More from the Yurachek Interview That Sparked an Uproar among Razorback Nation

Eric Musselman
Craven Whitlow

The saying goes that April showers bring May flowers, and the Razorbacks have endured plenty of those rain storms over the years – in multiple sports.

On April 2, 1985, the legendary Eddie Sutton left Arkansas for Kentucky. On April 2, 2007, Dana Altman created the most awkward Hog call of all time before bailing on the job less than 24 hours after taking it. On April 1, 2012, Bobby Petrino’s tenure at Arkansas crashed and burned.

Two’s a coincidence, but three’s a pattern. Historically speaking, this time of year has been very unkind to Razorback athletics.

The latest early-April debacle came when Hunter Yurachek appeared as a guest on the relatively-unknown “1 Star Recruits” podcast, and produced an interview filled with some bizarre quotes that did little to reassure an anxious Arkansas fan base. 

The podcast, based in Southern California, had just 509 followers on Twitter, making it a strange media appearance for the Arkansas AD.

After weeks of uncomfortable silence from Eric Musselman regarding his future, Yurachek attempted to set the record straight by seemingly announcing the head coach’s return for the upcoming season in a skit posted on Thursday. Unfortunately for Arkansas, that storyline was far from finished.

Rumors quickly came out suggesting that Yurachek had gone behind Musselman’s back to post that video, and that the Head Hog was unaware of it. Surely not, right?

But of course, Arkansas found a way to level up the drama once again. Any speculation about this apparent “Videogate” was put to bed on Monday – by Yurachek himself – but his strange responses ended up posing more questions than answers. 

“He’s still the head basketball coach as we sit here today at the University of Arkansas…but that may change tomorrow,” Yurachek said on Monday. On Tuesday, Musselman was not exactly declared as the next USC basketball coach, but he definitely took a step in that direction when it was announced that he would interview at USC on Wednesday. “If there was a short list, Musselman and San Diego State head coach Brian Dutcher were the two foremost names on the board for USC Athletic Director Jennifer Cohen to pursue,” Matt Zemek wrote for Trojans Wire.

Meanwhile, Yurachek’s pursuit of Musselman seems to be waning. On the interview with “1 Star Recruits,” he admitted “[the skit] was not something that was a coordinated or collaborated effort with Coach Musselman.”

The interview seemed so ludicrous on its face that the hosts of 103.7 The Buzz Drive Time Sports, Rick Schaeffer and Randy Rainwater, thought that it was an April Fools’ joke when they first heard about it live on air.

“Where did that come from…is that the real Hunter Yurachek? What is today, guys?”

“Oh, okay. April 1st, alright. I got it. The name’s Tucker, not sucker.”


A “leverage play” with Arkansas Basketball?

Many Arkansas fans immediately hit the panic button on what certainly appears to be a situation that starts with an “s” and ends with a “hitshow”. But is it possible Yurachek has a plan in place, and this podcast appearance might have been a strategic move?

The constant speculation about Musselman likely has Yurachek feeling like he’s being held hostage by the same man who’s supposed to be working for him. After all, he’s given the Head Hog everything he’s asked for to try and keep him happy. 

A top-12 salary of over $4 million? Check. A low buyout with flexibility for a coach that’s been a career nomad? Check – Musselman is available for the strikingly-low cost of $750,000 to other programs. Simply put, Yurachek has done everything he can to keep Musselman. If he truly wants to leave, there’s not much he can do about it. The worst scenario for both parties is having a head coach whose heart isn’t really in it.

So on the one hand, Yurachek’s video debacle can be viewed as a desperate move – and his podcast appearance a foolish admission of a fractured relationship between athletic director and head coach.

But to play devil’s advocate for the AD, maybe working outside of Musselman’s knowledge on the skit was simply a leverage play to force the head coach’s hand. Could that have been an AD effectively telling his head coach to s*** or get off the pot? It would indeed be a bad look for Musselman to leave after his return was seemingly confirmed by his boss and the official program Twitter account.

On the podcast appearance, the only thing that comes to mind is that maybe Yurachek has seen the rumors heating up surrounding USC and wanted to get out ahead of the storm. After all, his tone throughout the interview was pretty nonchalant. He didn’t seem to be too concerned at the idea of Musselman leaving. 

With the speculation hanging around since January, it’s likely that Yurachek has a contingency plan in place behind closed doors in the event of a job search. So maybe it was two calculated moves by the AD, or maybe it was a screw up and some attempted damage control – there’s really no way to tell. But the public perception has largely tilted toward that of Arkansas being in disarray, and that is not good news for anybody involved with the program.

Hunter Yurachek Avoids the Noise

On the topic of public perception, Yurachek had an interesting answer regarding his social media use. Many people’s frustrations with Musselman stemmed from the fact that he was certainly aware of all of the rumors due to how plugged in he is online. Yurachek, on the other hand, said that his screen time is mostly a one-way information stream.

“I try to block out the noise,” Yurachek said in a part of the “1 Star Recruits” podcast that will publish on Wednesday. “I’m not active on social media from receiving things. I push out information about our student-athletes and their success and their upcoming games and events and things of that nature.”

Scrolling through his Twitter account, that certainly holds true. Almost all of his posts are simply quoting various team accounts and offering encouragement before games and congratulations after big wins. 

As far as the botched skit goes, Yurachek said that’s his “sense of humor coming across”. While Arkansas basketball fans might not have been in much of a joking mood surrounding the Musselman situation, the AD said he doesn’t mind the criticism coming his way.

“I’d rather have a passionate fan base that’s throwing daggers a few times than an apathetic fan base that really doesn’t care,” Yurachek said.

And Lord knows Razorback Nation is dangerous when they get ahold of sharp objects.

You Just Know We Had to Bring in Sam Pittman

Much of the frustration towards Yurachek stems from leftover sour feelings from his decision to retain Sam Pittman in November following a 4-8 football season. On the podcast, he stood by his decision to back the Head Hog and why he believes certain offseason changes will improve the team’s performance next year.

“We had some talent,” Yurachek said. “I’m not sure we had great leadership, and then we had an offensive coordinator that may not have been the best fit at the best time for our program. That’s where Coach Petrino has filled that gap. I truly believe what Sam Pittman missed last year was having a head coach like he had in Barry Odom, a former head coach as a member of his staff.”

That’s all well and good, and the switch from Dan Enos to Petrino will certainly help jumpstart the offense next season. But where most people’s doubts lie is on the recruiting front, which has struggled as of late, as well as head-scratchers like running backs coach Jimmy Smith jumping ship for TCU and the weird situation leading up to offensive lineman Andrew Chamblee’s departure.

In addition to the questionable quotes on Musselman’s status, some of the statements Yurachek made about the football program will surely draw the ire of frustrated fans who view this upcoming season as “do or die” for Pittman

“I don’t know that this is a make or break year, but this is a year, definitively,” Yurachek said. “We’ve got to show some improvement heading back in the direction away from 4-8 and towards 7-5, 8-4.”

While the nonchalant tone might have been reassuring on the basketball coaching front, his lack of urgency surrounding the football program is certainly grounds for frustration. Football is king, especially in the south, and it’s brutal to be stuck in the cellar of the SEC in the country’s most popular sport. 

Yes, a No. 1 ranking in baseball is a lot of fun, but no fan wants to already be dreading football season before it even starts.

Win as One Razorback

Yurachek’s best achievement at Arkansas is undoubtedly how well-rounded the athletic department has become under his watch. Baseball and basketball have obviously been nationally competitive, but it’s been the growth of women’s sports without much history of winning that have been a pleasant surprise.

Courtney Deifel, Jason Watson and Colby Hale have turned the Arkansas’ softball, volleyball and soccer programs, respectively, into perennial contenders and SEC champions. Former Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber, meanwhile, has been a revelation as head coach of the gymnastics team. And it goes without saying that the Razorbacks’ track and field teams have been dominant, as usual.

“It’s frustrating,” Yurachek said. “I understand where our fanbase is, and obviously everyone wants our football, men’s basketball and men’s baseball programs to be successful. But I’m the director of athletics, not the director of football…I have 19 sports programs and 465 student-athletes, and I want all of those 465 student-athletes to have an opportunity for success in their athletic venues.”

When it comes to the Directors’ Cup, an award tied to the U.S. colleges and universities with the most success in athletics across the board, Arkansas is doing very well. Same goes in the arena of fiscal responsibility. 

“The fact that the University of Arkansas, our budget ranks right now 10th or 11th out of 14 SEC schools in our overall operating budget but the fact that we’re able to finish 7th, 8th and 13th in the last three years out of 358 schools in the Learfield Directors’ Cup is an incredible testament to our student-athletes,” Yurackek said. “We’ve won 35 SEC championships among 11 sports in the last six years. That leads our SEC counterparts.”

But unfortunately for Yurachek, the Directors’ Cup standings are far from the first thing on the mind of fans and boosters. At the end of the day, the job of an athletic director is to drive revenue for the program. If the money dries up – especially in the NIL era – you’re probably toast.

There’s also the disappointing state of the women’s basketball program, which has been bleeding its best talent to the portal and continually underachieving under Mike Neighbors. While women’s hoops blossoms in the national limelight and posts record ratings, Arkansas has seemingly been left behind watching its conference rivals in the Big Dance from home.

So as much as the “Win as One Razorback” camaraderie has been great to see across campus, Yurachek needs to maintain success in the traditional “revenue sports” in order to keep himself in good standing with both the fans and the higher-ups. 

With a football program that isn’t generating much excitement and a basketball program mired in controversy and speculation, that doesn’t bode well for him. Whether Musselman stays or goes, Yurachek needs to exhibit more clear messaging and confidence with the fanbase. 

Going onto a random SoCal podcast and admitting to suspect reasoning around “Videogate” isn’t exactly moving the ball down the field in this regard. 


To hear the entire interview, which publishes on Wednesday, follow 1 Star Recruits Podcast through the below handle on “X” or or one of these platforms:

Apple Podcasts –

Spotify –

Youtube –


If you’re curious as to where the DriveTime Sports co-hosts interpreted some of Yurachek’s comments to be an April Fool’s joke, simply start listening at the 29:15 mark here.


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