Arkansas Razorbacks Athletic Director, Hunter Yurachek, might be fighting for more than just a football coach but instead fighting to free athletics from those responsible for destroying it.
AUTHORS NOTE: The opinions and conclusions drawn in this article are mine and mine alone.
AUTHORS NOTE 2: This is not an attack on anyone personally and I do not want or support ANY attacks on anyone discussed in the piece. This does not help the program any more than the problems discussed below.
After two years at the position of Athletic Director for the University of Arkansas, Hunter Yurachek has already blown many fans away with his ability to instantly start turning Razorback Basketball around. Due to his hire of Eric Musselman, the Hogs basketball program in its first year has already broken records set by Arkansas coaching legend, Nolan Richardson.
Hunter Yurachek is shaping up to be the best thing to happen to Arkansas Razorback athletics in decades. It impacts Arkansas Athletics to its very foundation and some may say even to the ground that this foundation is set on.
Let’s start with the Musselman hire. After years of mediocrity and poor attendance, Yurachek had to kick his tenure off with something that not very many would choose to do. He fired Mike Anderson. Whether or not you liked this move makes no difference to the outcome. So Arkansas began yet another coaching search.
Hunter proved during this process that he was was very capable of finding the right leader and giving them the pieces to succeed. It would turn out to be a brilliant hire, one that we are reaping the rewards of already and its only year one. What we didn’t know at that time was that there was something tremendous surrounding that hire.
Yurachek had to get this right so he began by putting together a team and going through the hiring process. According to Mike Irwin, who has been an accurate historian and insider for many years at Arkansas, at some point within this process some of the privileged few approached Yurachek. Why would they not?
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I can’t help but think of the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing again and again with expectations of a change in the output. Arkansas has had a few good coaches in basketball. Sutton, Nolan, and Anderson, I have to assume, we’re in some part a move by the same boosters that failed for more than a decade before Sutton and for nearly another decade after Nolan.
If given enough time, I am sure that we could find evidence for something involving all coaches up to now but for the intent of this article, I will not be going through all of that. There was a very good reason that they felt they could waltz on up to Yurachek and start pulling their weight.
Before we can look at how Yurachek is finally working against this network, it is important to look back at another basketball coach to see how other parts of this operation take place. The story of Nolan Richardson is one of the best examples of how the boosters got away with years of running the program into the ground.
According to court documents, the worst event, in my opinion, was the Wally Hall article that would turn the fans on Nolan. What initiated this was an article Hall would write that Nolan felt poorly portrayed his son. Richardson called Wally and it got heated, according to the documents, leading to Richardson calling Hall a redneck.
The next day, however, Wally Hall wrote a piece telling the fans that Nolan had called Arkansas fans redneck SOBs. Effectively, this would send the fans into a blind frenzy. The court documents do not show that Wally Hall was asked to frame it this way but there is a reason to believe that he could have been that he doing exactly as he was told by Broyles.
I will link the legal documents here again for you to read the full story for yourself, as every Razorback fan should know it by heart. It is very important to today’s future. After Wally started a storm among fans, Broyles was at a banquet for Hawgs Illustrated. During this dinner, Broyles asked Clay Henry to write an article in the magazine to equate a black man using redneck SOB with a white mane using a truly disgusting racial name that he used for Nolan several times.
Broyles made sure to tell Henry to use the “word” in his article. In a true act of character that has earned my respect to this day, Henry said he would not do it and didn’t. Later he and Paul Eels would testify about this evening.
The truth of the matter is that Arkansas may be dictated and ran at the will of shadow money but they can not easily operate without having some support for their repetitively stupid hires, fires and beverage moves. In order for them to push these narratives, there must be individuals willing to do it and obviously, Broyles had a reason for feeling comfortable asking Henry to use his outlet to further escalate and ensure psychological manipulation of the fans to get what he wanted.
Funny enough, on March 8 of this year, Hall wrote in an article discussing the naming of the basketball court for Nolan, that the only forgiveness needed in this situation was from the fans towards Nolan. That is a little ironic but not nearly as far in fantasy land as Hall saying Richardson hadn’t apologized for HIS actions and most likely won’t. Later, he goes on to say “he spoke passionately against the injustices he felt he had suffered in life.”
Now, back to the Muss hire. Yurachek told the boosters that they wouldn’t be in control of this hire and did an amazing job, which is probably the best hire since Nolan. You would think that the boosters would be happy, right? I mean surely they just want the Hogs to succeed no matter who is the coach.
Well, what happens when you see something you can’t have? You want it more. Now imagine you are filthy rich and no one tells you no. Can you imagine how bad those boosters want to get back some control from Yurachek?
So how could they do it? For a second, let’s go back to the Chad Morris hire. We know that some shadowy boosters moved in before the A.D. was hired, to get a coach in place they wanted. During this time, they used an interim A.D. named Julie Cromer Peoples to get their guy in place.
During that time, the Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of Chancellor Joe Steinmetz to give control to an interim so they could go and hire an SEC football coach. This should show you how much power these boosters have and how easy it is to get what they want from those who should be guarding against this.
The Board gladly approved the hire and Arkansas would be run further into the ground by unknown elites. That hire lasted two years. It set records for how bad it was. It was disgustingly embarrassing and Chad Morris was the worst coach we have had since we have had a football team.
Yurachek now has the control and he will go get the best coach, free of the good ole boys who ruined our team. The end. Except there is one last little event to take note of and that is a sudden push for the Board of Trustees to now have more control in the hire. Which would do exactly what it sounds like, and that is to make Yurachek’s role in hiring coaches far more easy to rope in if he were to maybe go off the “plan.”
Who is pushing for this sudden change to allow the board to expand control in the hire? That would be, of course, Mr. Wally Hall. You can find his full propaganda here but I would like to note one thing he leaves out of his story. The unknown boosters influence. Rather he says it was all a big happy misunderstanding and that if you believe anything else, you are a conspiracy theorist.
I am sure this is all a coincidence. It’s a coincidence that Hall shows up where there needs to be a shift in opinion so that some underhanded deal can take place. There is no logically sound explanation for this. It is a straw-man argument to say “these people really care about the university” as bases for such a radical change.
Here is something he does not say- why did he come up with this idea? There is nothing that is happening with hiring that has sparked anything negative needing more oversight. Unless you count that time Yurachek told the good ole boys that they were done. In that case, it makes sense.
There has been a lot of great Razorback moments in my day but even the Miracle on Markham isn’t as great as the day will be when we have a program running in a way that stops these good ole boys from making our teams laughing stocks of the nation.
The thing is, I don’t mind the donors getting to discuss options but to attempt to usurp an A.D. who has shown he can do it better than them is crazy. If they actually had positions here, we would have fired them long ago because they are not good at running our programs. If you doubt me, look at football for countless years. Yes, there was Bobby who screwed up and Nutt had some sparks but couldn’t get over the hill. The results overall are garbage.
Given the data over the years, and absolutely reliable Mike Irwin publicly discussing the good ole boys and basic logical thinking, I can only conclude one thing. Hunter Yurachek is what Arkansas has needed for so long. It is almost like we have had a substitute teacher and some kids were getting away with everything, then suddenly one day we go to class and there is the actual teacher and the games are over.
What does that mean for Arkansas? It means we, the fans, are what matters. Our wants and our visions for the program are not ignored or manipulated by the entitled few. For that to be totally true, fans have to demand accountability from those who are using their status to manipulate the fan-base.
Yurachek didn’t just come in and start going crazy. Instead, he started by honoring the past that Arkansas was too afraid and prideful to face so that we could start a new fresh era of Razorback Basketball. Let’s hope we get the closure and a clean rebirth soon in football.