‘Turn That Damn Jukebox On’: ‘College GameDay’ Goes Behind Scenes of Arkansas’ Epic Locker Room Celebrations

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Arkansas Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman is making old school cool again.

His once-lowly Razorbacks are rolling. And after each win, Pittman tells his team “turn that damn juke box on.”

In other words, it’s a party every Saturday in Fayetteville for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Fans are calling the Hogs and players are pumping up the music in a post-game locker room celebration. Pittman, who will be 60 in November, thinks the music is from a juke box. Players know it’s streaming. Different words, different generations, but it all means the same thing. When you win, crank up the damn music.

ESPN’s College Football GameDay traveling road show featured Pittman and his Arkansas Razorbacks, Saturday morning as part of its preview of games. And then ESPN tweeted video of Pittman in the locker room. Maybe one day, “Turn that damn jukebox on” will be held in the same esteem as “Wooo! Pigs! Sooey!

Arkansas Introduced Pittman as Its Coach Before 2020 Season

Pittman is in his second season as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. He wiped away tears when he was introduced to the Razorback faithful when he first took the job. He’d spent the past four seasons as an assistant at Georgia. Before that, he coached the line and was an associate head coach at Arkansas. He explained that after more than 30 years in the business, Pittman thought he’d never be a head coach. After all, he was an offensive line coach. Those guys tend to be gruff, matter of fact, and decidedly unglamorous.

On Oct. 3, 2020, the Arkansas Razorbacks beat Mississippi State. The victory broke a 20-game SEC losing streak. Pittman was so excited in the locker room, he exclaimed “Turn that damn jukebox on.” And a team motto was born. After all, the best slogans come organically and from the emotional gut.

In an interview a few days later, Pittman was asked about his jukebox line. Seems some fans didn’t like that he used the word “damn.”

“Man, that showed my age, didn’t it,” said the new Arkansas Razorbacks coach. “Maybe I was hanging out in the wrong places when I was a kid. No, I actually got a T-shirt, Nike T-shirt, by the way, that said, ‘turn up that damn jukebox.’ Yeah, I’ve caught a little flack on that. and I’ll be honest with you, I just am who I am. I don’t have sayings and all that, but some of these kind of silly sayings I say have caught on and I don’t mean them to and it’s just who I am. I thought there was a jukebox in there, so I just wanted to crank it up.”

The Arkansas Razorbacks are 3-0 to start 2021. The locker room was really rowdy when the Hogs upset long-time rival Texas. The student section at Razorbacks Stadium swarmed the field.

Pittman is having fun and hoping for more jukebox moments. The Razorbacks play Texas A&M Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tx.

“I don’t have much experience at this stuff,” Pittman told ESPN. “I don’t know if I’m doing it right, but I’m doing it exactly how I want to.”

Outsider.com