Yurachek to receive raise and extension after reported interest from Auburn
FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek has turned down an offer to fill the same position at Auburn, according to a report Monday by Arkansas Business.
The publication reported that Yurachek had been offered $2 million a year by Auburn, and initially reported that Yurachek would be given a modified contract due to interest from Auburn.
According to information obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette through a Freedom of Information Act request, Yurachek’s salary will be increased to $1.5 million per year beginning in January 2023 and his contract will be extended until as of December 31, 2027.
Yurachek was previously under contract until June 30, 2027.
Beginning in 2028, Yurachek will be eligible to receive $250,000 in deferred funds for each contract year. He is also eligible for additional raises consistent with AU faculty and staff pay increases.
The contract amendment has not been officially finalized, but the details were outlined in an Oct. 27 email from UA System Chairman Donald Bobbitt to other UA leaders. This email was provided as part of the FOIA request.
Yurachek did not directly address Auburn’s work, but issued a statement Monday shortly after the Arkansas Business report went live.
“Across the country, many have taken notice of the record-breaking success we achieved together at the University of Arkansas,” Yurachek wrote. “Our many accomplishments are a credit to the collective commitment of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, members of the Razorback Foundation, season ticket holders and fans. I sincerely appreciate the continued support of our program from our Board of Trustees, President Don Bobbitt, Acting Chancellor Charles Robinson, and the entire campus administration. I am honored to be the University of Arkansas Athletic Director and look forward to even greater things to come as we move forward together as ONE Razorback.
Yurachek, who was hired at Arkansas in December 2017, signed a 5-year contract extension in February that raised his salary from $850,000 to $1.25 million a year. He is also eligible for up to $175,000 in bonuses each year following an annual review by the AU Chancellor.
Bobbitt wrote in his October 27 email that Yurachek would receive his first $175,000 bonus on June 30, 2024.
The Razorbacks’ most profitable programs, football and men’s basketball, have seen a resurgence under the head coaches hired by Yurachek in 2019.
Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman is 17-14 in his third season and is one win away from taking the Razorbacks to a bowling game for the second straight season. Coach Eric Musselman has led the basketball program for the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight for the past two seasons and has a team ranked 10th in the preseason AP Top 25.
Nine other Arkansas sports have won at least one SEC championship since the start of the 2020-21 college year. Due to their success, Yurachek oversaw long-term contract extensions for several Arkansas head coaches, including Pittman, Musselman, and baseball coach Dave Van Horn.
“People ask me right now what’s the secret sauce that we’re so successful at,” Yurachek said Oct. 12 during a speech at Hawgs Illustrated Sports Club, “and it starts with our head coaches and the leadership roles they have within our department, not only for our student-athletes but also for their assistant coaches and our staff, and how they carry themselves out in our community, so it’s important to lock them in. most of them are now locked up for five, six or seven years depending on the incentives and the success they have and again they are a big part of the success we have, and i don’t want to go through anymore further research for coaching soon.
On Monday, Auburn fired its football coach, Bryan Harsin, midway through his sophomore season. Harsin’s team lost 41-27 to Arkansas last week to fall to 3-5 this season and 9-12 in his tenure.
The Associated Press reported last Saturday that Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen was in talks to take the job at Auburn. Allen Greene stepped down from that role at Auburn in August.