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Originally published January 3, 2011 at 01:19p.m., updated January 3, 2011 at 02:37p.m.

New KU Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger to be paid $450,000 per year for 4.5 years

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Gill giddy to work with Zenger

Kansas head football coach Turner Gill said he is excited to work with newly hired KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger.

Kansas University chose a man with deep local roots to be its next athletic director when it announced Sunday that Illinois State’s Sheahon Zenger had been hired.

The KU and K-State grad was born in Salina and lived in Hays and Lawrence, as well as Manhattan, among his various stops on his way to the athletic director job at KU.

In introducing Zenger today, KU also made available his employment agreement. Zenger's contract will run from Feb. 2, 2011 to June 30, 2015.

Among the perks that Zenger will receive:

• Membership at one of Lawrence's country clubs.

• The use of two automobiles.

• A scholarship suite at Memorial Stadium.

• A host of home and away football, men's basketball and women's basketball tickets.

But, in addition the perks, the the contract also outlines restrictions that seem to be an effort to combat some of the controversies that surrounded Zenger's predecessor, Lew Perkins, in recent years.

Zenger will be prohibited from using university planes for personal purposes. He's allowed to use the fitness equipment at KU, but his family is not. He's expected to know all of the restrictions and regulations regarding ethics of state employees.

Zenger's contract also includes a buyout should he choose to leave or if KU should terminate him without cause. If KU terminates the agreement without cause, KU owes Zenger up to two years of his salary. If Zenger terminates the contract, he'll be required to pay a sum equivalent to half of his annual salary.

Zenger was born in Salina on April 13, 1966, received his undergraduate (1987, English and secondary education) and master’s (1992, journalism and mass communications) degrees from Kansas State and his doctorate from KU (1996, educational policy and leadership). Zenger’s father, Weldon, also received a Ph.D. in education from KU while the family lived in Lawrence from 1968 to 1970.

Read more about Zenger.

Comments

sparky1958 3 years, 3 months ago

Good hire!!! Just leave it to a K Stater to clean up the mess at the athletic department.

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kutrack2851 3 years, 3 months ago

I am not an expert on the MVC, but a quick look at the MVC & ISU websites list the number of conference championships the redbirds have won recently. They have won approx 1/2 as many conference champs in the past six yrs than they did the six yrs prior. 7 sports had conference champs and 4 of the 7 were sports that only a part of the conference fields teams - men's tennis (6 teams 10 schools). A quick look at the NCAA reinstatement comittee that BGL mentioned in the presser shows mostly assistant AD's no big time decision makers from power conferences.

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FreddyinLA 3 years, 3 months ago

Just watched the pressor. Chancellor BL-G was much better than her TV interview yesterday. Ray Evan was impressive. Glad he’s on our side. Zenger was also impressive. Said all the right things and his story has KU interwoven in there at different times in his life, which is good thing.

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Hank Cross 3 years, 3 months ago

BGL has already proven that she's inept at dealing with the media. For example, why in the world would you allow Lew to annouce his retirement right in the midst of the realignment last Summer?

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jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 3 months ago

BGL wasn't very professional at the Ku-Miami game the other night. She looked like she didn't want to be there for the interview when the announcer asked her some questions about the new hire. She was very evasive and looked like she wanted to get up and leave, which makes me think what else don't we know about the higher up staff people. I don't know what the hell is going on down there with Perkins, Gill and now BGL.

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Doug LeMoine 3 years, 3 months ago

BGL was terrible during that interview. [Bill Walton voice]: Horrible! She's the chief executive of Kansas University, and this was a marketing opportunity -- for KU, for her decision, for the new AD, for academics. At the very least, she could have done what any CEO or head coach or executive does: Try to be engaging, and articulate. She looked bored and irritated. She didn't want to discuss her decision-making process, or to (god forbid) promote the University of Kansas, which makes me wonder: Why did she consent to the interview? If she really didn't care, why go out of her way to bomb?

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jayhawkintexas 3 years, 3 months ago

When I think of great athletic programs in the country, Illinois State wouldn't come to mind (is it Division 1-A or I-AA?). I'm curious why KU couldn't get someone from a major conference--Big 12, Big 10, SEC, Pac-10/12, ACC, Big East--powerhouse. I thought the job was one of the highest paying AD jobs in the country and "a lot of candidates are going to jump at the opportunity" (seems like I read that somewhere). Was it the salary? Is it the fear that the Big 12 will break up for good and KU will become a Conference USA school? Are the politics in the KU Athletics Department so bad that no one from a sports powerhouse wants to take the job? Is it that more problems haven't been made public yet and is scaring candidates away? Do candidates have doubts abuot Gill and his ability to put fans in seats? KU is a great university but it breaks my heart that we couldn't attract someone, even an assistant, from a sports powerhouse.

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sparky1958 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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sparky1958 3 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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jayhawk4alifetime 3 years, 3 months ago

I hope everyone will support Zenger and give him a chance. Most of us on here love Kansas University and want only the best for the Jayhawks. Let's be positive about this hire and do anything we can to help promote KU. ROCK CHALK..........

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jayhawkdon 3 years, 3 months ago

Nice grammar ah - "the best was win BLG.........."

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 3 months ago

the best was win BLG ended the press conference. forgetting to let our new ad take any questions. . .ha! you should of seen it!

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swunruh 3 years, 3 months ago

I disagree TopCity and actorman... I don't think the KU chancellor needs to know how to wear goofy TV headphones (that may or may not work properly) and try to answer a half baked sports announcer's weak questions in the middle of an exciting basketball game with 16thousand screaming fans in the background. Bernie Little is not perfect but she is doing just fine and looked nice at today's press conference... Thanks LJ World for showing it on line!

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Ron Prichard 3 years, 3 months ago

For the record, I looked up athletic budgets online. I remember once finding some fairly current information, but this time, the most recent I can find is 2007. For NCAA Division I schools, KU had the 24th ranked athletic budget. Texas was obviously the highest ranked Big XII school, but KU was fifth in the Big XII. The only other schools ahead of KU were OU (14) and Nebraska and aTm.

As I said, I couldn't find anything more recent, but if I remember correctly, Texas has gone on a ridiculous spending spree and their budget had ballooned to the the largest in the country ($143 million?). KU was around $50 million in 2009 if I am not mistaken. That should easily be enough to keep us in the top 25 athletic budgets nationwide.

If anyone has the current numbers or knows where to find them please post the link. If I am wrong on this I will gladly give my mea culpa.

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actorman 3 years, 3 months ago

I think TopCity is right about how poorly the chancellor came across in the interview. I was shocked at how terrible her communication skills were and how completely lacking she was in charisma. Maybe it's not fair to judge someone based on one interview, but if that wasn't an anomaly, how on earth did she get the job?

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Randy Maxwell 3 years, 3 months ago

I'd like to know what the AD's at UT and OU make? Somehow I suspect it's a hell of a lot more than $450K per year. This is why KU can't attract a quality AD or football coach. If you expect to compete with OU and UT you must pay like them.

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Topcitykid10 3 years, 3 months ago

Does a equipment clause have to been in the contract??? Come gray-Little grow up BTW from her interview during the b ball game yesterday I think she has no clue what she is doing

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omng392 3 years, 3 months ago

Nice contract 450K, 50K bonus two cars, the country club... And I thought an IT degree (Masters included) was going to bring me the big bucks... Who knew hanging out at the KU campus all day, mingling with donors, athletes and Hot college cuties... Dream job... Heck, I was hoping to retire to KU one day and teach... I guess I should dream higher!!!

All kidding aside a great hire for a great university

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FreddyinLA 3 years, 3 months ago

Here's your todo list: Remove track from Memorial Stadium. Mandate HCBS play more up-tempo ball and use superior depth to wear teams down and avoid embarrassing season ending loses like UNI, Bradley, and Bucknell. Get financial house in order. Clean Sweet Lew’s cronies out of athletic department. Put Bonnie on notice.

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ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 3 months ago

Seemed like a little bit of "recruit, recruit, recruit" in this first impression to me. I'll will make a promise to jayhawk nation to be a little more patient with this guy (450,000k and a buyout makes things easier) but will be scared as hell if realignment talk breaks out anytime soon.

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Keith Hummel 3 years, 3 months ago

This is a tremendous hire!!! Some exciting things are about to happen with KU Athletics. Zenger has allot of passion for both the state of Kansas and the University of Kansas. He has a complete understanding of the importance of KU Basketball and his knowledge of football will be a tremendous asset. He's also a man of integrity and character, which is something we sorely needed after the shady dealings of Lew Perkins. He has been nothing but a success everywhere he's gone, and I have every reason to believe he will be a huge success at KU. Welcome to KU Dr. Zenger! Congrats to the the chancellor and the selection committee on a job well done.

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hailtoku 3 years, 3 months ago

Time will tell with how good of a hire this is.

I will say after watching him speak that he has my full support.

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Chris1955 3 years, 3 months ago

I thought Sheahon made a favorable first impression.

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hawk316 3 years, 3 months ago

Wow! Looks like we've got another winner here! I love the quality leadership we've been bringing in...(going back a few years), Bill Self. Then, Turner Gill. Now, our new AD.

Very impressive.

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