The Tennessee Vols were seemingly dealt a blow on Wednesday when one of their top offensive coordinator targets, Oklahoma State’s Mike Yurcich, took a job with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Multiple reports confirmed that Yurcich is heading to Columbus to become the Buckeyes’ passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach. His salary will increase from $800,000 annually to $950,000 annually.
Oklahoma State OC Mike Yurcich named passing game coordinator/QB coach at Ohio State
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) January 3, 2019
Yurcich reportedly interviewed with Jeremy Pruitt in early December. According to 247Sports, Tennessee offered Yurcich the job.
There hasn’t been an official report about how much Yurcich was offered to come to Tennessee. But considering the Vols were paying Tyson Helton, someone with less experience than Yurcich, $1.2 million per season, I think it’s safe to say that Yurcich was offered more by Tennessee than he was by Ohio State.
Money, however, isn’t the only thing to unpack with this hiring. There’s also the fact that Yurcich won’t even be the offensive coordinator at Ohio State. So while this might be a small bump in salary for the former Shippensburg play caller, it’s not a promotion.
On the surface, this doesn’t look good for Tennessee. The coach they went after spurned them for a lesser job with Ohio State. There’s really no way to spin this to make it a positive for the Vols.
But if we’re being honest, it shouldn’t be surprising. And it certainly wasn’t a tough decision for Yurcich.
Money isn’t always the deciding factor in coaching decisions. We’ve seen that plenty of times before. Lane Kiffin took less money to leave Alabama and become Florida Atlantic’s head coach. Tyson Helton recently took a pay cut to leave Tennessee and become the head coach at Western Kentucky.
It’s well known that Yurcich strongly desires to be a head coach in the near future. He reportedly has his eyes set on a head coaching gig in the MAC. If Yurcich was to a take a head coaching job in the MAC, or in another non Power-5 conference, he’d likely have to take a pay cut. So that part of the equation probably isn’t a huge deal for him.
Now, if Yurcich is trying to pad his resumé so he can become a head coach, then making the jump to Ohio State is probably a better move then becoming the offensive coordinator at a school that’s gone 9-15 the past two years.
At Ohio State, Yurcich will slide into a role with an established offense. There will be no expectations of him becoming the savior of the offense like there would be at Tennessee.
Let’s also not forget that Yurcich is originally from Ohio, so this is a bit of a homecoming for him.
Ultimately, this isn’t a move that Yurcich made with his short term future in mind. Yurcich just turned 43 in November, he’s ready to make an impact as a head coach sooner rather than later.
Going to a program that’s regularly competing for a spot in the College Football Playoff will likely help him achieve his goals quicker, and more efficiently, then taking a job in Knoxville.
And look, that’s no slight toward Tennessee. This is just a case of two programs being in two different places.
I truly believe the Vols are on the way up under Pruitt. But until they start consistently winning, they’re going to be the second choice for many of the nation’s top coaches and recruits.
Featured image via Photo via Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics