Hoopin’ with Hunter Yurachek: A conversation with Arkansas’s Athletic Director

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — Hunter Yurachek can still hoop.

The former Guilford College basketball player met with our own Dorian Craft to discuss his tenure at Arkansas and play a tell-all game of Hogs.

In just over two years since taking over as the Athletics Director at the University of Arkansas, Hunter Yurachek has made two high-profile head coaching changes.

He fired then head men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson in March 2019. That was followed by the firing of head football coach Chad Morris, nearly eight months later.

He called the decision to fire Anderson, “the most difficult of his career”, noting Anderson’s record as a head coach, as well as the passion and love for him throughout the state.

But he admitted that felt it was necessary to “breathe new life” into the basketball program.

The first coaching search of his tenure landed Eric Musselman, officially naming him the new men’s head basketball coach on April 7, 2019. 

Yurachek believes Musselman has revitalized the program, saying that Coach Muss has “made it en vogue” to be a Razorbacks basketball fan.

Right now, the Razorbacks are currently 16-6 and 4-5 in SEC play.

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But the search for a new head football coach was highly scrutinized, even drawing messages from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. 

Yurachek said Hutchison texted him that he was “keeping him in his prayers” throughout the process. It was that kind of outreach that drove home the passion in the state for the Razorback football program.

He announced Sam Pittman as the new head football coach on December 8, 2019. 

Though not initially heralded by the national media as a “home-run hire”, Pittman quickly won over his doubters during his introductory press conference.

The new head Hog went to work, recently landing the No. 30 recruiting class in the country despite being at the helm over the program for less than two months.

With these two hires, Yurachek has the ability to be the most influential Athletic Director at Arkansas since Frank Broyles. 

The decisions he’s making now will have a lasting impact on the university and the state at large.

When asked what he wants his legacy at Arkansas to be, Yurachek said simply, “that each and every year we made a difference in the lives of young men and women.”

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