people who are leaving the state, particularly the college-educated. ... For example, think of the new supercomputer just commissioned at Mississippi State. Imagine a team uses that computing power to create an artificial intelligence that improves livestock management. Imagine they create a business and then license that software around the world. All the capital and jobs from the business stay here.

Mississippi State's Tyre Phillips accepts Senior Bowl invitation
Mississippi State offensive tackle Tyre Phillips has accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl. Phillips was originally set to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl but will now join teammate Brian Cole in Mobile, Alabama on Jan. 25. Phillips started all 13 games for the Bulldogs at left tackle this season. The 6-foot-5, 345-pounder from Grenada saw action in all 26 games after redshirting in 2017 following his transfer from East Mississippi Community College. Jaquarius Landrews, Stephen Guidry and Chauncey Rivers will play NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and Tommy Stevens and Darryl Williams represent the Bulldogs at the East-West Shrine Bowl.
Tua Tagovailoa decides to leave Alabama, enter NFL Draft
Tua Tagovailoa's record-breaking University of Alabama career is over. The UA quarterback will be up for selection in the 2020 NFL Draft after seeing his junior season end early with a hip injury suffered in the second quarter of the Mississippi State game, causing him to miss the final two regular season games and the Citrus Bowl. "My three years at the University of Alabama have been the epitome of a roller coaster," he said at an 11 a.m. press conference. "I plan to stay close to the university and I will always be a part of the Alabama family," he said. "Thank you all, and Roll Tide." There is still a Tagovailoa presence in Tuscaloosa, with younger brother Taulia Tagovailoa completing his freshman season, but there is no guarantee UA hands the reins from one brother to the other. Mac Jones got three starts against FBS competition in Tua Tagovailoa's absence, completing 69.76 percent of his passes at 10.4 yards per attempt.
Arkansas football staff tops $5 million in total pay
Arkansas will pay its football assistant coaches a program record of more than $5 million in 2020. The total salary pool for the 10 assistant coaches is $5.025 million. That is a 2.2 percent increase over 2019, when the Razorbacks' assistants were paid $4.915 million. The salary pool has increased each offseason since the end of the 2014 season. Arkansas officially announced the final four hires to Sam Pittman's first coaching staff Monday, introducing running backs coach Jimmy Smith from Georgia State, special teams coordinator Scott Fountain from Georgia, tight ends coach Jon Cooper from Central Florida and defensive line coach Derrick LeBlanc from Kentucky.

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