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


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.


Clarence Haynes 10 years, 9 months ago

You are a head case! You need some help dude!

Dale Kroening 10 years, 9 months ago

Do you ever post anything positive ? IDIOT..................

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

doesn't care if you we win or lose, is content with 3-9 football seasons

hawk316 10 years, 9 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.

Chris1955 10 years, 9 months ago

I thought Sheahon made a favorable first impression.

hailtoku 10 years, 9 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.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 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.

John Beck 10 years, 9 months ago

WOW something that might be construed as positive and supportive. You are slipping or your meds finally kicked in..

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

Being "wait and see" guy is easier at 450k a year over 2mill a year.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 9 months ago

I think being "wait and see" guy is all most have hoped you would be with Gill. Other than maybe 100, I think we're all "cautiously optimistic" Gill will get it right, not "blindly optimistic." What do you say? A New Years resolution to not hate on Gill for a length of time that will test you, say 2 days?

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

nope, i'll still be "ths comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement." guy when it comes to gill ;)

Don Everett 10 years, 9 months ago

More awesome grammar from ah, "I'll will make..............."

FreddyinLA 10 years, 9 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.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 9 months ago

I agree about HCBS. In fact, I say we wipe the slate clean and give back the 2008 trophy and have him change the way he does things!!! You might notice a bit of sarcasm there, but I do agree about the other points.

Eurekahwk 10 years, 9 months ago

We will win games in the 80-60 window, not 90-70, 100-80 or anything else. Get over it. You wear teams down with superior physical prowess, not depth. Some teams are just as deep as you.

klineisanazi 10 years, 9 months ago

Because it was a lot of fun watching Roy's teams fast break and not win a national championship. Stay in LA.

Lonnie Ross Dillon 10 years, 9 months ago

You do realize don't you that to play depth you have to practice depth, and that takes away from practicing with your top (i.e. most likely to play) players. Here's the math. Not considering positions, there are 6,720 different ways to get a 5 man team out of 8 players. Adding one more player to the mix ups that to 15120 permutations. 10 players can produce 30,240 different 5-man team combinations. Think of the practice time required to work with that many combinations. THAT'S why coaches rarely go past 8 or 9 players as their primary players. THe rest get their time getting beat up in practice.

Matt Kenton 10 years, 9 months ago

Wrong. "Not considering positions" would be a combination, not a permutation. So a combination of 8 things taken 5 at a time is 56. 9 players to choose from gives 126 options, 10 gives you 252 options.

In addition, I don't think that is a reason to not practice depth. Plus Self is playing his depth as much as possible so far this season, anyway. How many different starting lineups have we had already? I think the question is about uptempo/offensive vs physical/defensive philosophies.

omng392 10 years, 9 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

Topcitykid10 10 years, 9 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

jayhawk1996 10 years, 9 months ago

Given what we've dealt with in the last year, yes. Having NCAA and federal investigators on campus isn't fun. I applaud the chancellor for working to ensure that won't happen again.

She seemed uncomfortable in the basketball game interview but I liked what she had to say in today's news conference. Just because she's not an old white guy doesn't mean she can't be a good chancellor.

FreddyinLA 10 years, 9 months ago

Don’t give BG-L credit for the tightened down contract signed by the new AD because her signature was also on the disastrous Gill contract. This is a result of the big money donors’ disgust with the out of control playpen being run by Sweet Lew.

She was terrible in the TV interview during the game yesterday.

Ed Brown 10 years, 9 months ago

You probably should do a little more homework before making clueless assertions. She's at least smart enough to get 25% more than Hemenway

Aligned 10 years, 9 months ago

I think Hemenway’s the smartest one. Keeping his chancellor’s salary of almost 350K for teaching a few classes a week, six months out of the year, with none of the headaches involved with being in charge of a major university, sounds like a sweet gig to me.

Bear86 10 years, 9 months ago

BGL is way over her head. She may be a good academian but she has no business being the Chancellor of Kansas University. She is learning on the job and it's costing the University and all the alumns. F-Texas!!

Matt Kenton 10 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. Hopefully she's doing some great things for the University with academics, research grants, or something.

Ed Brown 10 years, 9 months ago

Gotta be a bigger school to make more money, usually. Look at UT's football stadium. It would have made sense for them and Nebraska to go to the Big 10 based on size. The Big 12 should have went after TCU and let UT go. We probably could have convinced UNT to join the Big 12. I beleive UNT has a larger enrollment than KU.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

Lou was the highest at 900000. Ou and Ut are in the 700000's and the average big 12 is around 500000. The reason we couldn't replace a topnotch AD with another one is because of the empty stadium gill and staff will be providing the university over the next 4 years. I know, maybe we could sell the empty aluminum bleachers for scrap and use the money to buy gill out!

Jonathan Allison 10 years, 9 months ago

we did pay like them. And he walked all over us.

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

Walked you into a bcs payout, amazing football facilities, and made Allen fieldhouse even better!

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 9 months ago

WOW! I agree with ahperse on something. Perkins wasn't perfect, but he did some great things at KU that seem to have been forgotten.

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 9 months ago

Only shows you that he will say anything to disagree with anyone. Even trolls are more subtle.

Hank Cross 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm sure UT AD DeLoss Dodds would laugh at 450K, but he runs a much bigger and richer department. My concern with this hire is that he may be a 'good guy', but will he have to what it takes to be a tough SOB at the negotiating table with UT and OU. KU's actions last summer during the realignment process were a lesson in How Not to Act in a Crisis, i.e. get blindsided, have no contigent plans, panic publicly, and finally beg for mercy from the very people that caused the problem.

jayhawk1996 10 years, 9 months ago

The Sooners and Longhorns got what they wanted (their own TV networks) and aren't going to get it anywhere else. They're not going anywhere. I don't think we're going to see mega conferences any time soon. If KU learned anything, it's that football matters. I think Dr. Zenger's experience as a football coach will be invaluable to the program. Will KU football ever be on the same level as Texas and OU? Probably not. But there's no reason why it can't compete for conference titles and be bowl eligible every year.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 9 months ago

A little revisionist history? I remember several things that made me worry, but not really anything like what you are portraying. If I recall, there was speculation KU may have outmaneuvered one of the south teams for a spot in the PAC 10. Additionally, Self's comments subsequent to those events made it sound like the Big East would have been an option. KU worked to hold the Big XII together because it made the most sense for it in the long run.

jayhawk1996 10 years, 9 months ago

Per, the Pac 10 was told that OU and OSU were paired, as were KU and KSU. The boards of regents in Oklahoma and Kansas won't let one leave a conference without the other. Any rumors that KU was going to take a spot reserved for a South team are no true. Yes, the Big East was/is a possibility, but both Kansas schools have to go together.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 9 months ago

If it comes down to it, I don't think KU and KSU are a package deal. It may be presented that way initially, but if only one school is wanted, I think you would see the Board of Regents relent and the schools would go their own way.

As for, about a third of what they reported was actually true. Kind of like Keegan and some of his reports. I don't know the Oklahoma heirarchy, but it is possible they have a Board of Regents similar to Kansas. Of course they would want to keep those schools together. However, if the conference was crumbling and it was clear that only one school was wanted by another conference, I think you would see OU and OSU split as well. OU may want to look out for OSU and attempt to use its influence to leverage both schools to a new conference, but if the Big XII fell apart, I don't think for a second OU would pass on a major conference affiliation just because OSU wasn't invited.

Ron Prichard 10 years, 9 months ago

No offense Maxhawk, but you have no idea what you are talking about with this comment. Perkins was the highest paid AD in the Big XII and possibly the country. Gill is being paid about four times what it would have cost to actually get him to come to KU. His assistants are paid in line with other major university assistant coaches. Mangino was paid handsomely, as well. Finally, Self is one of the highest paid basketball coaches in the country.

KU is not afraid to pay to get quality individuals. Maybe, just maybe, they paid a going rate to get someone that will grow with KU over the next several years.

actorman 10 years, 9 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?

Ron Prichard 10 years, 9 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.

BCRavenJHawkfan 10 years, 9 months ago

I seem to remeber that as well. Regardless, there are a whole bunch of people in this world that are under paid and over paid for what they do, in all walks of life. By the same token there are many jobs that just aren't worth any amount. For instance to be the coach of the Dallas Cowboys and have Jerry Jones' thumb pressing on you - no thanks. By contrast I would probably pay the university to be a lowly grunt in a Bill Self organization.

swunruh 10 years, 9 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!

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 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!

swunruh 10 years, 9 months ago

You can't even get her initials correct. It's BGL and just because she's not an old white guy doesn't mean she isn't capable of doing a good job. We have a student currently at KU and they are very pleased with BGL's leadership.

Don Everett 10 years, 9 months ago

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

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 9 months ago

You're right! My mixing up the "g" and "l" dwarfs The leader of our university and person responsible for this hire closing the press conference to a round of applase from those in attendance before letting the man of the hour take questions and now I'm just typing words from my iPhone with horrible service from AT&T to just make this run on sentence last even longer than you thought it would.

jayhawk4alifetime 10 years, 9 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..........

sparky1958 10 years, 9 months ago

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

sparky1958 10 years, 9 months ago

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

jayhawkintexas 10 years, 9 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.

Doug LeMoine 10 years, 9 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?

Hank Cross 10 years, 9 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?

FreddyinLA 10 years, 9 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.

Craig Watcke 10 years, 9 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.

sparky1958 10 years, 9 months ago

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

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 9 months ago

He received degrees from both K-State and Kansas. His doctorates were from Kansas. I guess he had to make up for the undergrad degrees coming from K-State.

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