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Yurachek defends coach at Little Rock Touchdown Club

by Mike Harley | September 19, 2023 at 3:13 a.m.
Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek is shown during a speech at the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Little Rock.

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek spoke to the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Monday afternoon at the DoubleTree Hotel in Little Rock.

It's been a tough year for Arkansas athletics as a number of notable deaths among alumni have shook up the university. While it has been a challenging time as of late in Fayetteville, Yurachek said he's grateful to be able to serve the university in such an important capacity.

"It is truly an honor and a privilege for me to serve in this role," Yurachek said. "Because of the people across this state and how they support our entire Razorback athletic program. It is special to sit in the chair that I sit, whether you're coming off a win or a loss, because of the people that support our program."

Yurachek spent time at the podium highlighting the athletic achievements of all 19 varsity sports that the university fields. Four of the five sports that are currently in action this fall are nationally ranked, with the football team being the one exception.

The football program is coming off a disappointing loss to BYU last Saturday night. Yurachek addressed the state of the team and also defended Coach Sam Pittman, who has come under some scrutiny following the loss to the Cougars.

"People say 'what's the matter with our football program?' " Yurachek said. "Quite honestly, I don't know that anything is the matter with our program but just normal football issues. Absolutely, we have some inexperience on our offensive line.

"Everybody says 'well Sam Pittman is the offensive line coach.' Well he knows how to coach an offensive line, but he can't coach experience. We lost three key members off of our offensive line last year."

Yurachek also made a point to defend quarterback KJ Jefferson and the overall work ethic of the players and coaches.

He is optimistic that the program will find more success this year, but is also aware of the daunting schedule that the Razorbacks face. Arkansas opens its SEC conference season by playing No. 12 LSU in Baton Rouge, La., the first of four consecutive games away from home.

Yurachek also addressed the University of Arkansas' relationship with Central Arkansas and War Memorial Stadium that became a hot topic several weeks ago when the Razorbacks hosted Western Carolina at the historic stadium.

Arkansas is currently scheduled to play UAPB in 2024 and Arkansas State in 2025. While Yurachek didn't rule out returning to Little Rock past 2025, he didn't commit to an extension either.

"We won't have decided what that looks like probably until next spring," Yurachek said. "We are going to evaluate what that scheduling model looks like. Is it nine SEC game plus a Power 5 requirement? And then we will evaluate what our relationship and partnership and what games will be played in Little Rock moving forward."

With football getting so much attention, Yurachek said other sports can sometimes get overshadowed. With 465 varsity athletes currently on Razorback athletic rosters, Yurachek spoke on how important it is to prioritize all of the athletic programs and not just the most lucrative sports like football and men's basketball.

"It's important for me as the director of athletics to set the tone within our department that all 19 sports are important, and our 465 student-athletes are important," he said. "I don't think I can say they are important if I am not there supporting them myself."

Print Headline: Yurachek defends coach at LRTDC


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