Hunter Yurachek has been named vice president for intercollegiate athletics and athletic director at the University of Houston, the school announced Tuesday.Some UH fans I know are underwhelmed by this hire. They think that Houston should have found a "name" AD, or at least hired somebody with strong connections to the "Power 5" conferences that Houston wants to join. Others think that Yuraheck is going to be little more than a "yes man" for President Renu Khator and Chairman of the Board of Regents Tillman Fertitta. Still other UH fans seem to be happy with this hire, citing Yurachek's accomplishments as AD at Coastal Carolina - he was named the Football Championship Subdivision athletic director of the year in 2013-14 - and the fact that he has already had a successful tenure as second-in-command at Houston:
Yurachek replaces Mack Rhoades, who announced in March he was leaving to become the new AD at Missouri.
"Hunter Yurachek is the best leader and administrator for where we are, and where we are going," UH president Renu Khator said. "He brings both a fresh perspective and a keen understanding of our strengths and opportunities."
Yurachek has spent the past 14 months serving as UH's associate vice president and chief operating officer for intercollegiate athletics, the No. 2 official in the athletic department.
"This is an exciting time to be at the University of Houston, and I embrace the challenge of leading our athletics program to the next level." Yurachek said.
At UH, Yurachek has been responsible for the day-to-day oversight of UH's athletic program that comprises 17 varsity sports, more than 400 student athletes, 175 employees and a $40 million-plus operational budget.Which makes me wonder: while Yurachek was doing all this work, what was Mack Rhoades doing?
Yurachek served as chair for a campus steering committee to oversee the grand opening of $120 million TDECU Stadium last August and helped secure a 10-year, $15 million naming rights deal for the on-campus football stadium. He also was liaison with the architectural design firm on the Cougars' $25 million basketball development facility that opens this summer and oversaw the development of $1 million in upgrades to the men's and women's basketball locker rooms at Hofheinz Pavilion and the Athletics/Alumni Center, including the addition of a student-athlete nutrition center Cougar Café.
Yurachek was also part of the search committee to hire football coach Tom Herman and men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson and women's basketball coach Ronald Hughey.
Snark aside, Yurachek has a lot of work ahead of him: he needs to grow the season ticket base for football, get locals interested in basketball, renovate Hofheinz Pavilion, and make the Cougar program attractive to a P5 conference by the time the next round of conference realignment occurs. He also needs to raise funds, groom donors, and ensure that players graduate. Oh yeah, the programs (at least the revenue ones) need to win, as well.
Best of luck, Hunter!