He wouldn't even need to switch his team colors, all Mike Yurcich would be doing is switching locations from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Corvallis, Oregon while bringing that high powered offensive mind of his with him. I think Yurcich makes all the sense in the world to at least interview as the Beavers next head coach. Fans, reporters, and even players have been throwing out specific qualities they think we as Beaver fans need in this next head coach. How old they would like the coach to be? What connections do they have to the West coast? Are they a capable of recruiting and selling a program? What offensive scheme are they going to try to run? What kind of assistants would they bring on? Would Cory Hall stay on staff in some capacity? These are just a few key questions that have been asked by Beaver nation when coaching candidates get brought up.
Do you hire someone like Jonathan Smith, who has a tremendous legacy at OSU, but may not be quite ready to take on that vocal lead role that a head coach needs to have, not to mention the pressure that would come with it when you're talking about an alumni becoming Oregon State's next head coach. How about someone like Beau Baldwin, who has head coaching experience on the FCS level and has shown his offenses can put up points, but is still in his first season at the PAC-12 level and judging by how Cal has played this season so far, he may need more time to adjust. Then there's always the long shot of someone like Les Miles, who has the name, the brand, the reputation, and yes, the quirkiness about him to come in and make an immediate impact in Corvallis, but does Les Miles really want to be in Corvallis long term? At 64 years old, he has no real ties to the West coast and if he is going to become a head coach again, it is more likely that he will wait for the right head coaching job opening that fits his personality at bigger programs such as Texas A&M, Tennessee, Florida, Nebraska, or Ole Miss.
Names like Smith, Baldwin, and Miles are all really good to look at as serious contenders for the head coaching job, but each of them have their own flaws attached to their names as to why they might not end up as Oregon State's head coach. Maybe the most ideal candidate, in my humble opinion, I believe is Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. To me, Yurcich checks almost ALL the boxes we need in a new head coach at this point in time, as we sit with a record at 1-9 with zero PAC-12 wins in 2017. Like the other coaching candidates, Yurcich has one obvious flaw that I'm sure Beaver nation has questions about. Like Les Miles, Yurcich has no real ties to the West coast. However, I hope to explain why I believe Yurcich could turn another orange and black OSU into one of the most explosive offenses in the country.
Yurcich, 41, a native of Euclid, Ohio, attended California University in Pennsylvania about 36 miles outside of Pittsburgh and graduated in 1999. He spent three seasons as the Vulcan's starting quarterback and was a two-year captain. Yurcich's first college coaching stop came as an assistant coach and offensive coordinator at Saint Francis University in Indiana from 1999-2002. Then, Yurcich served as a graduate assistant for Indiana University football from 2003-2004. In 2005 he moved on to Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, where he served as the quarterback/wide receivers coach in 2005 and then was promoted to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks and wide receiver coach from 2006-2010. During his time at Edinboro with Yurcich calling the offensive plays, the Fighting Scots averaged more than 30 points per game from 2007-2009 and was near the top of Division II's offensive rankings. At Edinboro he also was able to coach former All-American quarterback Trevor Harris, who, when his career as a Fighting Scot was over, made himself into a four-time all-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West selection while under the tutelage of Yurcich's play calling.
In 2011 Yurcich decide to take on his next challenge as he moved again to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and became Shippensburg University's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. During Yurcich's first season, Shippensburg saw immediate success as Yurcich's offense set school records for almost every offensive statistical category for points, touchdowns, total plays, first downs and total offense. In 2012 in his second season as the Raiders leader on offense, Shippensburg led the NCAA Division II rankings in total offense with 529.2 yards per game and was second nationally in scoring as Yurcich's offense put up a staggering 46.9 points per game, while the passing game finished with 387.7 yards per game. While at Shippensburg, Yurcich found another hidden gem in quarterback Zach Zulli as he set NCAA Division II records by accounting for 336 total points and 56 touchdowns and tied the national record with 54 touchdown passes as the Raiders quarterback. Zulli ranked fourth in Division II in passing yards per game with 365.2, third in total offense 382.4 and fifth in passing efficiency with a rating of 165.3, which is insane by the way. Zach Zulli ended up winning the 2012 Harlon Hill Award as the top player in Division II while he was coached by Yurcich's offensive genius. Shippensburg managed to score 40 or more points 16 times in 24 games in the two years Yurcich was calling the plays for the Raiders.
In Feburary of 2013 Mike Yurcich was hired as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator, replacing Todd Monken who had left to become the head coach at Southern Mississippi. Yurcich wanted to ease into his new job at a program like Oklahoma State, so he tried to have a balanced system of attack on offense and it ended up paying off as fourteen different Cowboys scored during the 2013 season as Oklahoma State finished with 503 rushing attempts and 484 passing attempts. In Yurcich's first year at Oklahoma State, the Cowboys ranked fourteenth nationally in scoring as they averaged a eye popping 39.1 points per game scoring 40 points, six different times and 50 points, four different times, I'd say that's not too bad especially in your first year in a new environment. Yurcich's time at Oklahoma State has been incredibly productive, in his four seasons with the Cowboys, OSU averages 36.2 points and 450.6 yards of total offense per game. Three of Yurcich’s four years in Stillwater have resulted in 10-win seasons for Oklahoma State, while continuing to remain near the top of almost offensive rankings in the nation. In fact, three of Yurcich’s four years at Oklahoma State have produced top-10 seasons for total offense in school history. The Cowboys ranked among the top 10 nationally in passing offense in 2015 and 2016. To put up these kind of numbers in the competitive Big 12 conference with teams like Texas, Oklahoma, and TCU deserves some recognition.
So now that we know of Mike Yurcich's track record as an offensive coordinator and ability to develop quarterbacks, you tell me why he wouldn't be a good fit. Seriously, tell me. Sure he would be making a move to the Pacific Northwest and into a different conference and recruiting region. However, based on Yurcich's past at his previous coaching stops, I think he COULD BE a PERFECT fit for Oregon State. He doesn't have any head coaching experience yet, but he has been in multiple small towns in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and even being in Stillwater, Oklahoma. So I don't think being in Corvallis would too much different in that respect. Yurcich, who is 41 years old, is at a perfect age because he now has over 17 years of coaching experience in different locations and on different levels, but is young enough and has the energy to be on the recruiting trail for long periods of time. He could get things rolling early on for the Beavers and gel early on with the team and the community and end up being the long term the Beavers have been searching for since Mike Riley left for Nebraska in 2014. Like I have described previously, Yurcich's offenses have been nothing short of spectacular, putting up all sorts of crazy passing stats and setting multiple records at each location he has been at. I trust that Yurcich could take a couple recruiting classes of his type of guys and we could see major changes in Oregon State's passing game we haven't really seen since Sean Mannion was wearing orange and black. The key to that success is indeed finding that special quarterback who can lead your offense and it seems by simply looking at Yurcich's track record with quarterbacks, it is safe to assume that he can develop kids who were maybe slept on by some bigger programs into highly productive athletes who can have tremendous success. You don't think Yurcich could go and pluck an under the radar quarterback out of Washington, Oregon, California, maybe Texas or even Pennsylvania and work his magic to turn them into the QB that we so desperately need to run our offense? With his reputation for developing quarterbacks while also being in the PAC-12 with the surrounding talent on offense, you better believe he could.
You could be asking, "Hey what about if Yurcich was worried about how he would adjust to the life in PAC-12 and the ability relate to the current players or current commits?" Well an easy decision would be to try to retain interim head coach Cory Hall as defensive coordinator. Hall is also an energetic young guy who knows how to develop talent, plus he could let Yurcich know early on what life in Corvallis is like and what the current players are like. Also, recruits are buying into the “#HALLIn” movement still, with Cory Hall’s message and Yurcich’s offensive game plan, that sounds like a win-win type of scenario to me.
Again, the lack of ties does hurt Yurcich's ability to connect to a West coast program like Oregon State right away, but with a few key hires as assistant coaches with those West Coast ties that Yurcich would need, the Beavers could see their success early on if they play their cards right.
Mike Yurcich has proven he knows what he is doing on offense and as of right now he is doing it for Oklahoma State with Mason Rudolph at quarterback who has been in Heisman contention all season long with the numbers the Cowboys offense has been putting up. Why couldn't Yurcich do the same thing for the Beavers while remaining in the same team colors? I for one believe he definitely could. Offer him a nice starting salary, it would be his first head coaching gig in the PAC-12, and he gets to run the offense he wants to run that he believes in.
The hire of the new coach may very well drag on into the first week of December while Scott Barnes ponders multiple names the search firm he hired has brought him over the past month. A lot can happen between now and then and a few names that haven't even been mentioned yet may be thrown out and in the end may be a better fit. However, I believe I have found a candidate that checks all the right boxes for Oregon State in this very important hire. He's 41 years old, has got the experience of playing in small towns, he knows how to put points on the board and get up and down the field, and knows how to develop quarterbacks into elite level talents.
Throw in the possibility of keeping Cory Hall on to be that extra hype man and someone who players and recruits can relate to and hiring Yurcich could be the smartest thing the Beavers have done in years.
What are your thoughts on the possibility of Mike Yurcich coming in to be Oregon State's next head coach? Let us know in the comments sections below and on Twitter.
As always, Go Beavs.