HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Coach Sam Pittman is proud of wearing Razorback red, but he and his wife, Jamie, will be sporting Kelly green on March 17, 2022, when they serve as the King and Queen of the First Ever 19th Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® in downtown Hot Springs.
“We couldn’t be prouder than to have Coach Pittman and Jamie serve as the royal couple for our giant little parade,” Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison said. “Hot Springs is honored that they will participate in the resumption of our parade after it was disrupted two years by the pandemic.
“We always have a celebrity grand marshal and a celebrity official starter for the parade, but the honor of being king and queen is reserved for residents of Hot Springs, and we are proud that Coach and Mrs. Pittman are residents of Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, and enjoy spending time at their lake house here.”
The parade, which began in 2003, annually attracts upwards of 30,000 people to the city’s historic downtown district. The parade is immensely popular, with its insanely zany collection of marchers, strutters, dancers, waddlers and floats that cover the 98-foot length of Bridge Street in the heart of downtown Hot Springs.
Coach Pittman, one of the nation’s premier recruiters, was named the 34th head football coach in Razorback history prior to the 2020 season. He immediately turned the program around and the Hogs began winning again.
In 2020 Pittman guided the Razorbacks to their 43rd all-time bowl berth, becoming the fifth coach in school history to lead the team to a bowl in his first season and first since Houston Nutt in 1998 (Florida Citrus Bowl). The 2020 Texas Bowl, however, was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within TCU’s program.
Before his return to Fayetteville in 2020, Pittman spent four seasons on staff at Georgia, including the 2019 season when he served as associate head coach and offensive line coach for the Bulldogs.
An original member of Bret Bielema’s staff at Arkansas in 2013, Pittman helped build the Razorbacks’ offensive line into one of the league’s best. His first two offensive lines at Arkansas led the SEC in sacks allowed per game and his offensive line in 2014 paved the way for two 1,000-yard rushers in Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins.
The Oklahoma native has coached at seven different Power 5 schools during his 32 years of coaching, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, North Carolina and Tennessee. With a wealth of experience, Pittman is widely regarded as one of the nation’s best offensive line coaches. He has coached 17 players who have been selected in the NFL Draft since 2013.
A native of El Reno, Okla., Pittman and his wife, Jamie, reside in Fayetteville and have a home on Lake Hamilton.
After two postponements in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade® will return in full form March 17 with Cheech Marin as the celebrity grand marshal and Danny (Machete) Trejo as the official starter. The parade has consistently been designated among the Top 10 St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the world.
Marin and Trejo had been scheduled to participate in the 2020 parade, but the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the event for two years, resulting in drastically reduced versions in 2020 and 2021.
“We did have a parade — of sorts — those two years,” Arrison said, “just to keep up the tradition of having a parade, rain or shine. In 2020, we had a single marcher cover the 98-foot distance of Bridge Street, the world’s shortest street in everyday use. In 2021, we had a greatly reduced version of the parade, minus the cheering crowds that we normally would have had.”
For more information call Steve Arrison at 501-321-2027.