UNLV has hired Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom as its next head football coach, the school announced Tuesday. Odom would take over the program after the school fired Marcus Arroyo, who went 7-23 in three seasons leading the Rebels.
"My family and I would like to thank president Keith Whitfield, athletics director Erick Harper and the administrative team for the opportunity to be the head football coach of the UNLV Rebels," Odom said. "I'm honored and excited to begin developing a relationship with our student-athletes and provide them a great foundation for success in every area of their lives. I believe in the vision and plan that President Whitfield and Mr. Harper have for the UNLV Athletics Department. That alignment piece is critical and together we will achieve great success. This city is founded on opportunity and we look forward to this opportunity to lead this program and engage with this amazing community and Rebels everywhere."
Odom, 46, has served as Arkansas defensive coordinator for the past three seasons under coach Sam Pittman, and he's helped the program rebound from the Chad Morris era. The Razorbacks have earned three straight bowl bids with Odom coordinating the defense, including the upcoming Liberty Bowl appearance where Arkansas will battle Kansas.
"Coach Odom knows what it takes to compete and win on college football's biggest stages, and we're thrilled that he's bringing his incredible talent, work ethic, and commitment to success to UNLV," Whitfield said. "We have high expectations for UNLV Football, and Coach Odom is a proven leader who will help elevate our program to new levels of success. It's a great pleasure to welcome the Odom family to our university and Las Vegas."
The hallmark of Arkansas' defenses under Odom has been its ability to force turnovers during his first two seasons. The Razorbacks finished tied for fourth in the SEC in takeaways in 2020 with 18 and tied for fifth in 2021 with 16. The Hogs finished the 2022 regular season with 15, but that was only good for No. 12 in the SEC in takeaways. They finished 12th in the conference in pass defense (273.9 yards per game), 13th in defensive passing yards per attempt (8.4) and 11th in scoring defense (28.8 points per game).
Prior to his stint with the Hogs, Odom served as head coach at Missouri from 2016-19. He posted a 25-25 overall record, including a 13-19 mark in SEC play, did not post a conference record over .500 and never finished higher than third in the SEC East. However, his 2018 Tigers finished No. 23 in the final College Football Playoff Rankings prior to their loss to Oklahoma State in the Liberty Bowl.