Arkansas will name its new gymnastics head coach this afternoon. We have been given strong indications that it will be Jordyn Wieber, a 23-year-old volunteer coach at UCLA who was an Olympic gold medalist in London seven years ago.
One of our reporters heard Wieber was a candidate last week, and she and Hunter Yurachek both were in Fort Worth last weekend for the NCAA championships. The UA plane appears to be en route now to Los Angeles and Wieber has liked social media posts from the Razorbacks account that stated the new head coach has been hired.
the results have yet to be seen but it sounds like she will be a home run hire just as Musselman is/was.reading about her it seems she too wants to be at the UA which bodes well for the program’s future
You are earning more and more respect from me after learning you follow soccer, hockey and Olympic sports like gymnastics now. I like sports fans who follow more than football, basketball, baseball and golf. I hope in the near future you start following Tennis. Then you would have earned my total respect, since Tennis is my #1 sport to follow.
The more I think about this hire the more risky it seems. I told my wife about it, who does not follow sports, and she thought it was was bewildering. Like was mentioned earlier in this thread, if this hire had been made in any other sport at the UA, especially football, basketball (men’s or women’s), baseball, softball, or track, (men’s or women’s) I am pretty sure the board would be calling for HY’s job.
Don’t get me wrong I am pulling for her and hope she takes the Gymbacks to heights not seen here yet but I think it is a tall order for a 23 year old tht has not lead a Nationally relevant program at any level. Volunteer Assistant to head coach is quite the leap.
I would be willing to bet that part of her hire included an understanding that she brings in a veteran assistant coach, perhaps someone with head coaching in their background. I don’t doubt she will be able to appeal to recruits (go look at her social media following) and can coach technique. It’s the administrative stuff and being a problem solver that can sometimes surprise and overwhelm first-time head coaches. And that is magnified the larger the program.
Head coaches juggle a lot during the course of a day. I remember Chad Morris saying something to the effect of, “I’ll have five people come in my office every day with a problem, and the five or 10 minutes they spend with me is the most impactful part of their day. And likely they have been wrestling with the decision of, ‘Should I take this to Coach’ for hours.”
If she can coach and recruit, she’ll have the opportunity to stick around for a long time. But at 23, I bet the first couple of years will be a real growing experience as a mentor and leader.
In no way do I think the AD would make a pick like this for the three big sports, but the Gymbacks are arguably a top 20 gymnastics program so this is still a very big deal. I just think this is the most surprising hire for a sport at the UA in my lifetime and I am 51. Don’t get me wrong I am rooting for her and want it to work out but this is a risky move to hand a successful program to someone with so little experience.
I know what you mean by “major sports”, but don’t underestimate the potential of women’s gymnastics on campus, around NWA, and Arkansas in general. Bama’s gymnastics program regularly outdraws their men’s basketball program year after year and is obviously a money maker for the Tide. I’ll bet that in the last 10-20 years Bama’s average attendance for women’s gymnastics exceeds 12,000, and they had one event drawing over 15,000.
So, if Bama and Arkansas crowd size for men’s basketball dictates the term “major sports”, then you’d have to consider Bama’s program to be a fourth “major sport” and recognize that Arkansas has the same potential for their program.
I’m still stunned. She might be a great hire, but her age and lack of experience of running a DI program is somewhat of a head scratcher. I’m sure she blew Hunter away during their talks. She had to because of her age.
From the article on ArkansasRazorbacks.com, this is a comment by Hunter Yurachek:
[quote]“It was clear from the beginning of this process, that Jordyn had a definitive plan to take our program to an elite level and wanted to be the head coach at the University of Arkansas. For the past 17 years, Mark Cook built the Razorback gymnastics program from the ground up. I am confident that Jordyn will not only build on that foundation but will also serve as a recognizable face for our program and for the sport of gymnastics.”
I did not realize Bama had that kind of attendance. Nice to see women’s sports are beginning to get top billing. Gymnastics is definitely a major sport. Nowadays a high percentage of girls are engaged in youth sports and gymnastics is one with a large participation. Love it.