Ryan Yurachek started his tenure at Marshall with a conference championship, and he’d like to conclude it in similar fashion.
As a freshman out of Carolina Forest, Yurachek caught two passes in his team’s 26-23 win pver Louisiana Tech in the 2014 Conference USA Championship Game. The Thundering Herd then defeated North Illinois in the 2014 Boca Raton Bowl to finish 13-1.
Marshall played in another bowl game in 2015. But after Marshall went 3-9 last season, Yurachek is itching to see the Herd contend again in C-USA.
“Well, it’s something that’s flown by for sure. It feels like yesterday I was checking into my freshman dorm on campus almost three years ago,” he said. “Obviously, we didn’t have the kind of year we wanted to have last year, so really, it’s as much (about) for me being a senior is getting our football program back to where it needs to be, to ultimately try and compete and win the conference championship.”
Yurachek feels blessed to spend his entire time in Huntington, W. Va., along with the opportunity to play for the same head coach in Doc Holliday, who is entering his seventh season and led the Herd to three-straight 10-win seasons from 2013-15.
Holliday feels equally as fortunate to have coached a player the caliber of Yurachek for the past three seasons.
“He’s a tremendous kid,” Holliday said. “I know his dad’s proud of him and we’re proud of him. He goes to work every day. He brings great leadership with his work ethic on the field and off the field. He’s just a great kid to be around.”
Besides wanting to finish his collegiate career in his third bowl game in four seasons, Yurachek has another noteworthy goal attached to his swan song at Marshall.
Entering the season, he has caught a pass in 29 consecutive games. Yurachek, voted first-team All-Conference USA preseason by those in the media, has no intentions of seeing that streak end.
“(My goal is) just to not only be on the field for all those games, but to be consistent and try to get that record. It just kind of happened,” he said. “I just (want to) try to hopefully continue that through 14 games this year and we’ll see what happens.”
Since his father, Hunter, became athletic director at the University of Houston in 2014, his family has called Texas home. However, Yurachek said at least one of his parents still makes each Marshall home game. This season, his parents also plan to see him play at UTSA at the Alamodome in San Antonio, a three-hour drive from Houston, when the Herd plays in the Alamo City on November 18.
And even though his family no longer lives in Myrtle Beach, he still receives plenty of support from his hometown, encouragement he’s forever grateful for.
“It’s something that means a lot to me,” Yurachek said. “We’ve had a lot of good athletes come from Myrtle Beach in the past three or four years. I think it’s starting to turn into a sports breeding ground. Everybody’s really excited about the product of football that’s being put on the field there this year from all the various schools. Looking forward to seeing what happens.”