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Eric Musselman, Arkansas Reportedly Finalizing New Contract After Elite Eight Run

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 27: Head coach Eric Musselman of the Arkansas Razorbacks directs his team in the game against the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles during the second half in the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament  at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 27, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Arkansas is finalizing a multiyear contract with men's basketball coach Eric Musselman, according to Jeff Goodman of Stadium.

The Razorbacks went 20-12 in Musselman's first season before winning 25 games and reaching the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995 in 2020-21.

Arkansas originally gave Musselman a five-year contract in April 2019. He received a $2.5 million annual salary, which was reduced to $2.33 million amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That put him 49th in Division I, per USA Today.

While Musselman hasn't been in Fayetteville for very long, his success at Arkansas and Nevadaโ€”the Wolf Pack made the Sweet 16 in 2018โ€”has catapulted his stock skyward.

USA Today'Paul Myerberg argued in March the 56-year-old would be a good target for Indiana before the Hoosiers hired Mike Woodson. Mike Fisher of Longhorns Country reported he was among the fallbacks for Texas if the school was unable to land Chris Beard. The Arizona Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe reported he had also "generated interest" from Arizona.

It doesn't seem as though Arkansas was in imminent danger of losing Musselman, but the school couldn't afford to take any chances. Officials may have felt pressed to act after Alabama handed Nate Oats an extension through 2026-27 worth $3.2 million per season.

Nolan Richardson made the Razorbacks nationally relevant in the 1990s, delivering a national title in 1994 and a runner-up finish in 1995. For the most part, the program languished in mediocrity following Richardson's firing in 2002.

Expecting Musselman to deliver a national championship is probably asking a bit too much, but he clearly has things going in the right direction.