Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
UA extends Yurachek contract by 5 years
Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek is shown during a news conference Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas Athletics Director Hunter Yurachek has signed a contract extension through 2027.
Yurachek is in line to be paid a base annual salary of $1.25 million under the new agreement, which was released Thursday in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Yurachek could also receive up to $175,000 a year following an annual review in which the UA chancellor will evaluate the overall performance of the athletics department.
Yurachek signed the new contract Feb. 3 and it was finalized with the signature of UA System President Donald Bobbitt on Sunday.
According to his contract, Yurachek will be paid $566,000 in UA salary — just shy of the line-item maximum for his position — and an additional $684,000 for speaking engagements, TV and radio interviews, and other sponsorship obligations.
The UA Board of Trustees is expected to vote whether to approve the salary at its next scheduled meeting on March 16-17 in Little Rock.
Yurachek, who is in Puerto Vallerta, Mexico, with the Razorbacks’ softball team, provided a statement about the contract extension.
“It is an honor to serve as the Director of Athletics at the University of Arkansas,” Yurachek said. "The tremendous success our program has enjoyed in the past four years, is directly attributable to the dedicated efforts of our 465-plus student-athletes, coaches, staff members, Razorback Foundation members and fans. I am grateful for the leadership and continuing support of our Board of Trustees, Dr. Don Bobbitt and Chancellor Charles Robinson in positioning us to succeed as an institution and an intercollegiate athletics program.
“When my family and I first arrived at the University of Arkansas, it would have been impossible to fully gauge the extraordinary welcome we would receive and measure the depth of passion and commitment of the Razorback nation. Today, we are proud Arkansans, members of the Razorback Family and remain focused on working with all those invested in the success of our program to accomplish our mission of developing champions and Razorbacks for Life.”
The Razorbacks’ most profitable programs, football and men’s basketball, have experienced a resurgence under head coaches hired by Yurachek in 2019.
Arkansas’ football team finished the 2021 season with a 9-4 record and a victory over Penn State in the Outback Bowl under second-year head coach Sam Pittman, and the basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in the second season under coach Eric Musselman last year.
Musselman’s team is 19-5 this season and defeated No. 1 Auburn 80-76 in overtime in the Razorbacks’ most recent game.
Nine other Arkansas sports won SEC championships during the 2020-21 academic year, and the Razorbacks won the NCAA championship for women’s indoor track and field. Three sports repeated as conference champions in the fall of 2021.
Yurachek has also overseen long-term contract extensions for Musselman, baseball coach Dave Van Horn and women’s basketball coach Mike Neighbors, and multiple building projects, including the $27 million Hunt Baseball Development Center that opened last year.
“Now in his fifth year as vice chancellor and director of athletics at the University of Arkansas, Hunter Yurachek has helped guide the Razorback program to record-breaking heights including the most successful collective sports year in Razorback history,” UA Chancellor Charles Robinson said. “NCAA titles and SEC championships, new and upgraded facilities are important, but even more impressive is our emphasis on student outcomes as Razorback student-athletes combined for a 3.25 GPA during that same stretch, reinforcing Hunter’s resolve on developing the skills that will serve our students well long after they wrap up their athletic careers.
“I am very pleased that under Hunter’s continued leadership, the Arkansas Razorbacks will be well-positioned into the future.”
Yurachek was hired from Houston in December 2017, one month after the UA fired former Athletics Director Jeff Long.
Yurachek’s initial contract ran through December at an annual salary of $850,000. His new contract runs through June 30, 2027.
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