Among the first orders of business for new Missouri athletic director Mack Rhoades once he settles in Columbia, he’ll need to find a new deputy athletic director.
Outgoing athletic director Mike Alden’s right-hand man, Doug Gillin, was introduced two weeks ago as Appalachian State’s new athletic director. He assumes that post April 6.
Perhaps Rhoades will consider bringing along Houston associate vice president for intercollegiate athletics and chief operating officer Hunter Yurachek.
Yuracheck served as an assistant under Rhoades at Akron then went to Coastal Carolina for four years as athletic director, but left that post for the chance to work with Rhoades again at Houston.
“There’s few people that I’ve worked with that care as much about the people that work with them as Mack does,” Yuracheck said. “That’s why people enjoy working for him and why the people who have worked for him would run into a wall for him.”
Yurachek effectively has been Rhoades’ right-hand man. He will serve as Houston’s interim athletic director in the short term and is the only internal candidate for the job long term.
But should the Cougars opt to go a different route to fill Rhoades’ vacancy …
“Obviously, if things do not work out the way I hope they will at the University of Houston for me, I would seriously consider following Mack again to Missouri,” Yurachek said. “This is still very fresh. We’ve had some temporary conversations, but my first and foremost priority is to help our staff and coaches here at the University of Houston and see that through.”
Yurachek said Rhoades’ reputation for being low key and personable is well-earned, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a taskmaster when required.
“Mack and I come from the same mold, and he’s a fiery competitor,” Yuracheck said. “He’s going to hold people accountable. There’s some you may hear Mack in his office and he may raise his voice a little bit. You know he means business when he does that, because he picks and chooses his moments when he’s going to do that.”
Count Yurachek among those with no doubt Rhoades will prove to be a worthy successor to Alden, who helped grow Missouri’s athletic department budget from less than $14 to nearly $84 in 17 years as the Tigers’ athletic director.
“Buckle up and get ready for a great ride, because (Rhoades) is a special person and he’s going to bring some exciting times,” Yurachek said. “I have the utmost respect for Mike Alden and what he’s done in this industry. I think Mack’s just going to come in and build on what Mike’s done in the last 17 years. I think it’s going to a special time for everyone associated with Missouri.”