Oklahoma State’s Mike Yurcich has emerged over the last week as a hot name in the Tennessee Vols’ ongoing search for a new offensive coordinator.
I was skeptical when I heard Yurcich’s name mentioned in the search simply because of his unique history with Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State.
Gundy famously fund Yurcich by searching top division II offenses. Yurcich was at Shippensberg when Gundy “discovered” him.
His main reason for searching for an offensive coordinator that no one knew?
Gundy had recently lost Larry Fedora, Dana Holgorsen and Todd Monken to head coaching jobs. The Oklahoma State head coach wanted to hire someone that would be around for while. Gundy told ESPN last year “I said ‘Forget this I’m going to go find somebody that nobody will want for a while'”. He added “It worked out great for us, and it solved and/or ended the issue I was concerned about.”
The fact that Yurchich was discovered by Gundy out of nowhere makes me feel like there’s no way he’ll leave Oklahoma State.
— Oklahoma State 247 (@OKState247) December 6, 2018
That’s something that was seemingly confirmed on Sunday night when Yurcich told GoPokes247 “there’s nothing going on” with Tennessee.
So why the heavy flirtation with the Vols?
Well I think there are two obvious reasons.
For one, I think Yurcich is pulling a Mike Gundy and using the Volunteers as a way to get a pay bump at Oklahoma State. This is something that Gundy has done twice (during the 2012 and 2017 coaching searches). It’s almost comical at this point, but it does seem like Oklahoma State has no problem offering a pay raise after one of their coaches talks with Tennessee.
Another reason I think Yurcich was willing to talk with the Vols is to simply get his name in a few headlines. Despite the fact that he’s Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator, he’s still relatively unknown by folks outside of Stillwater. Simply interviewing with Tennessee has made him a viable candidate for other jobs — possibly a head coaching job.
By the way, when Yurcich came to Oklahoma State, he didn’t overhaul the offense. Yes, the offense has performed well with Yurcich calling plays, but this is still Gundy’s offense.
That raises of the question of how well Yurcich would do of installing a new offense at a place like Tennessee. That’s not something he’s had to do before at this level. At Oklahoma State, Yurcich essentially stepping into an established offense and made a few tweaks to make it more efficient. He’d have a much taller task ahead of him with the Vols. And if he took the job and struggled, it might make him a less interesting option for schools looking for a head coach. It’s pretty clear that Yurcich’s clearest path to becoming a head coach, something Gundy has said is his goal, is to continue to call plays for a productive offense at Oklahoma State.
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) December 10, 2018
I think Yurcich is simply using Tennessee to market himself. And I think the Vols, specifically Jeremy Pruitt, probably just want to hear ideas from a wide ranging mix of candidates.
Which is good news for Vol fans. Pruitt seems like the type that’s willing to evolve and tweak his offense to make it work better.
The search for a new offensive coordinator will continue, but it doesn’t look like Yurcich will be calling plays on Rocky Top in 2019.
Featured image via 247Sports