Wednesday, July 11, 2018

KU coach Bill Self on new AD: ‘Our place got better today’

Kansas head basketball coach smiles next to assistant athletic director Sean Lester as new University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long speaks to those gathered for his introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion.

Kansas head basketball coach smiles next to assistant athletic director Sean Lester as new University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long speaks to those gathered for his introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion.


The historic account of his time at the University of Kansas forever will show that Jeff Long’s first comments as the KU athletic director were about basketball.

But it was not praise for Kansas coach Bill Self, the 14 consecutive Big 12 titles or Long’s future plans or promises for the program that crossed his lips. Instead, the 58-year-old Long on Wednesday made it clear to Self that, while he hopes to bring a lot to the KU athletic department, athletic prowess is not on the list.

“I don't think Coach Self is going to like my vertical jump,” joked Long, referencing a comment made moments earlier by search committee leader Drue Jennings, who said Long checked all the boxes the committee was looking for including “the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” “Coach, I don't think I can help you there.”

On a day when Long made a point of singling out KU’s football problem and discussed football three times as much as he referenced Kansas basketball, there was still time for Long to fit in a comment or two about Self’s program.

“I saw firsthand why Bill Self is such a great recruiter because, I'll be candid, he recruited me here, and I'm proud of that and that meant a lot to me,” Long explained.

Self later sheepishly called that claim “an exaggeration,” saying, “the place recruited him.”

But it was clear during the 20 minutes that Self met with reporters following Long’s introduction that Self was impressed with his new boss’s resume, personality and professionalism almost immediately.

“I had a chance to talk to Jeff a few times throughout the process,” Self said Wednesday. “I think our first conversation was 44 minutes or something like that. He had questions and I had a chance to share with him some things, but you could tell right from the get-go that he was very interested in the position. You could also tell that he was very measured and handled it in a mature, experienced way, which I thought was also very important.”

Throughout Long’s introduction and the question-and-answer session that followed, the former Arkansas AD, who will take over the same role at KU on Aug. 1, expressed his overall philosophy about college athletics and how it relates to student-athletes, coaches, academics and more.

Self said all of that came through crystal clear during his conversations with Long, whom Self said seemed like “a coach’s AD.”

“From my standpoint, the biggest thing would be toughness and loyalty,” said Self when asked what he hoped to learn from his phone conversations with Long during the search. “I really believe that an athletic director, from a coach’s perspective, is (supposed) to do what he just shared — to give you the ability to fight through whatever obstacles you have to be successful. And then, also, to have somebody that believed in you and was loyal to what you were trying to do.”

Whether or how Long fills that role — and many others — during his time at Kansas remains to be seen. But Self was outwardly optimistic that Long’s experience, reputation and approach to the taking on of the challenge would benefit Kansas Athletics during the years ahead.

“The one thing I have found out in my time here was how good this place can be,” said Self, who is entering his 16th season in charge of the KU men’s basketball program. “I thought it was a good place before I got here, and it’s five times better now. And it’s going to be a lot better moving forward. Because of past peoples’ efforts, there are some things in place — facilities, housing, food — that we didn’t have 15 years ago. It doesn’t make (the AD) job easier, but it can (put) the focus on things that bring more success and can carry a department.

“I think this is a great place. And I think our place got better today. I think Jeff will make our place better, and I think people should be very excited about that.”

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


Suzi Marshall 4 years ago

I don't see how 'our place got better today' when our place hits the National Media for flying a defaced flag. To many alums, this is a day of disgrace which certainly will lead to less support for the university throughout the state and country.

[''] 4 years ago

True. Idiot move by the Spencer Museum. And they don't get a pat on the back for taking it down. Cuz it shouldn't have been raised in the first place.

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

Thank you for providing the extra info that was lacking in the Examiner.

Regardless of agreement or disagreement, it is a shame when respect for the foundation of the country are smeared.

Jay Scott 4 years ago

Many of us have long since separated much of the school from the teams. It's sad. Universities are in for radical change.....

Brett McCabe 4 years ago

So pathetic and predictable Suzi. Not the time. Not the place. Discretion? Not a strong point. Discipline? Absent. Tone Deafness? 110%. There is a full story on LJWorld you can go to and post. But that would be unselfish. Also not a quality you have.

Titus Canby 4 years ago

I agree that we should stick with KU sports here, but this issue is still about the school most of us love. Unfortunately, this disgrace in the name of art puts more of a black eye on our university than our historically bad football team ever has.

Anyone remember Rick Monday? He was cheered as a hero then. I wonder what the response would be now.

Tom Jones 4 years ago

Please leave the political crap off the sports board. There are lots of appropriate places to express these views.

Thanks in advance.

Brett McCabe 4 years ago

Now....back to the actual story in Athletics today. Self's comment: "we got better today" says it all. In Dru and Bill I trust. So excited to have this guy on board. We finally have someone in place who can truly evaluate a football program and many fans like me, season-ticket holders for the past five years, are willing to jump on board to support Long, his timeline and his decision-making.

Rock Chalk A.D. Long!

Dirk Medema 4 years ago

True about trusting Dru and Bill, but the unfortunate fact is Long is spinning 180 if he picks a winning football coach.

Robert Brock 4 years ago

Some of “you people” need to visit with a psychologist. Starting with Suzi...

Michael Maris 4 years ago

It's amazing how people can post their opinions on how they feel about situations (be it athletically or politically) and be harassed by individuals with different opinions. Yet, they comsider themselves the citizens of "compassion and understanding". Beaty's tenure may well becoming to an end. But, the hater's keep on hating. But Lord, if someeone dare attack their so called compassionate understanding views, the claws come out in a quick hurry. So, where's the compassion and understanding for a so called "Lame Duck" Coach who has a family living in the community? Think how much his family has to endure by the "Hater's". Suzi, you have as much right to post your opinion on this public forum, just as much as Brett has a right to post his opinion on this public forum.

Tom Jones 4 years ago

Nobody comes here to read politics, Michael. Sports. Crap like this makes the people who can and like to come here to discuss sports intelligently look for other places to do so.

There's comment sections under all these flag articles. Just share your views there, or on social media if you want. Not here.

Bryce Landon 4 years ago

I don't trust Jeff Long to fix the football program, but based on this article, I can trust him to get along with Bill Self and let the basketball program run itself.

Mitchell Becker 4 years ago

What a disgrace! Doesn't Kansas University receive tax payer money/federal funds? Trump should cut them off and let KU explain to the students, why they can no longer give grants!

The first time KU basketball disrespects the U.S.A., will be the last time I watch a game, for that's the only way I support KU, currently! It's ironic that Kansas University does this disgusting thing, for the majority of Kansans DO NOT feel that way!

Tim Orel 4 years ago

Nice to see you respect the First Amendment, Mitchell. To refresh your memory, it's Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Your advocation for Trump to withhold monies appropriated by Congress (or by having Congress differentially withhold monies from KU to punish KU for their exercise of free speech) is, by this text and the Supreme Court decisions over the centuries, exactly what the First Amendment is designed to prohibit. You and I may wish the artists had created art with a different message, but it's not legal for the government to punish KU for using art to speak out in a manner that you might disagree with.

Thomas Green 4 years ago

Tim Orel, thank you sir! I wish more people had a basic understanding of how and why our Constitution was designed in the manner it was!

As for this article, I am certainly happy Self and Long seem to have a mutual respect and appreciation of each other. Obviously, that is an important aspect for KU athletics and in particular men’s basketball!

I certainly don’t have any personal animosity toward Beaty, however I was convinced some time ago a change needed to be made. This hire makes me excited, and anxious for that change to take place. I trust it will take place at the appropriate time, so I’ll just have to learn to be patient.

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