University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz announced today the appointment of Hunter Yurachek as vice chancellor and director of athletics, effective immediately. Yurachek currently serves as the vice president for athletics at the University of Houston.Following is what we wrote several hours earlier in the afternoon on news broken, as has become traditional, by out-of-state sources. (Though please credit Arkansas Blog for first telling you Jeff Long was headed for the door.)
He will be formally introduced to the state and to members of the media later this week at a time to be determined.
“I am thrilled to welcome Hunter to the Razorback family,” said Steinmetz. “He possesses the experience, the management skills and the passion to have an immediate impact on our university. I know that as Razorbacks around our state and country get to know him, they will know that we are in good hands. We welcome Hunter, Jennifer and their children to Arkansas.”
During the 2016-17 academic year, 11 of the 17 varsity sports programs at the University of Houston qualified for NCAA postseason competition, teams won five American Athletic Conference team championships and 21 individual conference titles. Prior to arriving at Houston, Yurachek served as Director of Athletics at Coastal Carolina University, where Coastal won 29 Big South Conference championships. Yurachek was named Under Armor FCS Athletic Director of the Year in 2014. He has also worked at the University of Akron, the University of Virginia, Western Carolina University, Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University.
“The opportunity to serve the Razorback program is both humbling and exciting,” said bYurachek. “There is so much already in place, and we will quickly build on that foundation to win championships. We will do so with integrity and while continuing to be a great source of pride for the entire state of Arkansas. I want to thank Chancellor Steinmetz and those involved with the search process. Jennifer, myself and our family cannot wait to join the Arkansas Razorback family.”
A native of Richmond, Virginia, Yurachek earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Guilford College in 1990 and a master’s degree in sports administration from the University of Richmond in 1994. He was a four-year letter winner in basketball at Guilford. Yurachek and his wife, Jennifer, have three sons, Ryan, Jake and Brooks.
“I want to thank the members of the advisory committee,” added Steinmetz. “Lance Harter, Ben Hyneman, Gerald Jordan, Stacy Lewis, Peter MacKeith, Rick Massey and Bill Montgomery all who provided invaluable input into the search and candidates. I also want to recognize the excellent vetting and background work conducted on the final candidates by executive search firm Korn Ferry.”
Yurachek has agreed to a five-year contract worth $850,000 a year.
Yurachek, who was promoted to replace Mack Rhoades in April 2015, has overseen more than $230 million in capital projects and renovations in recent years. Those projects include the opening of the Guy V. Lewis Development Center, indoor practice facility for the football program and the Fertitta Center, which is scheduled to open late next year.Perhaps the UA Board meeting today was to run this pick by the trustees in preparation for a formal announcement later. Or not. Last week, KNWA reported with some confidence that Derrick Gragg of Tulsa was going to get the job. The UA said then no pick had been made, though Gragg reportedly was interviewed Sunday.
Yurachek has four years left on a contract extension he signed last year that pays $450,000 annually.