Yurachek’s Revelation about Musselman Contract Can’t Help but Stoke USC Basketball Fears

Jennifer Cohen, Hunter Yurachek

In the last few days, the last name “Cohen” has been a source of good news for Arkansas basketball fans. Especially after Josh Cohen, a 6’10” big with smooth moves down low, committed to Arkansas to become the first in a transfer class brimming with promising candidates.

Such good vibes associated with that particular surname may not last long, though. Jennifer Cohen, the athletic director of the University of Southern California, is helming a new coaching search that more and more looks like it will end up making some Razorback faithful quite upset.

USC Basketball Coach Candidates Emerge

Their head coach, Eric Musselman, is considered by many as the top candidate in the wake of former USC basketball coach Andy Enfield’s departure for SMU. At this juncture, other possibilities include Texas A&M’s Buzz Williams, TCU’s Jamie Dixon, Kansas State’s Jerome Tang, Colorado State’s Niko Medved and BYU’s Mark Pope, according to CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander.

On Wednesday, Eric Musselman will interview with Jennifer Cohen and talk to other USC basketball brass, according to an On3 report. He’s considered the most likely candidate on the board for the Trojans, according to USC insider Ryan Young.

The likelihood that Musselman will leave at this point seems higher than ever, which has put some of the Arkansas basketball players considering returning for another season in a state of limbo. Khalif Battle is definitely feeling the bewilderment:

This all builds on the news Hunter Yurachek broke on Monday, when he said in an interview with 1 Star Recruits that no contract extension was in the works.

“There’s not a new contract in place for him this year,” Yurachek said in the below snippet recorded on Monday afternoon. And he went on to explain that he had his staff doctor an old “Muss Bus” video to dispel rumors that Musselman was going anywhere late last week.

“That is my sense of humor coming across,” he said. “That was not something that was a coordinated or collaborated effort between myself and Coach Musselman.”

In another segment, Yurachek added: “He’s still the basketball coach as we sit here today and record this podcast at the University of Arkansas. He has been well taken care of in his past contracts, where he’s had a couple of extensions in the past few years and six figure increases… that video was just to kind of dispel some of the rumors [to stress] that, ‘Hey, he’s still our basketball coach.'”

“Now, this may change tomorrow. You’ll have to ask Coach Musselman that. But we very much want him to be an Arkansas Razorback.”

This is not exactly a resounding affirmation that the head Hog will return for the 2024-25 season. We’ll have to wait and see what happens on the USC basketball front, as it would be a big surprise if Jennifer Cohen’s people were not in contact with Eric Musselman’s inner circle to gauge interest at this point. It would be an even bigger surprise if Musselman didn’t entertain the notion given his love of southern California in general and the proximity to his mother in San Diego.

It may not be surprising that Hunter Yurachek and Eric Musselman are on two different pages in this situation, given that Musselman has been looking around for a new “for months,” according Arkansas basketball reporter Kevin McPherson.

“The latest weirdness and awkward optics are anything but ideal, and with results last year being historically bad, it’s understandable why there is no extension/raise or same-page messaging right now,” McPherson continues on Hogville.net. He adds that if Musselman did end up taking the USC basketball job, a “source tells me HY has a HC in waiting, not sure how quickly he’d move on that or if he’d draw out a search.”

Possible candidates there include Chris Beard, Will Wade and Jerome Tang, but that’s a story for another time.

Hunter Yurachek on Bobby Petrino Taking Over

In the forthcoming interview, Yurachek also discussed a multitude of other topics, including his thoughts on Bobby Petrino, the Razorbacks’ new offensive coordinator, and what went wrong during the 2023 Arkansas football season.

“One of the things our program, I think, was really missing last year was strong leadership, both on the offense and defensive side of the ball,” Yurachek said.

“We had some talent. I’m not sure we had great leadership, and then we had a offensive coordinator that may not have been the best fit at the best time for our program.

“That’s where Coach [Bobby] Petrino has filled in that gap. One of the things I truly believe that Sam Pittman missed last year was having a head coach like he had in Barry Odom, former head coach, is a member of his staff. Coach Petrino has been a head coach in the NFL and at many stops along the college space.”

“I think he offers a different perspective and point of view for coach that he did not have.”

Interestingly, Yurachek does lay out some expectation in terms of wins for next season: “I don’t know that this is a make or break year, but this is a year, definitively. We’ve got to show some improvement heading back in the direction away from four and eight, and towards seven and five, eight and four.”

The 1 Star Recruit podcast hosts also asked him something on the minds of most Razorback fans – Is there a path for Petrino to take over as head coach for Pittman during or after the 2024 season?

“I will tell you that that is not definitively a path here at the University of Arkansas, for him to get back to be a head coach,” Yurachek responded. “I don’t know if he has aspirations to be a head coach somewhere else. What I will tell you is he’s done a great job, so far, being our offensive coordinator. He’s been incredibly supportive of Sam Pittman and buying into the program that Sam Pittman has.”


For more exclusive advance insight from this not-yet-published Yurachek interview, go here:

This has only been a preview of the great 21-minute interview 1 Star Recruits conducted on Monday. Make sure to subscribe to their channels below to hear the full thing when it drops on Wednesday!

Apple Podcasts – https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/1-star-recruits/id1520778324

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/24lREVbpxUfi5VpMYLwVQU

Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/@1starrecruits

April Fool’s Day Memories

On April 1, 1985, longtime Arkansas sportswriter Jim Harris learned that Eddie Sutton, the former Arkansas basketball coach, was leaving to take over the Kentucky job. He thought it was as joke, especially since no Hogs basketball coach in the modern era had left for another job. But it was no joke and indeed to this day Sutton is the only one to do this.

Harris, who also writes for Best of Arkansas Sports, recounts the dynamic between Sutton and Frank Broyles, the former UA athletic director:

“The night before Arkansas played Iowa in Salt Lake City in the 1985 NCAA first round, they and a couple of mutual friends who were with Eddie in Salt Lake worked out the problems (Frank wasn’t there, he stayed back home), and Eddie’s near certain jump to Auburn — where a former Arkansas chancellor was then working and trying to lure Sutton there to replace Sonny Smith, who then weirdly would keep his job… was stopped,” Harris wrote on Hogville.net. “Eddie told Frank over the phone ‘I’m still your coach, we’ll talk when I get back.'”

“For two weeks all was fine until Sutton was in Lexington for the Final Four and the national basketball coaches convention, and Kentucky’s first five or more targets turned them down for replacing Joe B. Hall. With Sutton in town, UK interviewed him, and all the differences he and Frank had worked out didn’t matter anymore.”


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