If Mr. Yurachek wants to get started on the right foot with the heart and soul of the Arkansas fan base, I would encourage him to have one of the athletic department’s statistically astute employees craft a simple and quick online questionnaire so that fans can express what they would like to see in terms of attributes in our next Head Football Coach. I always felt that one of Jeff Long’s greatest mistakes was the unilateral way he went about hiring Bret Bielema. If Bielema had put a consistently competitive product on the field and won more games than he lost, then this point is probably moot. But I believe Jeff Long simply did not understand the Razorback fan base very well. It felt as though Jeff Long had thought of himself as a “Father Knows Best” type of leader and by selecting Bielema in a vacuum, he married his own tenure with us to Bielema’s success. Once it was determined that Bielema was failing, Jeff Long had to be considered a failure too (especially in light of spending $160 million to complete the north end zone project) and could not be trusted to hire the next coach.
If Mr. Yurachek reaches out to the fan base for input and seriously considers it, I think he will buy lots of good will and gain lots of support when he makes the final selection. It will also help Mr. Yurachek learn more about us on his own terms rather than having a Board of Trustee give him a harsh primer on the trials and tribulations of being an Arkansas fan at a Board of Trustees meeting in Little Rock. Ultimately, he is accountable for whoever he hires but we will have at least an opportunity to express our opinions - even if they are an emotional screed that makes little sense.
Imagine, if you will, trying to get a room full of people to decide where they want to eat dinner. 15 people will each have their own opinion about where to eat. No way you get a close consensus.
Now image trying to do that with a fan base. You’ll have so many people with differing ideas and thoughts, and then you’ll have more strife when the coach they wanted wasn’t picked after you asked them such. By doing what you ask, Pandora’s Box will begin and you open things up to much worse situations later on.
There is a reason why the AD is picked to make those tough choices and trust me the AD does this at a high level (I.e., big money boosters). He is probably picking through their list of ideas as I type this up.
When Sam Walton walked through a warehouse, he always asked the associates working there for suggestions. Even if the suggestion was impractical, he had the patience to listen and politely say it would not work. However, I saw a guy ask him for a fan in the back end of a warehouse where there was little air circulation. After Walton left, the guy cynically thought nothing would get done. Later that day, the maintenance crew was installing a fan. All I am saying is that it stands to reason for Mr. Yurachek to solicit input from everybody because like it or not, fans are customers. As a business owner who started my own operation 22 years ago, had I not asked those customers who did business with me how to improve my service, I would have gone bankrupt a long time ago. Hunter Yurachek has an opportunity to correct one of Jeff Long’s major failings and that’s to listen to the rank and file Razorback fan. By doing so, he is not opening Pandora’s box but rather is helping to heal some deep wounds that we all know exist.
Norman Brinker when he owned Steak and Ale would go outside and wait for diners to leave the restaurant and then come up to them like he was walking in for the first time and say “Hey…what is this place like? Is it worth me going in?” What you proposed makes perfect sense but just wasn’t practical before the coaching hire. Should Yurachek get input? Of course he should. Longs biggest failing was not getting input and ultimately that was why he was shown the door.