Hunter Yurachek Named FCS Athletic Director of the Year
May 14, 2014
HOUSTON – University of Houston Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Hunter Yurachek was named one of four Under Armour FCS Athletic Directors of the Year for his work at Coastal Carolina University, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced Wednesday.
“This is a tremendous honor and one I share with the incredible Department of Athletics staff at Coastal Carolina,” Yurachek said. “Together we believed in a common vision of becoming the best FCS Department of Athletics in the country. This award is a reflection of all those involved during my time at Coastal, which was a very special and memorable time for my family and me.”
Yurachek will receive his award during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on Wednesday, June 11, at NACDA’s 49th Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla.
Yurachek came to Houston after serving four years as Director of Athletics at Coastal Carolina where he oversaw a department featuring 18 men’s and women’s NCAA Division I sport programs.
Under Yurachek's leadership, the Chanticleers won a total of 29 Big South Championships (both regular season and tournament championships), made 30 NCAA appearances and finished a program-best 79th in the 2012-13 Learfield Director's Cup.
During Yurachek’s time of leadership, Coastal hosted an NCAA Baseball Regional; a NCAA Baseball Super Regional; NCAA Division I Football championship contests in 2010 and '13; and NCAA Men's Soccer Championship matches in 2011, '12 and '13, as well as winning a competitive bid to host the VisitMyrtleBeach.com Men's and Women's Big South Basketball Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015, sponsored by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.
Coastal Carolina student-athletes posted a 3.028 grade point average (GPA) for the fall 2013 semester and saw its overall GPA rise from 3.053 to 3.108. Of the 434 student-athletes, 253 - or 58.3 percent - posted a GPA between 4.0 and 3.0, including 28 who earned President's List (4.0 GPA for the semester) and an additional 117 who earned Dean's List recognition. Further breakdown shows that 125 of the 175 women student-athletes (71.4 percent) posted a GPA between 4.0 and 3.0, while 128 of the 259 men (49.4 percent) accomplished the feat.
In addition, during Yurachek’s span of leadership, Coastal Carolina student-athletes earned:
• 363 All-Big South honors
• 31 All-Big South Player of the Year honors along with 13 Big South Freshman of the Year honors
• 28 All-America honors
• 11 Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors in their respective sports
• 5 Academic All-America honors
• 4 national postgraduate scholarships
• 3 Big South Conference Christenberry Awards for Academic Excellence
With all the success, the Coastal Carolina department operated within a balanced budget during Yurachek's tenure, thanks to his zero-budget initiative and the unprecedented revenues generated since his arrival with his restructuring of the external relations department. In his first year, the department revenue was at $560,000, including $316,000 in ticket sales and sponsorships at $250,000. After the 2012-13 year, revenue came in at $1.4 million, thanks to $549,000 in ticket sales and $600,000 in sponsorships.
Since 2010, the Department of Athletics added women's lacrosse; launched Champions for Life, a life skills enhancement program for student-athletes; signed a five-year $1.1 million contract with an athletic apparel provider; established the Letterwinners Association; successfully completed NCAA Cycle 3 Recertification; and has been featured on the front page of the sports section of USA Today with the headline reading "Coastal Carolina Piles up Sports Success."
Also during Yurachek's tenure, several major projects that supported intercollegiate athletics totaling more than $250 million were included in the University's in ongoing capital improvements across the campus.
The HTC Center opened in 2012 and is the home for Coastal Carolina’s men's and women's basketball and women’s volleyball programs - as well as the three-year home to the Big South Men's and Women's Basketball Championships. In addition, Adkins Field House, the Boni Belle Baseball/Softball Hitting & Practice Facility, the Will Garland Academic Enhancement Center and the Richard M. Ward MD Sports Performance Center were completed and dedicated while the $10.2 million Baseball/Softball complex will be completed in 2014. Yurachek also secured a 12-court tennis facility, set to open in 2014, and a student-athlete training table facility.
Prior to his appointment at Coastal Carolina University, Yurachek was executive senior associate athletics director at the University of Akron. He led and managed the Zips' external relations unit, which included marketing and promotions, media relations, ticket operations, development (Z-Fund), video operations and merchandising. In addition, he was the sport administrator for men's basketball, men's golf and women's golf and worked closely with the football program.
Yurachek has also held various athletics administration leadership positions at the University of Virginia, Western Carolina University, Vanderbilt University and Wake Forest University.
He earned his bachelor's degree in business management at Guilford College in 1990, where he was a four-year letter winner in basketball. He earned his master's degree in sports administration from the University of Richmond in 1994.
A native of Richmond, Va., Yurachek and his wife Jennifer have three sons; Ryan, Jake and Brooks.
For those interested in purchasing 2014 reserved season tickets, fans may place a $200 season ticket deposit at UHCougars.com that will give access to participate in a 24-hour Select-A-Seat process in May. The $200 deposit is not a fee and will go towards the cost of season tickets. Lower level reserved season tickets begin at just $200.
University of Houston alumni from the last five years (2010-14) can purchase season tickets for just $125 (upper levels) and $175 (lower level) in specially-designated Young Alumni sections with a multiplier of four times donations to Cougar Pride giving levels for the first five years after graduation.
Houston opens the 2014 season at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 29, when it hosts UTSA in the first ever game in the Houston Football Stadium.