FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas is searching for a new football coach.
On Monday, Hunter Yurachek and Barry Lunney Jr. spoke with the media for about 40 minutes to discuss some aspects of the football program.
Here’s three tidbits from the presser.
Talent Level on Team
One thing that had irked some fans it appeared that Chad Morris was blaming the players following losses. Whether that was the case or not that was what many perceived. So the question to Yurachek what is the talent level at Arkansas?
“There is plenty of talent in our locker room,” Yurachek said. “It may not be Alabama level talents but we have plenty of talent I believe firmly within our locker room. That will be up to whoever we we choose as the next head coach what kind of system they choose as a head coach to be successful and help us win football games. So I’m not going to put myself in a box to say that a triple option coach or anything like that is a radical move. It’s that we’re going to hire the best football coach and allow them to put in the best system to make sure that our program is successful.”
There had been rumors of Morris getting a lump sum buyout of his contract. That was a theory that Yurachek shot down Monday.
“Well, we will file Coach Morris’ employment agreement, which does not include a lump sum payment, so he’s got four years remaining on his contract,” Yurachek said. “So, we will pay him on his contract 70 percent of his contract value over the course of the next four years. It is also a duty to mitigate within that. Obviously, it’s a challenge for us to take that money from somewhere and apply it to a buyout. But, we’ve got a great chief financial officer that has assured me that we have the means to do so, and I was comfortable making that change because of that.”
Does the huge buyouts change anything about contracts going forward at Arkansas?
“Well, the buyout situation throughout college athletics I don’t think is great,” Yurachek said. “I mean, there’s huge buyouts in all these contracts, and I did say I thought that, and I said it in my opening press conference, that losing football games should be condition for terms of your employment to be nullified, and that’s tough to be a pioneer in that because that hurts your candidate pool moving forward. It has to be an industry-wide change. It can’t be one where Arkansas takes the lead on that per se or it’s going to hurt our candidate pool. I don’t see any significant changes in how we do our contracts, and we will pay what we need to pay to get the best person to take this position.”
Convincing Next Coach He Has Time To Build Program
With Morris fired after 22 games, how does Yurachek convince candidates they will be given time to fix the program?
“That’s my job to sell them on that,” Yurachek said. “And quite honestly I know I’ve got to get this search right. We cannot afford as a department of athletics to go through this two or three years from now. The timing of tbis change gives me a little bit longer runway to really do my due diligence on this search and make sure we get the right candidate in here and that we allow that right candidate the time they need to build a program.
“Obviously it’s going to take steps. That first step is we’re just got to be competitive. We’ve got to put a competitive product out on that field that we all feel proud to support Saturday after Saturday. And then from that competitiveness will come wins and those wins will start to multiply year after year. But first thing we’ve just got to put a competitive product out there on the field.”