FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has hired Houston athletics director Hunter Yurachek to the same position, the university confirmed Monday.
Yurachek will replace Jeff Long, who was fired Nov. 15 "for convenience," officials said at the time. Yurachek signed a five-year contract with Arkansas that is worth $850,000 per year and includes a $200,000 signing bonus.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Yurachek was under contract at Houston through 2021 at a salary of $450,000. He will owe Houston $350,000 to break his contract, which will be paid by UA.
“The opportunity to serve the Razorback program is both humbling and exciting,” Yurachek said in a news release announcing the hire. “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."
A UA spokesman said Yurachek's base salary of $525,000 a year will be funded by the Athletic Department, and no taxpayer money will be used.
Other compensation for the new athletic director will also be paid for by the department, specifically from money raised from contracts with vendors of apparel and shoes and multimedia rights, Mark Rushing said.
According to the spokesman, the $350,000 payment to the University of Houston will be funded by money transferred from the Razorback Foundation to UA.
Yurachek steps into a unique situation at Arkansas, which had been conducting simultaneous searches for an athletics director and head football coach. Bret Bielema, who coached the Razorbacks' football team for five seasons, was fired Nov. 24.
Hunter Yurachek's offer letterView
A search firm, DHR International, is helping in Arkansas' efforts to replace Bielema.
Yurachek has been at Houston since April 2015 and last December oversaw a football coaching search that resulted in the Cougars promoting offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to head coach.
Yurachek previously served as the athletics director at Coastal Carolina. He also has past administrative experience at Virginia, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Akron and Western Illinois. He played basketball at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., and grew up in Charlotte, N.C.
His appointment comes on the same day the University of Arkansas' board of trustees met in executive session for more than two-and-a-half hours. Executive sessions are reserved to discuss employment matters.
On Saturday, UA Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz was in Houston to watch the Razorbacks' basketball game against Houston.
“I am thrilled to welcome Hunter to the Razorback family,” Steinmetz said. “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."
Yurachek has a wife, Jennifer, and three sons: Ryan, Jake and Brooks. Ryan Yurachek is a senior tight end at Marshall and was the team's second-leading receiver this season with 47 catches for 430 yards and 9 touchdowns. His touchdown total is tied for third nationally among tight ends.
Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
Aziza Musa of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contributed to this story.