Coaching carousel finishes with Ash, Hutzler and Yurcich in new coordinator roles

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Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

With the firing of offensive coordinator Tim Beck and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando before the finale of a lackluster 8–5 season, Texas head coach Tom Herman has officially pushed his chips into the middle. Now that the coaching carousel has ended and the dust has settled, we finally get a chance to see what his hand looks like.

Herman didn’t connect on some of the splash hires Texas fans had longed for, but each of his replacements at various positions on his staff have experience at big-time college programs. Here’s a look at each of the new coaching hires as Texas football tries to right the ship heading into the new decade.

Chris Ash — Co-defensive coordinator

You might know Ash as the recent head coach of Rutgers, where he went 8–32 in a little over three years on the job. But Ash’s most notable work came from 2014 at Ohio State, where he was co-defensive coordinator for a Buckeye team that held Marcus Mariota’s Oregon Ducks to just 20 points in a National Championship win.

“I’ve witnessed firsthand Chris’ skills as a game planner, his attention to detail and ability to develop players,” Herman said in a press release from Texas Athletics. “He gets the best out of every one of them and has a history of building physical, fundamentally sound, winning defenses.”

Mike Yurcich — Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

Yurcich is another member of the now-apparent Ohio State to Texas coaching pipeline. After spending 2013–18 in Stillwater as Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator, Yurchich was in Columbus, Ohio, in 2019 as the passing game coordinator to help lead one of the most prolific and efficient offenses in college football.

“When looking at offensive coordinator positions, Texas is a no-brainer career move,” Yurcich said. “I’m excited to work with coach Herman and the entire staff.”

In his 20th year in collegiate coaching, Yurchich was instrumental in turning transfer quarterback Justin Fields into a Heisman finalist, as he threw for 41 touchdowns and just three interceptions. In his return to the Big 12, Yurchich will be tasked with making quarterback Sam Ehlinger’s senior season his best yet.

Coleman Hutzler — Co-defensive coordinator/linebackers

If the perennial hype surrounding “SEC defense” is true, then Hutzler is the guy for the job. The 13-year coaching veteran has spent seven years coaching defense in the SEC, including his last four at South Carolina, where he was nominated for the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach in 2017. That year, the Gamecock defense finished fifth in the SEC in total defense and first in turnovers.

Jay Boulware — Associate head coach for special teams/tight ends

Boulware is returning to Austin after several years behind enemy lines. The Texas Ex and former Longhorn graduate assistant has coached special teams and running backs at Oklahoma since 2013. His return has been long-awaited.

“I’ve been watching this program from afar since the day I left there in the spring of 1997, and I’ve always had it in my mind that I would like to come back someday and help Texas win a National Championship,” Boulware said.

Jay Valai — Cornerbacks

The only member of the new hirings with NFL experience, Valai has spent the last four seasons with the defenses of Georgia, Rutgers and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a member of Ash’s staff with the Scarlet Knights last season, where he also coached cornerbacks.

Andre Coleman — Wide receivers

With all the vacant holes left in the staff, Coleman was Herman’s obvious choice to be promoted within. Last season, he served as an analyst for the Longhorns, but his previous experience as offensive coordinator with Kansas State gave Herman reason to promote him to a full-time member of the staff.