UNLV hires Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom as coach

UNLV has hired Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom to be its next head coach, the school announced Tuesday.

He will be formally introduced in a 10 a.m. news conference on Wednesday.

Odom has spent the past three seasons at Arkansas under coach Sam Pittman. He's the former head coach at Missouri, his alma mater, where he went 25-25 between 2016 and 2019. Odom, 46, replaces Marcus Arroyo, who UNLV fired on Nov. 28 after three seasons with the program and a 7-23 record.

"We had a tremendous amount of interest in this head coaching position and Coach Odom checked every box, including having experience successfully leading a program at the highest level of this sport," UNLV athletic director Erick Harper said in a news release announcing the hire. "He is unanimously well-respected around the country and is the right person at the right time for the Rebels as this program, this department and this university continue to ascend as part of the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World here in Las Vegas."

Odom was also a strong candidate for Tulsa's head-coaching vacancy, filled by Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson.

Arkansas' defense made strides in Odom's first two seasons, allowing only 22.9 points per game in 2021. He coached several standout players with the Razorbacks, including cornerback Montaric Brown, safety Jalen Catalon and linebackers Bumper Pool and Drew Sanders.

"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," Odom said in a statement. "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 served as defensive coordinator at both Memphis and Missouri before replacing longtime Missouri coach Gary Pinkel following the 2015 season.