Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Warm welcome: Bill Self, Turner Gill quick to praise new boss Sheahon Zenger

Members of the media interview new KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, background left, and KU football coach Turner Gill, foreground right, after Zenger was introduced as the new Kansas University athletic director Monday, January, 3, 2011. Zenger previously was athletic director at Illinois State University.

Members of the media interview new KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger, background left, and KU football coach Turner Gill, foreground right, after Zenger was introduced as the new Kansas University athletic director Monday, January, 3, 2011. Zenger previously was athletic director at Illinois State University.



KU introduces Sheahon Zenger as new AD

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Kansas University introduced Sheahon Zenger as its new Athletic Director on Monday, Jan. 3, 2010.

Bill Self slipped unnoticed into Kansas University’s Hadl Auditorium at 1:40 p.m. Monday, right after the start of athletic director Sheahon Zenger’s introductory news conference.

KU’s eighth-year basketball coach — who Zenger agreed is “the face of KU’s athletic department” — stood in the back of the room next to a Journal-World reporter while listening intently to his new boss.

“I thought he was obviously very prepared, far more prepared than I was during my (first KU) press conference,” Self said, while en route to his office prior to yet another 2010-11 hoops practice.

He spoke with Zenger on the phone late Sunday night and in person Monday morning.

“(He’s) prepared, excited, energized. It’s just going to be a matter of hours before I think the morale of this place has been improved,” Self said.

He said he was pleased to have met Zenger, his wife, Pam, their three kids and Zenger’s parents, but Self hasn’t “really had a chance to sit down and visit with him one-on-one yet. We’ve talked a lot on the phone. Anybody who meets him knows he is very excited about this position.”

Zenger is the man who hired former KU assistant Tim Jankovich as head coach at Illinois State.

“Tim is not only a colleague and a guy I worked with as part of our staff, but a close friend. He told me this is obviously a great day for us and a tough, tough loss for them (at ISU),” Self said. “Tim feels so strongly about the great job he did for Illinois State.”

KU football coach Turner Gill stood off to a side with interim A.D. Sean Lester in a jam-packed Hadl Auditorium.

“It was a great speech,” Gill said. “More importantly, he’s a solid person who I think is very much so the best man for us to move forward in this athletic department. I think our fans will enjoy him. I’m excited to have him be a part of it. You can obviously feel a sense of his coaching (experience). I know he’s a very organized person. I’ve heard nothing but great things from people who know him and have worked with him.

“He has a great background, a doctorate degree. He’s been involved with athletic programs and been involved in recruiting. He understands what coaches do and what they need to do. He has a great personality to go out and reach people.

“He came across with strong passion. He feels good about where he’s at, what he wants to do. He has great vision, great energy. When you have those kind of things ... you are excited to work for a guy like that.”

KU volleyball coach Ray Bechard, like Zenger, is a native Kansan.

“I grew up an hour west of Hays,” Bechard said of Zenger’s home town. “I’m thinking I had his dad for a class at Fort Hays State University. I remember the name (Zenger). He’s younger than I am, (but) I’m sure we’ll share some of the same Western Kansas stories at some point.”

Bechard said Zenger, “is going to be great. It’s obvious he’s excited about being here. He can hit the ground running, just from the standpoint he knows the place. I visited with him a little last night. He was so excited about today, getting here and getting started.”

KU coach Self said later on Monday’s Hawk Talk radio show that Zenger held meetings with KU coaches and the administrative staff after his news conference.

“He’s fired up,” Self said. “I’m excited for him. I’m excited for us. I think it’s going to be a great situation for all of us.”


jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 3 months ago

Suckup Gill, suckup, or you're dead meat.


jaybate 3 years, 3 months ago

Zenger seems a good hire.

But why the headline and story frames his arrival in terms of approval by the coaches is about as shallow as talking about how much a group of players approves of the hiring of a new coach.

No player stands up and says, "This new coach is really a jerk that should never have been hired."

It is the same with coaches' responses to the hiring of new ADs.

One better shine the apple, if one wants to eat.


texashawk10 3 years, 3 months ago

Zenger is a great fit for KU. He has degrees from both KU and KSU and was an assistant coach during Snyder's early years at KSU and heading up many fundraising projects at KSU when KSU was at their peak in the early 2000's. He's seen what it takes to lay a foundation for success in football and what the fruits of those early years can bring to a football program.

For those of you who don't know this, Zenger did hire Tim Jankovich to coach Illinois St. basketball while Tim was a Bill Self assistant so that is where Self and Zenger's previous relationship comes from and why it appears that he and Self are old friends.


slowplay 3 years, 3 months ago

As usual time will tell. Gill is under no more pressure than he was. It's all about winning. He showed enough to be endorsed for next year, but unless the program shows improvement I don't think Zenger will hesitate to pull the plug. Michigan is the latest to realize that after 2 years there has to be positive momentum, not always in wins and losses but in respect and being competitive. I really think Gill has gotten the most out of what he had (with some obvious failures)and if he can develop a "star" QB, which should be his and Long's strong point, KU will field a better team.


Tom Wilson 3 years, 3 months ago

Anxious to see what kind of goals Zenger will set for KU's football program. There is no reason why we cannot excel in both basketball AND football.


jayhawkinnebr 3 years, 3 months ago

Gill, better suckup good now because, next year during football you will be singing "Down that lonesome road". Ever get that feeling,that it is just time, will tell when you get the axe.


notigers4me 3 years, 3 months ago

Turner Gill may be a lot of things but confused is not one of them. I get a sense that he knows exactly what he is doing and will complete his mission. Kansas Football will be a model program in a couple of years and you guys will all be talking a different game by then.


KGphoto 3 years, 3 months ago

That's a very strange photo. Was Coach Gill working security or something? He looks like he may have a bead on a suspicious character. Perhaps Tom is meandering around the back of the room.


ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 3 months ago

ummmmmmmmmmmm, coach self, i think you might have been a little bit more prepard than you think. your introduction still gives me goosebumps!!!

next to "you came to kansas to play in this game" the larry brown take is second.


JacquesMerde 3 years, 3 months ago

I hope he does well, but the last AD came from a first rate program to KU. This guy has been at Illinois State, a wannabe. Think about it.


ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 3 months ago

Who's dude with the pin and paper? Think we met in Vegas.


kusportsdotcom 3 years, 3 months ago

speaking of bechard...his contract was up this past december. can anyone at the LJW find info on whether he signed an extension? he clearly did, but just wondering if KU made the info available. it should be public record, but i haven't seen anything


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