Advertisement

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New AD Jeff Long in early stages of assessing long-struggling KU football program

New University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long during an introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion.

New University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long during an introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion.

Advertisement

When athletic director Jeff Long officially starts his job at the University of Kansas on Aug. 1, he will begin overseeing a football program that hasn’t produced a winning season since 2008 and has lost somewhere between nine and 12 games each of the past eight years.

During his introductory press conference inside the Lied Center Pavilion on Wednesday, Long referenced the football team’s struggles in order to declare: “It’s time to break the cycle.”

The former Arkansas A.D. quickly added that doing so won’t be easy, and stated David Beaty, who has compiled a 3-33 record in three seasons leading the Jayhawks, “is our coach.”

As of yet, Long has not spoken with Beaty face-to-face. The football coach headed off to Florida with his family for vacation this past week. According to Long, Beaty called him about returning to Lawrence early in order to attend the new A.D.’s news conference, but Long insisted that Beaty and other KU coaches and staffers who had plans in place not alter them on his account.

Asked how much he has communicated with Beaty since accepting the position a week ago, and whether he outlined any expectations for the fourth-year coach and the team this coming fall, Long pointed out Wednesday was his first time on campus since signing his contract.

“So I haven't had a chance to have much conversation and, matter of fact, today, I will meet my athletics staff today for the first time,” Long said. “So, you know, we haven't had any detailed discussions about the football program. You know, I need to get here and see firsthand. I know he's a coach. I know he's a good person. I know he works hard.”

While Long stated he and Beaty had not conversed “in depth” about the program during their discussions, he looks forward to doing so.

“And look forward to (talking) to him about his approach and his coaches and recruiting and everything they do that's involved with the football program,” Long added.

photo

Kansas head coach David Beaty watches a West Virginia score during the first quarter on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 at Memorial Stadium.

KU’s 11th athletic director repeatedly indicated his assessments of the department in general and the football team specifically are in their earliest stages at this juncture.

Still, Long didn’t mind revealing how he plans to measure success and progress when it comes to KU football. At least one benchmark, whenever it comes, will be the team’s first postseason appearance since winning the 2008 Insight Bowl, in Mark Mangino’s penultimate season.

“Well, big picturewise, I think, for our program, first, our goal is set to reach a bowl game,” Long began. “So we'll strive to reach a bowl game. And once we reach that level, we won't stop there. Then, we'll move on to more games. And, ultimately, I'm not shy about saying, some day down the road, we're going to win the Big 12 championship. We've done it here in Kansas in the past and it's something we are certainly going to work every day and night to do.”

Kansas tied for first in the old Big 12 North in 2007 and tied for first in the even-older Big Eight in 1968, but hasn’t won a league outright since its Big Six title in 1930.

Before fielding questions, Long, during his opening remarks, said he wants to work with coaches at KU to “remove the obstacles to success.” Considering the football team’s 15-81 record since Mangino was fired following the 2009 season, some form of stumbling blocks must exist for the troubled program.

Long’s initial appraisals, at least, he revealed, have dealt with finances, though he added he doesn’t want to revolve everything around that particular angle.

“I just want to make sure that we have the resources we currently have committed to the right areas of the football program to help it be successful,” Long said. “And then, it's obvious to me that my job will be to go out to raise more money and find new revenue streams for our program to support the football program, and really, all of our programs.”

The former Arkansas and Pittsburgh A.D. wants to get KU football within “striking distance” on the resource front to make sure it can compete.

“You don't always need the best or the most. We're going to do more with less,” Long said. “That's my nature.”

Long’s predecessor, Sheahon Zenger, of course, rolled out a $350 million fundraising campaign focused on KU football in September of 2017, before chancellor Douglas Girod fired Zenger this past May.

During his first public comments as Zenger’s replacement, Long thanked KU alumnus and benefactor David Booth, whose $50 million pledge kickstarted efforts aimed toward renovating KU football’s facilities and added Booth’s name to Memorial Stadium.

“At this point, I need to get in and look at the plans of the stadium and understand better how they hope to get where they hope to get,” Long said.

Initially, Long misspoke, referencing plans for a “new football stadium” instead of renovations, before quickly catching himself and joking the media shouldn’t claim he’s about to try and build a completely new venue. He said the eventual alterations to KU football’s home should improve fans’ access and enjoyment.

“That takes an assessment, as well,” Long said.

As of his press conference, Long said he had seen neither the renovation nor fundraising plans.

The athletic department’s website associated with those fundraising efforts, www.raisethechant.com, was not functioning on Wednesday. A KU spokesperson said the page was down for maintenance.

Although Beaty did not attend Long’s KU debut of sorts, men’s basketball coach Bill Self did. According to Self, some of his early conversations with Long dealt “a little bit” with football.

“I’ll never know football like (Long) knows football,” Self said. “Obviously, I believe it can be done here because we saw it firsthand be done. But I also know it’s a process and it takes time and I understand where we’re at now.”

Long impressed Self, the coach said, with his philosophy on turning the football program around.

“Football’s not an overnight fix,” Self said of Long’s approach. “Football is something that, obviously, can be evaluated and, sometimes, you’re making progress a lot more than what fans see. Are you doing the right things to win the war and not the battle?”


More from Jeff Long’s introduction as the new KU athletic director


Comments

Kevin Robert Fest 1 week, 1 day ago

"It's time to break the cycle" Loosely translated....bye Dave.

John Fitzgerald 1 week, 1 day ago

There's a lot of "read between the lines" quotes we heard during the presser. But I feel like it's obvious Beaty will at least coach game one. After that it's anyone's guess.

Jeff Coffman 1 week, 1 day ago

I kind of read...stay on vacation, we might want to extend that in a little bit.

Brett McCabe 1 week ago

Agreed. He can't come in and fire a guy before his first day on the job.

I'll be interested in his take on Beaty after spending time with Self.

[''] 1 week, 1 day ago

He hasn't even talked to Beaty much yet? That's telling.....buhbye

Marcia Parsons 1 week ago

Didn't he say Beatty was on vacation but had offered to come home early? I guess he has talked to him.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 week, 1 day ago

Kiss of death in any sport is when owner/manager etc says so and so is our guy. The second those words come out the clock starts ticking. Especially after said so and so has had multiple long seasons as a player, coach, manager, gm, ad, etc.

Gerry Butler 1 week ago

I like Coach Beaty I really do. Is he in over his head sorry to say I think so. - So if it has to happen, then it has to happen. - Thing is at this point I think we do what we have to do - and that's not being a hater on Coach , it's just we have got to get this turned around. - 1st I think is as this all goes hand in hand. We have to be able to get boosters re-enerigized so we can get the funding for this 350 million renovation - there is a reason they are boosters - they got the bucks -and they got to that position by making wise investments. = In order for them to help they want to see a return on their money--they wanna see results if they are gonna help with the renovation, which means more production on the field -- more wins. A part of more wins is being able to recruit better athletes - - -which this also goes hand in hand with the renovation, we try to get a top notch player to commit - you have to be able to compete with the other schools facility wise..-I mean you bring in a kid for a recruiting visit they see our facilities right now and then take a visit to say Oklahoma - - -Texas - -Nebraska etc and ya. - -the again so to make that happen we need the reno - in order to get the funds for the reno we need better results for the donor's - another part is in order to get better production - wins we need a Coach- that can turn it around - -goes hand in hand -- - better results/ partially equals better facilities - - to help draw better recruits -- better recruits you need a Coach that can recruit teach develop.

All know is we have got to stop this switching Coach's every two-three years - -We can never get any kind of continuity by changing - no stability, it's really hard to get a solid recruiting year when the kid doesn't even know if the Coach that he commits for is going to be here the following year.- -That HAS TO STOP so again these things all go hand in hand. Make this program at least competitive again - --respectable again just want like everyone else to get this turned around. - - ROCK CHALK ALL DAY LONG BABY

Brad Watson 1 week ago

Jeff.....Call Gene Chizik!!!!....and forget about poorly thought out stadium renovations.....the old relic is not an eyesore...its has a beauty that needs to be preserved.....keep the shoe in tact.....but get rid of the south end zone seating and go back to regular bleachers...like Allen Field House.... tradition rich is how it needs to be approached...new stadiums are eyesores...the Classic stadium is what we need to go with...50 to 60 thousands is all we need to seat here..and all we want is to field a decent team..that is respectable..3-33 is the worst record EVER! in the history of our school...I can do better than 3-33...I will coach for free...kidding aside......its time to change the coach right now...before the season...don't waste another minute...its that important!..the games are unwatchable......its that BAD!......Chizik can get it done...Chizik loves big challenges...at least talk to the man..he will make us (competitive/watchable) by mid season ...even with this years' roster.....welcome to Lawrence Jeff!

[''] 1 week ago

Chizik? C'mooonnnn. He had ONE good yr on the back of Cam Newton and then flamed out quickly AND already failed in the Big 12. Waaaaayyy better choices than this clown. NEXT!

Craig Carson 1 week ago

um, AFH has history because they have had massive success..what type of success has KU had in that old Memorial stadium that it needs to be preserved? they need to bulldoze that POS down and build a REAL FB stadium..the kind that makes good recruits WANT to play at KU

Brad Watson 5 days, 22 hours ago

A lot of greats have played in that old relc...I saw Gale Sayes run bak a 99 yard kickoff return against Nebraska on that field...Riggins played there...Bobby Douglas played there...The Selmons played there...Greg Pruitt played there..Billy Sims...Tagge...Kinney...Rodgers...irving Fryar...Rozier......all the great Big 8 teams played there...great memories...we have no reason to spend money on a a new eyesore...the money could help in so many other ways...6 days a year is all its used...and we are never going to be a top program...we can't sell it out...it only seats about 60K...if you squeeze them in...we don't need some new stadium...they are ugly...they cost way too much money to build and maintain...be smart ..renovate the old relic without destroying its beauty....i have been attending games for 50 years...I love the stadium just as it is...with the exception of that south end zone seating...which has always been a head scratcher.

Steven Haag 1 week ago

From most research that I’ve done, Jeff Long has integrity. He cares about family. He cares about the institution that he works for. These are great qualities. He realizes the stresses of being a coach, long hours, days and weeks away from family. He told Beaty and other coaches and staff to not change plans because it was THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 week ago

They'll have plenty of time to do whatever they want very soon. I feel badly mostly for the assistants on the team. That's a grind, especially moving around to find a job with family in tow. Beaty got paid, didn't earn a cent of it. Good riddance.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 week ago

Hey Steve unless Tom, Jeff Long took your advice, what asked about Beaty he replied, "l know he's a coach" Didn't have anything nice to say after that about his coaching ability so he stopped there. Lol.

Marcus Balzer 1 week ago

He sure does have integrity but he also isn't stupid. He would still be at Arkansas right now if he didn't decide to go down with his lame duck, dead in the water coach and I'll be damned if he repeats the same mistakes. Coach Baty is a great guy. Tremendous amount of passion and love for the University but the numbers simply don't add up. I believe for all the reasons mentioned he will get a fair evaluation but his clock is ticking.

Kevin Robert Fest 1 week ago

“I know he’s a coach,” Long said. That's like you trying to set up one of your friends on a blind date, they ask "What's she like?" You rely, "she's a girl"

Bye David, good as gone. You don't hire a new AD to smooze the donors for 350 mil and keep THIS guy.

Jay Scott 1 week ago

Long is a great hire....

....but..

......if they'd have hired a Chicken Littles AD Committee at least a half dozen head coaches could have been fired by now......

Craig Carson 1 week ago

IMO, Long has already compiled a list of potential coaching hires, but he should give Beaty at least a few games to see if KU has shown improvement

Craig Carson 1 week ago

as a KU fan, Im not expecting the FB program to compete for conference titles..just get us to a place where the program can win between 5-7 wins annually with the occasional 10 win miracle season and some NFL draft selections..we just dont want to be laughing stocks anymore..its gotten to where D2 schools look at us and see a guaranteed win LOL

Sign in to comment