Former Shippensburg University offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Mike Yurcich is coming home to Pennsylvania.
Penn State University hired Yurcich as the offensive coordinator Friday, following the firing of offensive coordinator and York County native Kirk Ciarrocca, who served only one-year in the position. Yurcich now becomes the fifth offensive coordinator in eight years under Nittany Lions’ head coach James Franklin.
Prior to joining PSU, Yurcich has enjoyed a 22-year coaching career, which includes stints in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) with Edinboro University (six years) and here at SU (two years). He also boasts six years with Oklahoma State University, one year with PSU’s rival Ohio State University and one year with the University of Texas.
Over the past few seasons, Yurcich developed NFL-level talent at the quarterback position. Some of the quarterbacks under his guidance include Steelers’ Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) and future 2021 NFL Draft picks Justin Fields (Ohio State) and Sam Ehlinger (Texas).
"We are excited to have Mike join our staff. He is an impressive offensive mind and talented play caller who has set records everywhere he has been as an offensive coordinator,” Franklin said in a statement following the program’s announcement. “I look forward to seeing what he can do with all of the offensive weapons we have here at Penn State. I have followed Mike's career for a long time, dating back to his time in the PSAC at Shippensburg and Edinboro. We look forward to bringing Mike and his family back to Pennsylvania."
During his tenure at SU, the Raiders’ offense was among the most feared in NCAA Division II football, shattering multiple school records.
“Having Mike [Yurcich] in our quarterback room and part of our football family was huge and just the way he was able to develop the quarterback position,” Shippensburg head coach Mark (Mac) Maciejewski said via Zoom Monday.
In his 2011 debut season, Yurcich’s offense smashed five offensive single-season school records with most points scored (411), 55 total touchdowns, 898 recorded plays, 281 first downs and 5,124 yards of total offense. The outpouring of points led to a 327-94 scoring margin for the Raiders in their seven victories.
But Yurcich’s offense got even hotter in its 2012 campaign. Junior quarterback Zach Zulli flourished at the helm of Yurcich’s offense, totaling 4,747 passing yards and 57 touchdowns (54 in the air and three on the ground). Zulli’s monumental season earned him the 2012 Harlon Hill Trophy — the equivalent to the Heisman Trophy at the Division I level — naming him the best player in all of Division II football.
“We kept his [Yurcich’s] system for the most part and you know we adjusted just like you have to adjust as you go, but he set the foundation for what we do offensively,” Maciejewski said. “And it's been pretty productive since the nine years I’ve been head coach.”
Yurcich was not only a staple on the sidelines for the Raiders, but also off the field, in meetings and remains a great friend to many in the SU football program. Despite only two years with Shippensburg, Maciejewski said he recalls many memories on and off the gridiron.
“There’s a lot,” Maciejewski said in regard to the memories made with Yurcich. “Getting away from the football part of it, Mike and his family lived right across the street from me and my family. So, for two years we were ‘front porch buddies.’ Plus, with football, every win you have is a great memory and all the numbers we put up and some of the celebrations we had were pretty cool.”