Andy Hodges

Musselman gets hefty reward for making Hogs relevant again

Maybe most interesting part of Eric Musselman’s new deal is the numbers make it clear he’s not planning on leaving anytime soon.

If Eric Musselman is still as competitive as we think, the official announcement Wednesday about his new contract could be used as motivation.

After all, athletics director Hunter Yurachek as much as challenged him — again — in a subtle way.

“The best way for any head coach to advocate for themselves and their program is to win games,” Yurachek said.

Somehow, I don’t think just making it to the Elite Eight is enough of a goal for Musselman. Winning a championship would just be the starting point to try and win another one in a sport that makes it very hard to win a title.

Don’t start talking about he just signed a deal. In today’s world of college athletics, today’s contract is the starting point for negotiations on a new one … if he wins even bigger.

Although with this contract, the most interesting part is Musselman obviously isn’t looking to get out of town for another job because that’s going to be steep. He has to pay to the UA the following amounts to leave for another gig:

• $7.5 million through the end of next season.

• $2 million through the end of the 2023-24 season.

• $1 million through the end of the 2024-25 season.

$ 750,000 through the end of the contract.

While any of those numbers are tip money to some NBA owners, that’s a big pill to swallow for any other school to pay.

“Arkansas is one of the premier programs in the nation and my family and I are ecstatic to be here,” Musselman said.

In two seasons, he’s taken the Hogs from the middle of the road straight to the fast lane. For the better part of 25 years, the program has been stuck in extreme mediocrity.

How bad was it? One coach was hired and was out of town back to his old job in less than 24 hours. That was a humiliation for a program that had been in decline for a few years.

Musselman’s analytics and teaching works better at the college level than the NBA game. He uses having a few days between games to have his teams prepared as well as anybody.

You sometimes have to squeeze what he teaches for two or three days into less than 24 hours at the NBA level. The guess here is he likes the college game and his style works better there.

And Razorback fans can relax.

The Muss Bus ain’t leaving Fayetteville anytime soon.

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