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Patrick departing from Arkansas

by Bob Holt | May 5, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman just filled an opening on his basketball staff, but now has another.

A source told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Tuesday that David Patrick resigned at Arkansas after one season as an assistant coach. A source also confirmed Patrick interviewed with Oklahoma last week.

College basketball reporter Jon Rothstein tweeted Tuesday that Patrick has accepted an assistant coaching position with the Sooners under new Oklahoma Coach Porter Moser, who is Patrick’s longtime friend and a former coach at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Oklahoma has not yet announced Patrick’s hiring.

The news of Patrick’s departure from Arkansas came one day after Musselman announced the hiring of Gus Argenal from Cal State Fullerton on Monday to be an assistant coach.

Patrick, who signed a two-year contract with Arkansas last summer, is leaving the UA without having to pay a buyout. He would have owed $400,000 — his annual salary — if he had left before May 1 for another assistant coaching job.

If Patrick had stayed at Arkansas through the end of the 2021-22 season, he would have made $600,000, including a $200,000 retention bonus.

Patrick became Musselman’s top assistant and had the title of associate head coach when he was hired on July 1, 2020, after being the head coach at California-Riverside for two seasons.

In Patrick’s only season at Arkansas, he helped the Razorbacks finish 25-7 and advance to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the first time since 1995.

Patrick is the third assistant coach to leave Arkansas in Musselman’s two seasons, including Chris Crutchfield and Corey Williams.

Patrick was hired to replace Crutchfield, who left Arkansas after the 2019-20 season to become head coach at East Central University, an NCAA Division II program in Ada, Okla., where he was able to coach his two sons.

After Crutchfield led ECU to a 10-9 record, he was hired as an assistant coach at Oregon on April 14 by Ducks Coach Dana Altman — who was Arkansas’ coach for one day before he resigned his new position on April 3, 2007, to return to Creighton.

Crutchfield was an assistant coach at Oklahoma for eight years before Musselman hired him to be on his first Arkansas staff.

Williams, a former head coach at Stetson, resigned at Arkansas after this season to become an assistant coach at Texas Tech under new Red Raiders Coach Mark Adams. Williams’ salary at Texas Tech will be $400,000, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported, a significant raise from the $250,000 he made at Arkansas.

Argenal will be paid $200,000 in his new position at Arkansas, the same salary as assistant coach Clay Moser, who remains from Musselman’s first staff with the Razorbacks.

Patrick could face the Razorbacks next season as Arkansas and Oklahoma are scheduled to play on Dec. 12, 2021, in Tulsa at the BOK Center in the first matchup of a two-game series.

An Arkansas spokesman said the intent is for the Razorbacks to play the Sooners next season, but that is not finalized and might depend on whether the BOK Center is cleared to have full capacity.

Arkansas and Oklahoma were scheduled to play this season, but the series was pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Patrick served as Arkansas’ head coach when the Razorbacks beat Abilene Christian 85-72 on Dec. 22 because Musselman was self-quarantining in contact tracing protocols after another staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Musselman did not have the virus and returned to the bench for Arkansas’ next game when the Razorbacks won 97-85 at Auburn.

After this season Patrick interviewed for head coaching vacancies at San Jose State and Texas-El Paso, sources confirmed, but those jobs went to Tim Mills and Joe Golding, a former UALR assistant coach who was Abilene Christian’s coach the past 10 seasons.

Musselman and Patrick previously worked together as assistants at LSU during the 2014-15 season and had known each other since 2008.

Patrick was 27-38 at California-Riverside, but the Highlanders improved from 10-23 in his first season to 17-15 in his second season before he left for Arkansas.

A native of Bermuda who grew up in Melbourne, Patrick has been appointed as an assistant coach for the Australian National Team that will play in the Olympics this summer in Tokyo.

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