LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas coach John L. Smith is trying to wipe away $25.7 million in debt in bankruptcy court and hang onto $1.2 million in retirement accounts and some personal property, all while he leads the Razorbacks through one of the strangest seasons in team history.
Smith, who loudly implored reporters to "smile" at a press conference this week, has a meeting with a long list of creditors at U.S. Bankruptcy court in Fayetteville on Oct. 12, the day before the Razorbacks host Kentucky.
Smith was coaching Louisville when he began investing in real estate, which he has said, was profitable until land values took a nosedive. Smith filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Sept. 6, and court papers filed Wednesday detail the depth of his financial losses.
As of the filing, Smith had received $115,000 from his 10-month, $850,000 contract with Arkansas, plus $35,643 from his alma mater, Weber State, which he left before coaching a game to return to Fayetteville after Bobby Petrino's firing. He also picked up $9,810 from Nike and $1,057 from a football camp, according to the court documents.
Smith has two retirement accounts, each worth about $600,000, which his filing lists as exempt from liquidation, along with household furnishings.
The filing lists 26 unsecured creditors, with the largest debt – $20 million – claimed by Terra Springs LLC of Louisville. Other debts include $2 million to Republic Bank and $902,000 to King Southern Bank, both in Louisville. He also owes about $10,000 to American Express.