While Arkansas lost wide receivers coach George McDonald to the offensive coordinator position at Syracuse, the Razorbacks secured the services of new tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr.
Lunney was a four-year starter at Arkansas in the early 1990s and led the Hogs to the 1995 SEC-Western Division Championship in 1995. He was a graduate assistant at Arkansas for a year before being an assistant coach at Tulsa and San Jose State. He has served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach the past eight seasons at Bentonville high school under his father, Barry Lunney Sr.
Sources say new UA linebackers coach Randy Shannon will stay at Arkansas, despite overtures from East Carolina to become the defensive coordinator.
Sources also say that one week ago McDonald turned down the wide receivers coaching position with the NFL's Tennessee Titans to stay at Arkansas. The deal is believed to have been roughly a $100,000 more than his contract with Arkansas. McDonald however has agreed to take the offensive coordinator position at Syracuse.
"I have accepted George McDonald's resignation from the Arkansas football team as he has decided to pursue other career opportunities," Razorback head coach Bret Bielema said. "When you set out to assemble one of the top coaching staffs in the country, the group will consist of individuals who are highly respected and highly sought after. I have always tried to hire coaches who possess the qualities and ambition to move up in our profession. I wish George the best of luck in the future as an offensive coordinator at a major university."
The following is the official UA release on the Lunney hire:
UA Media Relations
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Barry Lunney Jr., a former UA letterman and graduate assistant coach, has been named Arkansas' tight ends coach, head coach Bret Bielema announced Tuesday.
"In the world of college football there have been numerous examples of high school coaches joining a college coaching staff and making an immediate impact," Coach Bielema said.
"Barry has experienced success through his seven years as a college coach and at the highest levels in high school. He understands the demands of being a college coach, and the championship teams he helped lead at Bentonville High School routinely produced one of the state's top offenses. He attended Razorback games starting at a very early age and generations of his family have been a part of building the tradition at Arkansas. He was a captain who led this program to its first SEC Western Division title and he will be a tremendous bridge to fill the gap between this coaching staff and all of our former letterwinners, high school coaches in Arkansas and the entire state."
Lunney most recently has served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Bentonville High School since 2005. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arkansas before coaching at Tulsa and as the co-offensive coordinator at San Jose State.
In his eight years at Bentonville, the Tigers won 78 games, including 25 straight in 2010-11, played in four state championship games, claiming state titles in 2008 and 2010, and won six straight 7A West Conference crowns from 2007-12. Bentonville played in each of the last three 7A state championship games and won at least 12 games in four of the last five seasons.
Bentonville quarterback Dallas Hardison broke the Arkansas state single-season completion percentage record in 2010 and bettered the record in 2011 under the direct guidance of Lunney. In 2011 and 2012, the Tigers won their first 12 games to advance to the state championship game with an offense that averaged 42.5 and 36.8 points per game, respectively.
The 2010 Bentonville team finished the season 13-0 and won the 7A state championship. The offense averaged 47.0 points per game and scored at least 40 points nine times, including 49 points in the semifinal round and the state championship game. In 2009, the Tigers averaged 38.5 points per game and scored more than 40 points in six games while advancing to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs and finishing with a 9-2 overall record.
Lunney's first state title at Bentonville came in 2008 as the Tigers won 12 games for the first time since 2001. The offense averaged 30.2 points per game and scored more than 30 points in seven of 13 games. In 2007, Bentonville won the first of its six straight conference crowns and advanced to the semifinal round of the state playoffs behind an offense that averaged 31.1 points per game. The 2006 Tigers qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since 2001 as the offense averaged 34.2 points per game. In 2005, Lunney's first year in charge of the Bentonville offense, its per-game scoring average improved by more than 20 points from the previous year.
Before moving to the high school coaching ranks, Lunney compiled seven years of collegiate coaching experience. His coaching career began with two seasons as a graduate assistant at Arkansas. In 1998, Arkansas won its first eight games and rose to No. 9 in the national rankings on the way to sharing the SEC Western Division title and earning a berth in the Florida Citrus Bowl. Lunney served as the Razorbacks' running backs coach for the bowl game and throughout the spring of 1999. Arkansas spent the majority of the 1999 season in the top 25 of the national rankings and finished the year with a 27-6 win over No. 14 Texas in the Cotton Bowl.
After his time as a graduate assistant, he spent three seasons at Tulsa, first working with quarterbacks in 2000 and 2001 and then moving to wide receivers in 2002. In 2000, quarterback Josh Blankenship, who was named to the conference's all-academic team, ranked fifth in the WAC in total offense and receiver Don Shoals led the conference and ranked 11th in the NCAA in receptions per game.
Lunney was hired from Tulsa to be the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at San Jose State. In his two seasons there, the offense produced six all-conference performers, and tight end Courtney Anderson was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the 2004 NFL Draft. In 2003, the Spartans ranked 17th in the NCAA in passing offense and quarterback Scott Rislov ranked third in the WAC in passing efficiency and total offense.
As a player for the Razorbacks, Lunney lettered from 1992-95, starting 40 games at quarterback, and was a team captain on the 1995 team that played in the SEC Championship Game for the first time in school history. In his first game as the starting quarterback, he led Arkansas to an upset win at No. 4 Tennessee. He left Arkansas holding UA career records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, pass completions, pass attempts and total offense plays. Lunney also played baseball at Arkansas. He was drafted by the Montreal Expos out of high school in 1992 and by the Minnesota Twins in 1996 and played one season of minor league baseball in the Twins organization.
Lunney graduated from Arkansas in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He and his wife, Janelle, have two sons, Luke and Levi. His grandfather, John lettered at Arkansas from 1946-49.
Barry Lunney Jr. Coaching History
Jan. 2013 Arkansas (Tight Ends)
2005-12 Bentonville High School (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
2003-04 San Jose State (co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
2002 Tulsa (Wide Receivers)
2000-01 Tulsa (Quarterbacks)
1998-99 Arkansas (Graduate Assistant-Offense)
Home Town: Fort Smith, Ark.
Birthdate: Sept. 11, 1974
Family: Wife, Janelle; Sons, Luke and Levi
Bowl Games: Cotton Bowl, 2000; Florida Citrus Bowl, 1999