UA athletic director not ready to panic after Hogs' losses

By: Jeremy Muck
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2018
NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE
Hunter Yurachek, athletics director at the University of Arkansas, speaks Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, during a press conference to introduce Chad Morris as the university's newly hired football coach at the Fowler Family Baseball and Track Indoor Training Center in Fayetteville.
Photo by Andy Shupe
NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE Hunter Yurachek, athletics director at the University of Arkansas, speaks Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, during a press conference to introduce Chad Morris as the university's newly hired football coach at the Fowler Family Baseball and Track Indoor Training Center in Fayetteville.

Two days after the Arkansas Razorbacks were routed by North Texas 44-17 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Hunter Yurachek was at the Little Rock Touchdown Club to speak about the state of the football program.

"I share in your disappointment," Yurachek said after the University of Arkansas fell to 1-2, with both losses coming to schools outside of the Power 5 conferences. "I'm also disappointed in the way our football season has started this season.

"But I can promise you one thing: Chad Morris, John Chavis, Joe Craddock and our other full-time coaches and the 125 players in that locker room, whatever your level of disappointment is, I promise you that their disappointment level is much, much greater. However low you think you are, they're a lot lower than you are."

The Arkansas athletic director spoke Monday at the Touchdown Club at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock for the first time since taking over as the school's top athletic administrator in December.

Arkansas is 1-2 after two consecutive losses to Colorado State and North Texas. Yurachek said he didn't want to sugarcoat things or temper fans' disappointment, but he has confidence the situation will turn around.

"No one is settling," Yurachek said. "No one is throwing in the towel on a season that is three games old. More importantly, no one is turning their back on our head coach, our coaching staff or those young men in that locker room."

On Sunday morning, Yurachek attempted to be light on Twitter by posting a photo of the sun coming up Sunday morning.

When asked about his sunrise photo, Yurachek quipped that he loves sunrises. However, he ultimately wanted Razorbacks fans to remain positive despite Saturday's loss.

"I just wanted to put it in a little perspective that the sun came up [Sunday] morning," Yurachek said. "Everything's going to be OK with our football program. It's not where any of us wanted it to be right now. But we're going to get it there."

During Saturday's game, several fans booed the Razorbacks' performance. While Yurachek understood the booing, he said he wouldn't have done so had he been in the stands.

"We live in the greatest country in the world," Yurachek said. "You buy a ticket to come to a sporting event, you have the right to respond on how that sporting event is going in your opinion. Not the way I would respond. For those that booed, think of your son or your daughter, or your grandson or your granddaughter on that field and see if that's the way you want to respond."

Other highlights from Monday's Touchdown Club luncheon:

• Prayer leader Gary Underwood, on a fan coming up to him before Monday's prayer: "Somebody came up to the table and said, 'Take as long as you want with the prayer.' "

• David Bazzel on Arkansas fans' mood after the Razorbacks' loss to North Texas: "As our old buddy John L. Smith would say, 'Smile.' "

• Bazzel on the Razorbacks' 11 a.m. kickoff Sept. 29 against Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas: "We'll be having breakfast at Jerry's World for the pregame show."

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