Carter and Rhoades join Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Head coach Sam Pittman has added a pair of defensive assistants to his Arkansas staff, naming Sam Carter as the Razorbacks’ new cornerbacks coach and Rion Rhoades as the new linebackers coach.

Carter joins the Hogs from Missouri where he served as a defensive quality control and analyst for Barry Odom, who Pittman tabbed as the program’s defensive coordinator earlier this week. Carter helped the Tigers’ defense rank as one of the best in the nation, particularly in the secondary this past season. Missouri’s pass defense ranked eighth in the FBS and second in the Southeastern Conference allowing only 179.3 yards per game. The Tigers were even tougher with the ball in the air, leading the nation by allowing opponents to complete just 50.3% of passes for 2,151 yards – seventh fewest in FBS. Mizzou had four players inside the SEC’s top 25 of passes defended, including three defensive backs in Joshuah Bledsoe, Khalil Oliver and Tyree Gillespie.

Carter was a standout, All-Big 12 safety at TCU prior to starting his coaching career. The New Orleans native played in 49 games for the Horned Frogs from 2011-14, starting 39 including all 38 over his final three years. As a senior he was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, a Senior CLASS Award finalist and a Senior CLASS Award second-team All-American.

Rhoades gets his first opportunity at the FBS level after coaching the last 14 years as a head coach at the junior college level, including the last 13 as the head coach at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas. A former Hutchinson CC linebacker for Arkansas coach Sam Pittman, Rhoades returned to his alma mater as the head coach in 2007 after turning around a struggling Fort Scott CC program in just one year. At Hutchinson, Rhoades quickly worked his magic taking the Blue Dragons to a Region VI runner-up finish in his second year then kicking off a run of six straight seasons that saw his program win the Salt City Bowl, capped by an 11-1 season in 2014 that claimed the Jayhawk Conference and Region VI championships.

Rhoades’ squad this fall finished 10-2 and No. 3 in the final NJCAA Rankings after another Salt City Bowl title. The No. 3 finish is the highest the Blue Dragons have ever finished in the final poll and the fifth time a Rhoades-led Hutchinson team finished inside the Top 10 in his 13 years as head coach. He left the junior college ranks 106-55 as a head coach with a 99-50 mark at Hutchinson.

As a player at Hutchinson, Rhoades made an immediate impact as a freshman with 138 tackles as a linebacker to help Pittman and the Blue Dragons to a 6-5 season and a trip to the Valley of the Sun Bowl in 1993. As a sophomore and team captain in 1994, Rhoades led Hutchinson with 130 tackles and helped his team to a third-consecutive winning season with an 8-4 record and a ranking of 15th in the final NJCAA poll. Following his two years at Hutchinson as a player, Rhoades transferred to Western Illinois and then to Northwestern Oklahoma State, where he was an NAIA All-America linebacker.

He and his wife Darcy have three children: daughter, Sydney, and sons, Trevor and Jackson.

Carter and Rhoades join defensive coordinator Barry Odom, offensive line coach Brad Davis and wide receivers coach Justin Stepp on Pittman’s first staff.