Thursday, July 5, 2018

Jeff Long hired as KU’s new athletic director

New AD agrees to 5-year contract, worth $1.5 million per year

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2014, file photo, former University of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long speaks during a news conference in Little Rock, Ark. Long was named the new athletic director at the University of Kansas, on July 5, 2018.  (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2014, file photo, former University of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long speaks during a news conference in Little Rock, Ark. Long was named the new athletic director at the University of Kansas, on July 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)


The search for the next athletic director at the University of Kansas is over.

KU chancellor Douglas A. Girod officially named former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long to the position on Thursday afternoon, a day after Long signed a five-year contract.

Long brings more than two decades of experience in athletic administration at the Division I level, most recently at Arkansas, where he led a program comprising 19 sports and 460 student-athletes from 2008 through 2017, before the university fired him this past November.

Long will be officially introduced at a news conference on Wednesday, in Lawrence at a time and location to be determined. He will start his role Aug. 1.

“Jeff Long has tremendous leadership and administrative experience in major college athletics, and he is a terrific fit for Kansas Athletics as we work to ensure our student-athletes succeed on the field and in the classroom,” Girod said in a KU release. “Those who know him describe him as a man of character who cares deeply about higher education and the student-athletes he serves. For all these reasons, we are thrilled to welcome him to the University of Kansas.”

Long’s contract with Kansas Athletics will pay him $1.5 million per year for five years. Of that amount, $1.3 million is paid by private funds from Kansas Athletics Inc., with the remaining $200,000 paid by the university.

According to a recently published list of salaries for Big 12 athletic directors, from Spencer Fane LLP, Long’s contract would pay him more than Texas Tech’s Kirby Hocutt, who made $1.45 million for the 2017-18 academic year — highest in the conference among public institutions this past year (salaries for TCU and Baylor were not available). Long’s deal currently ranks second in annual salary among athletic directors at public Big 12 institutions, behind the $1.55 million-per-year extension to which Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione agreed this past May.

“My family and I are thrilled to join Chancellor Girod’s leadership team at the University of Kansas,” Long stated in the release. “It was clear from the moment I met with the chancellor and his search committee members, they have a deep love for the university and understand and appreciate the positive role intercollegiate athletics plays in the university community. Through our conversations, it became evident we share a common belief that the student-athlete experience prepares young people for the challenges they will face throughout life. I am excited to work with the student-athletes, coaches, staff, the community of Lawrence and the incredible fan base to build on past success and create a shared vision for the future of Kansas Athletics.”

Long’s contract states: “Should the university be placed under any federal, state, NCAA, or conference investigation leading to restrictions or probation for its football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball or women’s volleyball athletic programs for matters occurring prior to (Aug. 1, Long’s start date), the term of the contract shall be extended equal to the length of the penalties.”

Should Long opt to terminate the contract before it expires, terms state the buy-out obligations as: $3 million before the start of year 3; $1.5 million after the start of year 3, but before the start of year 4; $1 million after the start of year 4, but before the start of year 5.

If KU were to terminate the contract without just cause, Long would receive payment of unpaid salary and vacation pay to the date of termination, as well as release payments, payable on a monthly basis, equivalent, in sum total, to the remaining base salary guaranteed on the contract.

The contract also states if Long is terminated for any other reason — including death, disability or just cause — he would receive payment of unpaid salary and vacation pay to the date of termination and no other compensation or severance other than minimum payments (if any) required under applicable employment standards legislation.

During Long’s tenure at Arkansas, Razorbacks teams captured 34 conference championships and advanced to 139 postseason competitions, including the school’s first Bowl Championship Series appearance in football and national titles at the 2013 NCAA Men’s Indoor and 2015 NCAA Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships, as well as the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

In 2016-17, Arkansas finished No. 20 in the Learfield Directors' Cup, which measures universities’ success across all sports, marking the university’s eighth top-25 finish in the previous 10 years. Long also launched a $160 million renovation to Razorback Stadium. In the classroom, the Razorbacks posted a school record student-athlete GPA and exceeded the national APR multiyear rate in all 19 sports, including posting its highest program average ever.

Prior to leading Arkansas, Long served as athletics director at Pittsburgh. Additionally, he held administrative roles at Oklahoma, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Eastern Kentucky and Rice. He held coaching staff positions at Duke, Michigan and North Carolina State. In total, he has been an athletic director and administrator in five of the six Bowl Championship Series conferences — the Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, ACC and SEC.

Additionally, Long served as the chairman of the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee for 2014 and 2015 and remained a member of the committee through 2017.

Long comes to KU after a seven-week search process headed by Girod and KU alumnus Drue Jennings, who served as KU’s interim director of athletics in 2003.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Jeff’s caliber joining the University of Kansas,” Jennings stated. “Jeff has a record of integrity, experience in hiring coaches, ties with other Bowl Championship Series schools, effective fundraising and a willingness to lead on national issues affecting college athletics. We can be proud that he’s joining us at KU, and we can be confident that Kansas Athletics is in good hands under his leadership.”

KU basketball coach Bill Self in a statement described Long as “among the best and most respected” athletic directors around.

“He has great experience, a great pedigree, and he knows what it takes to succeed at the highest levels,” Self said. “While I’m just getting to know Jeff, I’m impressed that he’s universally described as a high-character guy who will provide strong support for every sport across the entire athletics program. From my perspective, he’s exactly the type of leader we need. Our fans can be excited about the future of Kansas Athletics.”

Fourth-year KU football coach David Beaty tweeted out his comments on Long’s hire Thursday afternoon.

“I am excited to have Jeff Long joining the Jayhawk family,” Beaty wrote. “I have heard many wonderful things about his leadership style and I look forward to working with him.”

An Ohio native, Long and his wife, Fanny, have two daughters, Stephanie and Christina.

— Check back in for more on Long’s hiring throughout the day.

None by Jeff Long


John Fitzgerald 4 years, 5 months ago

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

Sae Thirtysix 4 years, 5 months ago

classic, whatever it was, classic. first comment on the board - zapped.

personally, I trust Drue Jennings. Mr. Long, welcome to RCJ!!

Craig Carson 4 years, 5 months ago

still better than the 1st dibs we've been getting LOL

Kevin Boone 4 years, 5 months ago

Awesome! As soon as KU had an opening I was hoping for Long. But didn't think he would be interested. Outstanding hire!!

Paul Rupp 4 years, 5 months ago

In Drue Jennings I trust. Rock Chalk Jeff Long!

Doug Roberts 4 years, 5 months ago

Great, hire a guy who couldn't handle a football program. Am I missing something?!

Craig Carson 4 years, 5 months ago

he actually did good at ARK...his first hire Petrino had ARK a top 15 team..not Longs fault Petrino couldnt keep it in his pants..if that never happens, ARK is still a top 15 team

Andy Hess 4 years, 5 months ago

He was the committee chairman for the College Football Playoff. I'd say he's more football qualified than any other chump being considered for the job.

Todd Mobray 4 years, 5 months ago

I want to be the first to welcome Bret Bielema as our future football coach.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 5 months ago

He'd be better than the last three coaches we've had.....combined.

Not sure if his ego has been knocked down a peg, and I kind of doubt if he'll be the guy, but Long would know better than anyone if Bielema's makeup is the right one for this situation.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

Jeff Long was let go at Arkansas for losing the boosters faith as well as other administrators within the athletic department. His two football hires at Arkansas each disasters for their own reasons. Bobby Petrino was a disaster off the field and Bret Bielema was a disaster on the field for Arkansas. Basically Jeff Long has been less than stellar in the past decade at the two biggest needs KU has right now, support from the donors to fundraise a new stadium essentially and hiring football coaches.

Doug Longstaff 4 years, 5 months ago

To be fair, hiring Petrino and Bielema were both considered excellent moves at the time. Let the one amongst us who predicted Petrino would enter a love triangle with a volleyball player and a swim coach cast the first stone.

Doug Stahler 4 years, 5 months ago

Like its a bad thing? -- "Petrino and Dorrell claimed to have ended the intimate part of their relationship once it became clear she wanted to apply for a job under Petrino"

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

Paying Dorrell $20,000 and not disclosing the relationship when she was hired and putting Arkansas in a position to be sued for millions is a bad thing and why Petrino was fired. Petrino and Louisville are perfect for each other.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

Petrino quit the Atlanta Falcons before their season ended to take the Arkansas job and didn't have the balls to tell the team in person. That right there should've been a huge red flag about his character.

I did think the Bielema hire was a bad one at the time for the same reason the Charlie Strong hire was a bad hire for Texas, Bielema didn't fit the culture at Arkansas and never had the full support of the fan base or donors.

Joe Ross 4 years, 5 months ago

Bobby Petrino went 34-17 at Arkansas (.666), with 3 bowl appearances and 2 bowl wins in 4 seasons. That's over 2.5X the wins in HALF as many seasons compared to Kansas in the post-Mangino era, an undefined number of times more bowl appearances, and an undefined number of times more bowl wins. As stated elsewhere, to pin someone else's personal misconduct on the AD who hired him, and to then imply that any sort of disaster scenario should be charged to his bill simply doesn't comport with fairness. If boosters lost faith in Long because of inability in clairvoyance, that's on them.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

You hire someone and they fail to give their previous employer adequate notice about the new job isn't a character red flag to you? That's what Petrino did when Long hired him at Arkansas. He quit the Falcons before the season was over and didn't bother telling any of the players in person he was quitting mid season. That's a huge red flag to me and Petrino did get blasted by the media at the time for the way he left the Falcons. There were definitely warning signs with Petrino and Jeff Long chose to ignore.

Dane Pratt 4 years, 5 months ago

You’re right about the red flag, it couldn’t be more obvious. I don’t know if Long addressed it during the interview and was satisfied with Petrino’s character or ignored it entirely. I routinely read comments here about re-hiring Mangino who also has some obvious red flags. Have even read a few comments about considering Art Briles. Everybody’s got baggage. Let's hope our new AD has learned from him mistake.

Joe Ross 4 years, 5 months ago

RE: "You hire someone and they fail to give their previous employer adequate notice about the new job isn't a character red flag to you?"


At least not the kind of "character issue" that would lead anyone to think he'd have an affair. I don't get the math on how you think that adds up. Maybe I'm missing something.

Matt Gauntt 4 years, 5 months ago

Joe Ross - always appreciate your level headed responses and your takes.


Joe Ross 4 years, 5 months ago

I have an idea, Aaron. Let's hire a totally clean cut guy. You know, some one like...Turner Gill?

Chris DeWeese 4 years, 5 months ago

KU fires its AD because he failed at football. KU hires a new AD who was fired by his previous employer because he failed at football. I understand there's more to athletics than just football, but come on. Now I'm just hoping he hires Jason Candle as the next football coach.

Craig Carson 4 years, 5 months ago

Long didnt really fail at FB..his 1st hire Petrino had Arkansas a top 15 team and a contender in a tough SEC..had he kept his penis in his pants and been faithful to his wife he'd still be at ARK winning 8+ games a this point, Long has more credibility than KU's last AD when it comes to FB

Chris DeWeese 4 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for some perspective. I'm just overly sensitive about this situation and prone to knee jerk reactions. I don't doubt that Long has the experience and credentials to know what he's doing in this role, but when I hear he was let go for basically the same reasons as Zenger I get a little PTSD.

Joe Ross 4 years, 5 months ago


"Failed at football" at Kansas in the post-Mangino era vs. "failed at football" anywhere else (e.g., "at Arkansas") are NOT SYNONYMOUS. One shows sustained, historical and record-setting ineptitude.

John Strayer 4 years, 5 months ago

Exactly...I would take Arkansas football program over Long's tenure in a heartbeat. Failure at Arkansas is a much higher bar than failure at Kansas.

John Joseph Gorski 4 years, 5 months ago

It reminds me of the Nebraska scenario when the coach that took over for Osborne won like 10 games or so and was fired because they didn't with the conference title. That's what I think about when a SEC coach get fired.

Kevin Robert Fest 4 years, 5 months ago

On November 15, 2017, the University of Arkansas announced that it had parted ways with Long effective immediately, with the school's chancellor saying Long had "lost the support of many of our fans, alumni, key supporters, and members of the university leadership."

Great hire l guess 😕if it happened at one place could happen at another. Stupid is as stupid does.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 4 years, 5 months ago

He certainly seems like a guy that has a lot of valuable experience, but I agree with many of the other comments - the reasons stated by Arkansas why they let go of Long sound exactly like what KU stated when they let Sheahon Zenger go.

Craig Carson 4 years, 5 months ago

Zenger lost support because KU FB showed no progress...if they did then the Alumni would have had no issue in supporting her...Pertino's infidelity that led to his firing was a setback for Long at ARK..before that they were a top 15 team

Kevin Boone 4 years, 5 months ago

I live in a huge Arkansas-fandom area. And the fan base, along with the school itself, has an unreal expectation of what the school should be. They believe they are right up there with Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, etc. When Long took the job at Hog-U, he turned everything around and was very successful. People were praising him as the best AD in the nation around here. Then the football team doesn't win 8+ games per year in the SEC....SEC!!...they thought he was not doing his job. A ton of alum are PO'd they let him go, and are saying KU got a major upgrade and we should be very excited in where Long will take our Athletics program. I for one am very excited!!

Waylon Cook 4 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for actually using your brain in your post.

Chris DeWeese 4 years, 5 months ago

I too appreciate the perspective. I need something to feel good about when it comes to football. Here's to hoping Long can help turn it around.

Marcia Parsons 4 years, 5 months ago

If I remember correctly, it was the Arkansas fans who thought they would be able to steal Self away from us several years ago when they got rid of their basketball coach. I think Kevin must be right about their "unreal expectation."

Kyle Sybesma 4 years, 5 months ago

Check the records of Petrino & Bielema when Long made the hires. These were great hires. You have the privilage of hindsight.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 5 months ago

I think this is a strong hire. The coaching candidate pool just opened up massively because we hired a legitimate guy with tremendous credentials and contacts. Coaches who might not have looked at us will now do so, and I'm confident Long will find a solid leader for the football program.

This is the first football-oriented AD KU has had in a generation. Finally, something to get excited about in regards to Kansas football.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

Hindsight says there's something wrong with Jeff Long's ability to find the right fit for the school he's at because he had 2 coaches who didn't work out at Arkansas.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 5 months ago

Actually, Long had THREE coaches who didn't work out - Bobby Petrino (because of his lack of moral compass), John L. Smith, and Bret Bielema. And yet KU fans are supposed to trust this joker to turn around the football program?

Count me out. I'll be wearing the black and gold of Iowa during football season from now on.

John Myers 4 years, 5 months ago

Is that a promise and will you stop coming around and posting your garbage here, too? We can only hope.

Dane Pratt 4 years, 5 months ago

What's the over/under on the number of times Bryce is going to announce he is no longer a KU fan and will switch his allegiance to Iowa?

Joe Ross 4 years, 5 months ago

Better set that at a high number, like maybe a HUNDRED???

Randy Bombardier 4 years, 5 months ago

Great hire. Of the names I'd seen his was the one i was most excited about. Very happy.

Dale Rogers 4 years, 5 months ago

There are posters on this site who won't be happy no matter who is hired. They can't help but find fault no matter the decision. To those doubters, may I suggest you read the second half of this article to see what others around the country and Big12 think of this hire.

Mike Greer 4 years, 5 months ago

To put things into perspective, the University of Kansas picks up the former AD at Arkansas, and our former AD goes to what other Power Five Div. One team?

Kyle Sybesma 4 years, 5 months ago

First of all Long was fired in November 2017. Zenger fired in late May 2018. Second, how many openings have their been since Zenger's release? Third. Wanstedt, Petrino, Bielema vs Weis & Beaty. No comparison.

Your comment adds no perspective.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 5 months ago

Suddenly, Craig Bohl is realistic. Les Miles is in play. Bo Pellini is in play. Jim Leavitt is in play. Dave Doeren is in play. Willie Fritz is in play. Certainly Bielema is in play.

[''] 4 years, 5 months ago

Pellini??? Duuude..don't need that nutjob here. Doeren or bust!

Brett McCabe 4 years, 5 months ago

Keegan brought up Brady Hoke on the radio today. Actually an intriguing candidate.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

How is Brady Hoke intriguing at this point. He got progressively worse in each of his 4 years at Michigan, was out of coaching for a year, went Oregon as DC in 2016 when Oregon went 4-8 and was statistically worse than KU's defense that year.

How is a guy that was worse at Oregon with all that talent than a Clint Bowen coached defense? That doesn't even factor in the 5th worst run defense in the nation Hoke achieved at Tennessee last year as their DLine coach in a year the Vols went 0-8 in SEC play.

There is absolutely nothing about Brady Hoke that is appealing at this point. At least Charlie Weis could claim he made Matt Castle a pro bowl QB between his head coaching jobs. The best Brady Hoke can do right now is that he makes Clint Bowen look competent by comparison.

If Brady Hoke ends up being the best Jeff Long can do, then Long won't make it to the end of his first contract.

Thomas Green 4 years, 5 months ago

This seems like a really good hire! Experienced football guy-for real this time-with many connections and well respected! Apparently is quite good at facilities as well! I’m excited about all that this means for KU!

Dirk Medema 4 years, 5 months ago

Besides the failed football hires, isn't the other dejavu him instantly being among the highest paid in the conference?

Will they talk about us going to F4s when they introduce Dr Z at his next position - after his son graduates?

I want to trust Dru and company completely but not blindly.

Brett McCabe 4 years, 5 months ago

Failed football hires? Petrino had a .666 winning percentage. Bielema wasn't great, but was far better than any of our past three coaches, while competing in the toughest football division in the country.

I'd say one really good hire and one so-so. Right now, I'd kill for so-so at KU.

Aaron Paisley 4 years, 5 months ago

Petrino was fired for disgracing himself and Arkansa and opening Arkansas to a potential lawsuit had they not fired him. No winning percentage is worth that kind of negative publicity.

Jeff Long's two football hires show there were some missed red flags in the hiring process somewhere.

Joe Ross 4 years, 5 months ago

We tried the experiment with the Boy Scout football coach. His name was Turner Gill.

If you are saying that we should continue to hold it against Long that he had a coach who had an inappropriate relationship (which, by the way no one can predict based on a single job-leaving circumstance,...RIGHT?), then it's equally fair to say that Kansas' experience with hiring upstanding people didn't work out well for us and we shouldn't do that EITHER (...which ALSO makes no sense).

Dane Pratt 4 years, 5 months ago

I would not call them failed. I would take Wannstedt, Bielema or Petrino (sans the extracurricular activities) over Gill, Weis or Beaty in a heartbeat.

Dane Pratt 4 years, 5 months ago

I had no opinion on Jeff Long until I looked up the records of the three head football coaches he hired. IMO, we got an AD we should be excited about.

Suzi Marshall 4 years, 5 months ago

$1.5 MM pa..... people in the education field are clueless when it comes to financial realities.

Bryce Landon 4 years, 5 months ago


Titus Canby 4 years, 5 months ago

Before I heard this news, I just happened to be on campus this morning. Every time I'm there, I go to the Fieldhouse and to Memorial Stadium. Folks, we have two awesome places to watch basketball and football. While I was admiring both sites (and our entire campus), I was thinking, "whoever takes the AD job is the luckiest person in the world." Yeah, it's a hard job and a huge football turnaround, but at an incredible place. Mr. Long, I wish you tons of success in your new job.

Jay Scott 4 years, 5 months ago

When Joe Ross is a beacon of sanity you know that the Chicken Littles are unhinged....

Barry Weiss 4 years, 5 months ago

I am hopeful the language in the contract that extends his contract beyond any penalties that may come to us via our basketball or football programs is boilerplate and not something he or his attorney's think could hit KU.

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