Oklahoma State football: Mike Yurcich's move wasn't that far after all

COMMENTARY — Although OSU's new offensive coordinator came from Shippensburg, Pa., to Stillwater, he's feeling right at home in the Big 12.
by Berry Tramel Published: July 6, 2013
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photo - OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY / OSU / COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich talks with the media prior to an OSU spring football practice in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY / OSU / COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich talks with the media prior to an OSU spring football practice in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

STILLWATER — The last time Mike Yurcich changed jobs, 276 Pennsylvania miles from Edinboro to Shippensburg, things got a little stressful on the homefront.

Yurcich and his family were renting an apartment near Shippensburg but still had a mortgage payment back in Edinboro, hoping the house soon would sell.

“That was strenuous on us financially, trying to stay afloat,” Yurcich said.

Yurcich has changed jobs again. Same title, offensive coordinator, but different schools. Shippensburg to OSU. And there's some stress involved. Moving halfway across the country, to a place he and his wife never had seen.

But money? Money is no issue this time. Yurcich's salary has jumped from $52,000 to $400,000, plus a car and bonuses for everything from a top-25 ranking to a BCS bowl.

And Yurcich says the money won't change him or his wife or the way they raise their two sons, ages 2 and 1. Coaching football is coaching football, Yurcich says, and even if an eightfold increase in salary threatened to do what money can do, Julie wouldn't allow it.

Julie Yurcich grew up one of seven kids in Youngstown, Ohio. “Mom was stay at home, dad was a teacher,” Yurcich said. “So they never made much money. Money's not been very important to her as far as a certain status or anything like that. She's a very strong woman, strong backbone. Really supports us well. Keeps me grounded. That's never going to change who we are as people.”

Said Julie, “To me, it's all about raising our kids and being a family. Wherever that happens to be, it happens to be.”

And that happens to now be in Stillwater, with financial security and a new horizon. The last five OSU offensive coordinators now are the head coach at Southern Miss (Todd Monken), West Virginia (Dana Holgorsen), North Carolina (Larry Fedora), LSU (Les Miles) and OSU (Mike Gundy). Yurcich's $400,000 salary could be headed for another explosion.

But again, Yurcich seems of good stock. When you've coached at Shippensburg and Edinboro, you don't take things for granted. You don't feel entitled. Yurcich said he never dreamed of landing such a job at 37.

“What I've tried to do is just win,” Yurcich said. “Prepare myself and do what's best for the team. That's the only thing that really mattered. I didn't have any aspiration other than winning.

“I think you have long-term goals and you think about certain things. Sure, you'd like to be a head coach one day. Sure, you'd like to do some other things, move to Division I and that sort of thing. But really, at the forefront of my thought process, was win the game and do what's best for our team. Try to help this offense develop into moving the ball as much as we can and score as much as we can. That's really what factored into it.”

In six Stillwater months, Yurcich has had some moments that remind him of his change.

* His first spring practice, when Yurcich moved his own cones for an offensive drill, and managers tried to tell him that was their job. “It's nice to have all the services and all the people that we do and all the resources that we do,” Yurcich said. “But moving a cone is not a big deal to me. Or moving a dummy or setting up a drill. I'm good with all that. I think it's more important that I understand the resources available to me, and how to delegate and be organized and communicate and be able to plan efficiently … to use all those resources, that's something that's different for and I had to learn.”

* Rob Glass' strength and conditioning program. At Shippensburg, Yurcich was both offensive coordinator and strength/conditioning coordinator. “The detail and the staff that they have,” Yurcich said. “The dedication they have for the strength, training and conditioning programs. That really strikes you.”

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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Mike Yurcich: First of a two-part series

Sunday: The big change from Shippensburg to OSU.

Monday: Mike Gundy was not the first coach of a major program to hand his offense over to a coordinator from a lower level.

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