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Originally published December 16, 2010 at 04:38p.m., updated December 17, 2010 at 12:00a.m.

Bubba Cunningham staying at Tulsa

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Kansas University’s search for a new athletic director, which had reached its destination at the doorstep of Tulsa University’s Bubba Cunningham, has resumed.

Cunningham, who according to multiple sources was offered the KU job earlier in the week, signed a contract extension to stay put.

Tulsa president Steadman Upham announced the deal late Thursday afternoon, sending shock waves throughout KU’s national fan base.

“Bubba and I have a great partnership,” Upham said, “and his service to TU has been marked by exceptional progress by our student-athletes, including 31 Conference USA championships. We’re on a roll and I’m confident we’ll continue to build on our remarkable momentum and national visibility.”

Cunningham was not made available for comment.

The last time Kansas was in the market for a new athletic director, it didn’t get its first choice, either, and was rejected by an athletic director from the same city.

After Al Bohl’s departure, then-chancellor Robert Hemenway first offered the job to Oral Roberts athletic director Mike Carter, who when pressured for an answer, declined because of family considerations.

It’s not known what inspired Cunningham’s change of heart. KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, in staying consistent with her no-comment policy on the search, did not issue a statement in response to being turned down by the athletic director from a school that competes in Conference USA.

Gray-Little, according to multiple sources, also interviewed Notre Dame deputy athletic director Bill Scholl on the recommendation of the search committee headed by Ray Evans. Some of those same sources indicated that does not mean he is next in line and the search is expected to continue. The committee had contact with athletic directors from several schools and could resume contact with candidates it found most impressive.

Comments

Layne Pierce 3 years, 4 months ago

John Riggins is coming when we need him, as AD. Believe me things are gonna get a whole more fun around here, and TG is gonna get better real fast. If John won't do it, then Larry Brown is finally ready to quit coaching and take a real job.

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Studogg 3 years, 4 months ago

mikehawk-- That is the most rational and most helpful comment posted on this thread. I just read the entire thing. Thank you for your insight. I'm betting its probably closer to the truth than any of the other "this is why he's staying" rumors.

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mikehawk 3 years, 4 months ago

As a KU grad who has lived in Tulsa for 30 years, I have been very disappointed to read the lack of understanding about Tulsa the city, Tulsa University the school, athletic program, and the AD, Bubba Cunningham. First, Tulsa is an incredible city with amazing wealth, classy people, and TU puts out first class intercollegiate competition at one of the smallest Division 1 schools in the country. Tulsa University is known for its academics. As for the name Bubba, I can tell you the stereotype portrayed by the name is misleading, because everything about Tulsa University is about class and style. If you don't believe any of the above, I want to invite you to drive by the school for a look see at what $100 million in campus improvements from private sources looks like. Take a look at the complete renovation of Skelly Stadium while you drive by the school which is located next to the new basketball arena. I am glad Bill Self didn't come directly from TU, or he might not be the current coach at ole KU. I know how things work over at the school. The big alum money are some smart dudes and they liked Bubba well enought to make it worth his while to stay. Let's all hope KU can get someone as good or better than Mr. Cunningham.

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

"Some Persons Who Are Not Being Offered the KU AD Job"

~Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

~Betty White

~Neil Armstrong

~Snoop Doggy Dog

~Sarah Pallin

~Ellen Degeneres

"Some Persons that Are Being Offered the KU AD Job"

~Vince Vaughn

~Penelope Cruz

~George Lucas

~Buzz Aldrin

~Manuel Uribe

~Fran Drescher

~Gale Anne Hurd

~Jill Arrington

"Some Persons that Have Withdrawn from Consideration"

~Emeril Lagasse

~Anthony Lapaglia

~Emma Thompson

~Tony Soprano

~Lord Voldemort

~Meredith Viera

~Kathleen Sebelius

~Cindy Self

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Hank Cross 3 years, 4 months ago

This proves what a worthless d-bag Keegan is. All he does is engage in Magical Thinking and spread baseless rumors. I'll never forget his piece thanking Beebe for "saving" the BXII. As if that wasn't UT's plan all along. If Keegan fell for that negotiating ploy, his bosses must be rolling on the floor laughinge as he negotiates his salary.

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

jaybate news service (jns):

Dateline: Washington DC

Slug: US Prez to step down and become KU AD...

jns stringers deep, deep, deep inside the White House report that late Friday afternoon, President Barrack Dubya Obama will announce that he is resigning as President of the United States to pursue the job he has always dreamed of doing: Athletic Director of The University of Kansas.

jns stringers indicate that KU Chancellor Bernie Grey-Little recently flew to London to meet secretly with President Obama, who was himself meeting secretly with British leaders to decide which Middle Eastern country to invade next,

The rumor is that Grey-Little wore a very, very slinky black dress to the meeting held in a cottage in the Cotswolds and proceeded to charm the President off his feet with stories about the glories that he would achieve while KU's AD.

The beleaguered President said he was ready to get better at something other than politics after the hard knocks he has taken the first two years of his presidency.

(Note: all fiction. No malice.)

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

Wow, I read this one wrong big time. At first, I was surprised KU was going to settle for a Tulsa level AD, but then I was able to rationalize that it was going to happen for lots of reasons, which were either wrong, or outweighed by money.

Maybe oil folks kicked in some bucks to keep Bubba in Tulsa.

One thing for sure: if push comes to shove, Keegan would take the KUAD job. :-)

And Bubba owes Tom at least one letter of rec, after that holy rosary blessing he bestowed on Bubba. :-)

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thekansasboy1987 3 years, 4 months ago

WOULD JAY HINRICH STILL IN THE RACE? WOULD HE BE A GOOD ONE?

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honk_for_hawks 3 years, 4 months ago

Who wants to bet they didn't even offer him the position and this is just another case of reporters wanting to be FIRST? How many times over the summer did we hear "lebron to new jersey is a done deal" or "bosh and wade to chicago could be announced as soon as tomorrow"? I remember back in the old days when editors wouldn't let you print something until it was verified as fact, not verified by some random source who no one knows the name of. I'm so tired of hearing about trades and coaching hires and free agent signings that never happen because someone jumped the gun. Until it is verified by the university or bubba himself, why would you print it and risk looking like a moron?

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Hank Cross 3 years, 4 months ago

What an insult. Something must be really wrong for the freakin' Tulsa AD to turn down the job. If its the Kansas Board of Regents insisting that KU and KSU remain linked, they are extremely short-sighted and stupid. If for example, KU had gone to the P10, KU would've had more out-of-state applications from better students, whom KU could've charged more and would've raised the academic profile of the student body. That's what's going to happen to Nebraska as it becomes a B10 school. But, something tells me the problem isn't KSU.

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KSA_21_3503 3 years, 4 months ago

The law school gets turned down by the guy from Oregon and this happens a week later. What is wrong with KU?

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KU_FanSince75 3 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't HCBS that said, "If Mr. Cunningham was the AD, he would be a good fit for KU?" I thought what Self said was silly because according to a lot of media outlets (including the ones in the Wichita, KS area) said it was going to happen. Darn, can't show anymore "Nash Bridges" video clips where he is saying, "Bubba."

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Mark Lindrud 3 years, 4 months ago

I find it interesting that ESPN even reported we offered the position to the guy and it looked like he was going to accept.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/news/story?id=5922664

Now we don't get him? This is embarrassing. We must have a very undesirable AD position.

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100 3 years, 4 months ago

Get ready for Mitch Barnhart.

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kcblkscorpion 3 years, 4 months ago

Please please no more committees......Kevin Pritchard should be the new KU AD.

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Ethan Berger 3 years, 4 months ago

Quit with this Gill sucks crap. Here let me give you a few examples. Miami of Ohio coach first year went 1-11 this past year he went 10-2 and won the conference. Last year the University of Texas went to the National Championship and then 5-7 this year. Last year our team went 5-7 with the all powerful Mark Mangino and we only lost two more this year. We lose Reesing, Briscoe, Meirer, and Stucky. And ya’ll expect the greatest team ever. You guys keep saying Gill doesn’t know how to evaluate talent, but do ya'll? What have you done in the football world? One year and you give up on Gill. Acting like Mangino was God, but he gave us that orange bowl and then two strait disappointing years. You keep saying Gill can’t find talent with our qb. Didn’t Mangino have Reesing Redshirted tell that Colorado game? 3 years is a good time to evaluate the coach. Should UT fire Mack Brown because they went from the best to the worst? College Football is unpredictable; if you truly watch football you know this.

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midhawktx 3 years, 4 months ago

This is bad in every aspect. Rumor here in Tulsa is that there were several factors in Bubba not accepting the AD position: 1. The ticket scandal is a bigger problem than reported and that the Williams fund will be depleted soon. 2. Because of the fiasco with this years football team, donors are not donating to replenish the fund. 3. KU's tie to KSU for conference re-alignment. No home this summer and no home three years from now with the way our team looked this year. 4. The chancellor is a joke down here and not considered friendly to atheletics.

Those are the rumors. Not good...if we can't bring an AD from Tulsa here, who is going to come here.

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Roy Scherff 3 years, 4 months ago

Rumor has it that the Idaho State AD is in town.

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 4 months ago

We must be pretty bad off if Lawrence didn't want the job. I know make Gill the AD that way we get him out of the head coach position, wait, that won't work, then he would hire a football head coach, could it get any worse??? I got it, hire Mangino-- AD.

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Jack Wilson 3 years, 4 months ago

Seriously, just pick the AD that Bill Self wants.

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Andy Tweedy 3 years, 4 months ago

I don't believe for one minute that Gill's contract did or did not influence him coming here. Even if he were to hire his own guy, it would take a few years to see if it worked out, and there's usually plenty of money in the donors wallets if Gill's time here is bad enough that he wants a new hire. I think he either didn't get offered the job or he did, was never sure if he wanted it, and Tulsa made it worth his while to stay there. Just my two cents. As for who gets the job, I really don't know much about any of these candidates, except what Keegan keeps reporting, and I'm not forming my opinion on anything Keegan writes.

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Robert Brock 3 years, 4 months ago

Keegan...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Now, go to work.

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yovoy 3 years, 4 months ago

Well played Mr. Cunningham! Well played.

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HonestAbe1981 3 years, 4 months ago

The Chancellor botched the hire. Case closed.

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up4par2000 3 years, 4 months ago

Now go steal UNLV's AD Jim Livengood.

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frompekka2sasha 3 years, 4 months ago

Jaybate- The Republicans know our current government isn't viable. The Democrats would still be building the "Gridiron Club" and then asking the state to make up the difference for what the alumni never agreed to pay. Oh...SNAP :-)

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jhawkrulz 3 years, 4 months ago

I think he didn't want to deal with the whole "Little" situation.

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

Why do we even need an AD?

The Republicans don't even think we need a viable government? :-)

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

Oh, well, now we have to step down from Tulsa and hire the AD from Notre Dame. :-)

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jaybate 3 years, 4 months ago

"Post Bubba"

Bubba we hardly knew ye.

Coulda woulda Bubba.

Flubba dubba Bubba.

Post Bubba, here are a few other wild rumors that Keegs may write some stories on.

Wild Rumor: Bill Self to leave KU for Tulsa.

Wild Rumor: Bubba was ready to come, but he insisted the LJW fire Keegs for leaking the story, The World Corporation would not knuckle under, and so Bubba refused to come.

Wild Rumor: Tulsa is joining the B12.

Wild Rumor: Chancellor Bernie has decided to hire Chris Rock as AD, instead of Bubba.

Wild Rumor: Bill "Bubba" Clinton now replaces Bubba Cunningham as the top candidate.

Wild Rumor: Lew Perkins has been cleared by the ethics committee and is going to be rehired at twice his previous salary.

Wild Rumor: Barry Hinson is the new KUAD.

Wild Rumor: Former Chancellor Bob Hemenway, on who's watch the entire mess started is being considered as the next KUAD.

Wild Rumor: Danny Manning will become the first combination big man coach and AD in D1 history.

Wild Rumor: Mario Little will become the next

Wild Rumor: The Judds are going to become the next KU AD.

Note: All fiction. No malice.

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jakzhumans 3 years, 4 months ago

There's open speculation in the Tulsa paper that Cunningham turned it down because he wouldn't have been allowed to terminate Gill since his contract has no buyout. Not saying that's true, but their main sports columnist has already published the speculation.

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newtown 3 years, 4 months ago

fewer convicts to deal with.................

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Carter Patterson 3 years, 4 months ago

Quit panicking people. Geez. This will go down with Harbaugh fables. We don't know how close either party was. 1) We may never have offered him. 2) We may have offered him with conditions like....you can't leave us for Notre Dame unless you stay 5 years...3) Who knows. Maybe he wanted more $$$ then we were willing to pay. 4) Maybe we have another candidate that's above him.

There is a reason why ESPN never reported Bubba to KU as being true.

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Sam Constance 3 years, 4 months ago

If he prefers to stay at Tulsa over Kansas, then good riddance.

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kuballhawk 3 years, 4 months ago

"Before word broke that Cunningham would be staying at KU" ... staying at KU??? Not Tulsa/TU? Now I'm really confused...

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ampthatman 3 years, 4 months ago

But, but, but we're the university that's too good for people from mid-major conferences!!!

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Matt Kenton 3 years, 4 months ago

Journalists did a great job on this one. The reports were true and once it was leaked the wheels went into motion at Tulsa to keep him. Would those of you who are critical really rather be left in the dark until a press conference is announced?

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d_prowess 3 years, 4 months ago

How can people be ripping on the journalists in this? It is there job to report this stuff before it happens if they hear it is going down. I would rather know that Bubba was our target and a deal couldn't get done instead of having them report nothing.

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rob4lb 3 years, 4 months ago

I guess this can be interpreted in many ways. Maybe there was not good chemistry with the chancellor; maybe there was never an offer and this was speculation. It has to be a blow to KU's collective ego if Cunningham chose to stay at mid-major Tulsa instead of making a career jump to BCS major conference KU. I enjoy reading these boards, but I think some of the people who think we can get someone to jump from a major BCS school are overly optimistic. I think we are viewed as a one-trick pony (ie basketball) whose trick isn't all that compelling. I know that hurts. I think any potential AD will conclude that elevating the football program to even the middle of the Big 12 will be a very difficult task.

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HonestAbe1981 3 years, 4 months ago

This has the Chancellor written all over it.

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GDHAWKS 3 years, 4 months ago

This is the problem with internet journalism. Check your sources before you report it.... What happened to signing on the dotted line before reporting? Bush League!!!

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Ashwin Rao 3 years, 4 months ago

We needed the excitement! Things were getting boring here! The regular old stuff... people stealing tickets, football teams beating up basketball teams, basketball players being arrested, the football team falling on it's collective face etc. Thanks, Keegan for providing us the excitement!

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

Bubba was my best good friend.

Not discouraged by this at all. If we would of wanted him we would of got him. I'm still believing there is someone from a big school waiting in the wings until bowl season is over.

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hailtoku 3 years, 4 months ago

What is happening to Kansas?

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KPOP 3 years, 4 months ago

Journalists are ridiculous. To print a story about him coming to Kansas , blah blah, blah, is absurd. It isn't a story until he's signed and his bags are packed and he's in Lawrence with a signed contract. The journalists have egg on their face on this story. I am ashamed of you.

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GilbertAZ 3 years, 4 months ago

Not the right hire anyway. I say get the guy from Kentucky.

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chicagoeddie 3 years, 4 months ago

makes you wonder how screwed up things are at KU to want to prevent people from coming here...

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brcook99 3 years, 4 months ago

You've got to be kidding me .... turning down a Big 12 school with one of the top 3 basketball programs in the nation?!? Something doesn't smell right here. What does Bubba know that we don't?

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d_prowess 3 years, 4 months ago

You have to wonder how someone chooses to stay at a place like Tulsa over KU.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 4 months ago

Keegan!!!!!!!!!!! How is he employed!!!

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