MEMPHIS Tenn. -- Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has been connected to a number of job openings around the country since his arrival in Stillwater almost seven years ago.
Cowboy coach Mike Gundy hired Yurcich, who will complete his sixth season of running the OSU offense in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Monday, from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, which most have likely never heard of unless they have a specific connection to the area.
Gundy had just seen former OSU offensive coordinators Todd Monken, now with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Dana Holgorsen, now West Virginia's head coach, leave OSU for higher-paying, higher-caliber jobs following quick success with the OSU offense.
"We will always have coaches that leave to move up," Gundy said. "Guys will move on to be coordinators. Guys will move on to be head coaches."
The inconsistency on the OSU coaching staff at the time is what inspired Gundy to hire a relatively unknown, young offensive mind from Shippensburg. Gundy said he hoped that hiring a coach who hasn't yet really made a name for himself on the national stage would hopefully keep him in Stillwater for a couple of extra years before bigger programs started to call about him.
Yurcich has been in Stillwater for nearly half of Gundy's tenure as head coach, and his name has been a talking point for several coaching positions around the country.
One report indicates that Yurcich has an offer on the table to become Tennessee's next offensive coordinator, a school that famously tried to hire Gundy for its head coach opening last season. Shortly after, another report surfaced that states Yurcich is a candidate for the same job at Ohio State.
Yurcich has indicated that he's focused on the AutoZone Liberty Bowl for now, but the matchup with Missouri on Monday could be Yurcich's last game as a member of the OSU coaching staff.
"Yurcich is a guy whose name has been out there the last three years," Gundy said. "Interesting how some of the fans, people abuse on him, but everybody else in the country wants him. Pretty interesting concept."
Gundy also said he frequently receives calls from NFL coaches and executives asking about Yurcich as NFL teams continue to adopt college football schemes and systems for their offenses.
"We would love to keep him here," Gundy said. "We're not gonna be able to pay what other schools will pitch to offer him. If he ever gets his run to be a coordinator at all the schools that are interested in him or maybe move on to the NFL, that's probably gonna be his next move. You just call it like it is.
"We hope to keep him as long as we can but at some point, he'll move on. And if he does, we wish him the best. He's been very loyal and been grateful to the program."
Gundy has been able to keep some of his most valued assistants in Stillwater for much longer than successful assistants stay at other schools in college football, where the coaching carousel almost mimics the chaotic free agency signing period of the NBA.
"I'm the easiest guy in the country to work for, as far as that's why coaches stay," Gundy said. "They're very well paid. We work normal hours, we don't overwork. It's a family organization. Guys take care of their business, I don't micromanage them. So they stay."
Gundy said he has no problem with Yurcich, or any of his other assistants, talking to other schools as he weighs his options each year.
"As far as how we handle that with the coaches, I tell my coaches if they want to talk to any school, any NFL team, any high school team, whatever, they're good. They can do that. They don't even have to ask for my permission. Why do I need to give them my permission?
"If they come to me and say, 'I want to take this job,' then I'll talk to them and have a conversation. But otherwise, I tell them I don't need to know what's going on out there, I just need you to be loyal and work hard and recruit for Oklahoma State."