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.”


hawk316 11 years, 6 months ago

Yes! Yes! I heard part of the news conference and was very impressed. This guy appears to be an absolutely great hire. I love his enthusiasm, his positive attitude and his respect for KU. He seems to be overjoyed at being part of the KU family.

To reiterate, this guy appears to be an absolutely great hire!

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 6 months ago

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

KGphoto 11 years, 6 months ago

J. Brady doesn't seem like much of a gambler to me. Were you at the buffet?

Ron Franklin 11 years, 6 months ago

we won't judge....

what happens in vegas, stays in vegas, right!!!!

Just kiddin.

Thomas Michaud 11 years, 6 months ago

There's a dude with PIN and paper? I'm looking around the HOLE room and don't see anyone who fits that description. Weird.

Love how edu-ma-cated some posts are. Does this show how well the internet is completely dumbing down our writing abilities ... Or maybe it's just some can't get past the use of phonics.

Maybe we should fire you and hire a better poster for the face our our community ... Do you have enough experience in writing? Is this why Auburn turned you down? Maybe you should get more experience at a DII school and actually win some writing awards before coming to the big leagues.

Tyler Fox 11 years, 6 months ago

"...better poster for the face 'our our' community?..."

Maybe you should head down there to take a lesson in humility before you're allowed to post again.

DocBean 11 years, 6 months ago

Maybe proofread your own post before you bash anyone on theirs.

ahpersecoachingexperience 11 years, 6 months ago

don't worry dude. next time just type "r" and you'll be good!

Thomas Michaud 11 years, 6 months ago

huh ... double "our" ... yep, guess I should have proofed a bit better—could've sworn I'd triple checked everything (guess I shouldn't post with 4 hours of sleep on the ills of proofing) ... ahper(etc) just keeps getting on Gill's apparent screw ups and just finally got fed up to actually post when Mr. Perfect does so ... Of course he'll never admit to a mistake, but I'll be man enough to say "my bad" on the proofing. Oh well, I'll go back to the hole I crawled out of.

However, I have no idea what "just type 'r'" means though ... good call.!

Ben Kliewer 11 years, 6 months ago

Why would somebody have a pin and paper? Are you sticking the paper on a bulletin board with the pin? Because normally people use a pen to write on paper.

Keith Kienzle 11 years, 6 months ago

Awesome. That's exactly what i first thought.

JacquesMerde 11 years, 6 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 11 years, 6 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.

Dan Harris 11 years, 6 months ago

Alph- Thanks for the link , I had forgot about that!

KGphoto 11 years, 6 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 11 years, 6 months ago

no, but dr tom was mentioned by sheahon yesterday. . .oh vey!

rwhawk 11 years, 6 months ago

Maybe he couldn't remember his boss' name and was hoping somebody had it printed on the back of their sport coat. I'm just sayin'!

Jeff Coffman 11 years, 6 months ago

I was thinking the same thing. Coach Gill is staring out looking like he is lost, like he does in every other picture.

Plus anyone think it is weird that there has been multiple conversations with Zenger and Self, but it seems like this is the first time that Zenger and Gill have even talked?

Thomas Michaud 11 years, 6 months ago

-1 (for most of the post in this thread)

The new AD said that Self is “the face of KU’s athletic department” ... So, you talk with someone who has the most impact first. Zenger has probably spoken to a LOT of people in the short time he's been hired and it's not necessary to list every name and the amount of times spoken ... Didn't say how often he's spoken to Grey-Little, Lester, or Danny Manning. Whoop-de-freekin-do!

As for HGTG, looks like Coach is simply listening to a question that is being asked - as there's a camera light shining squarely in his face.

tis4tim 11 years, 6 months ago

He's looking over his shoulder to see if any new coaching candidates might be creeping up behind him.

notigers4me 11 years, 6 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.

Joe Baker 11 years, 6 months ago

Agree- This is one of those dumb pics and he didn't even realize his head was in the way or trying to turn and get out of the way!! He will take care of business.

Tim Quest 11 years, 6 months ago

Many of the Gill cracks really reek of latent racism. "Not articulate." "Not intelligent." "In over his head." And so on.

The racists are too cowardly to just come out and say it, so they hide it in all the weasel words.

Dan Harris 11 years, 6 months ago

I personally like Gill and if given the chance think he will do a good and maybe even a great job. That being said I get worn out by those who throw out the race card when they can't think of anything else to come up with!

100 11 years, 6 months ago

It's quite apparent any fan who is on here complaining about Gill is not a KU fan at all. As this gentleman pointed out, literally Gill has pulled in the best recruiting class in the history of Kansas football.


And to top it off more than likely there is at least one more four star coming (Pierson).

Best recruiting class ever. And getting better by the day.

Ludwig Supraphonic 11 years, 6 months ago

Gill doesn't teach English. If you are a KU alum, you may have a legitimate complaint with KU for neglecting your communication skills.

Tom Wilson 11 years, 6 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.

slowplay 11 years, 6 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.

texashawk10 11 years, 6 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.

jayhawk1996 11 years, 6 months ago

You're half right. Self and Zenger did visit on the telephone when Jank was hired, but they hadn't met in person before Monday.

jaybate 11 years, 6 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.

slowplay 11 years, 6 months ago

I give you credit. For as many times as you get slapped down you just keeping on plugging away, spewing forth garbage from what seems a very disturbed mind.

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