STILLWATER — When Mike Gundy wanted to overhaul the Oklahoma State offense three years ago, he hired a seasoned expert in the Air Raid spread system in Dana Holgorsen, who left Stillwater after one season to become the offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting at West Virginia.
To replace Holgorsen, Gundy hired an NFL assistant — and a former staff mate at OSU — in Todd Monken, who departed after two seasons for the head coaching job at Southern Miss.
This time, Gundy’s gone another route in finding his next offensive coordinator, bringing in a relative unknown who put up gaudy numbers at a lower-division school and has now gotten his big break.
OSU announced the hiring of Mike Yurcich Thursday morning, less than 24 hours after Gundy hinted at his Signing Day press conference that he was close to finalizing that move.
Yurcich spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at ShippensburgUniversity, a Division II school in Pennsylvania.
His other coaching jobs? Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/wide receivers coach at Division II’s EdinboroUniversity (Pennsylvania) from 2006-10. Offensive graduate assistant at Indiana from 2003-04. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/running backs coach at the NAIA’s SaintFrancisUniversity (Indiana) from 1999-2002.
That lack of experience at the Football Bowl Subdivision level may make Yurcich an out-of-the-box choice. But his offensive philosophy does not.
At Shippensburg, he installed a pass-heavy system that led Division II in total offense (529.92 yards per game) and ranked in second in passing offense (387.69 yards per game) and scoring offense (46.85 points per game). Quarterback Zach Zulli won the Harlon Hill Trophy, Division II’s equivalent of the Heisman, after throwing for 4,747 yards and 54 touchdowns.
Gundy has long stressed that the Cowboys’ overall scheme would not change with a new coordinator, meaning he would hire someone who either has a background running that system (Holgorsen) or would be willing to learn and run it (Monken).