Wednesday, August 21, 2019

KU AD Jeff Long expects hiring process for Hudy replacement to move quickly

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches as the players rapidly shuffle across the court during Boot Camp in the practice gym on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 just after 6 a.m.

Kansas head coach Bill Self watches as the players rapidly shuffle across the court during Boot Camp in the practice gym on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 just after 6 a.m.


The process to replace two longtime Kansas Athletics sports performance employees is underway and KU Athletic Director Jeff Long hopes to have at least one hire made in the next two weeks.

Former Kansas basketball strength coach Andrea Hudy and former KU football trainer Murphy Grant, who served recently as KU’s Associate Athletic Director for sports medicine, both started new jobs this week at Texas and Wake Forest, respectively.

Their departures left the Kansas athletic department with vacancies in key positions and also opened the door for the first significant hirings under the new Kansas Team Health model.

First launched in May, the Kansas Team Health partnership between KU, LMH Health and The University of Kansas Health System employees roughly 40 former members of the KU athletic department in the area of sports performance who now report to medical professionals.

Hiring within the new model introduces a few new steps, but Long said the process of finding candidates has not changed.

“Coach Self is identifying prospects, Kansas Athletics is identifying prospects and then we’ll do as we always do, vet candidates, and then we’ll have a recommendation,” Long told the Journal-World on Wednesday. “We’ll recommend that they hire this person and they’ll hire this person.”

Long classified the communication between KU and Kansas Team Health as a “collaborative conversation” and said KTH would play a supporting role in the hirings, checking resumes and backgrounds of potential candidates as names surface.

Asked if he thought he could have done more to retain Hudy, Long said, “It wasn’t that kind of a situation. She was letting us know she was accepting the position (at Texas).”

Long said KU basketball coach Bill Self has taken the lead role in the search to replace Hudy.

“We are getting lots of people interested in the position,” he said. “They’re calling me, they’re calling Coach Self, they’re calling the other strength and conditioning coaches on our staff. So, as you would expect, there is lots of interest in this position already, and that’s from college, that’s from NBA, that’s from many different areas. This is a coveted job. To work with Bill Self and to work with one of the top one, two, three basketball programs in the country; it’s a prime job.”

While Long, Self and others are fielding calls from interested parties, Kansas Team Health is fulfilling its role simultaneously, checking credentials, training history and references to expedite the process.

“It’s happening as we build the pool,” Long said of the vetting done by Kansas Team Health. “It is really a fluid process.”

Long also said current KU strength and conditioning staff members would play a role in finding a replacement for Hudy when candidates were brought in for on-campus interviews.

“Because it’s the University of Kansas and Kansas Athletics, we’ll have a quality pool of people that want to be part of this,” Long said. “It is the model of the future and people are going to want to know, ‘How does Kansas do it?’”

Given the relatively new nature of the Kansas Team Health model, it’s possible that the uncertainty about its structure could prove to be an obstacle in KU’s search.

“It absolutely could,” Long said. “You fear the unknown, right? But I think those that are really students of their profession, they won’t have those questions. I think they see this coming and, for many, I think it’ll be, ‘Hey, this is a great opportunity to get in this new model.’”

Employees of Kansas Team Health are paid by Kansas Team Health, which functions as a third-party organization that provides a service to KU for a fee.

Long said contracts within the model are rare but do exist and were addressed on a case by case basis.

“Obviously, we want to move quickly, just because we’re beginning the academic year, so it won’t be a long, drawn out process,” Long said before offering a reaction to the recent departures which came roughly three weeks apart.

“Things change,” he said. “People get opportunities and in the big picture, in this profession, you expect people to move. I wish we still had Coach Hudy, I wish we had Murphy because they’re valuable team members. Nobody should paint this as a picture of us not wanting either of them here.”

When reached this week by the Journal-World, Hudy, who started her new job with the Longhorns on Monday, referred back to her initial statement about her departure.

“I have had the most amazing experience during my time as a Jayhawk,” she said in a statement last week. “And (I) will always be grateful for the people I had the opportunity to work alongside.”


Brett McCabe 3 years, 1 month ago

Good idea, bad idea. It doesn’t matter. This isn’t football, we aren’t trying to bulk the team up. No amount of work really changes the vertical leap, or the lateral quickness or the overall speed. Those are genetically provided. Kind of like Dok’s perpetual state of being out of shape - funny how the Hudyphytes don’t mention that too much.

Just another day in the overly dramatic basketball program’s refusal to run cleanly and efficiently.

Glen Miller 3 years, 1 month ago

You can't be that brain dead, but judging by many of your comments in the past........

Len Shaffer 3 years, 1 month ago

Glen, that's an insult to people who are brain dead ...

Steve Zimmerman 3 years, 1 month ago

No amount of work really changes the vertical leap, or the lateral quickness or the overall speed. Those are genetically provided. True, only after all training efforts have been exhausted. We need strength & conditioning coach like Hudy, but at the same time, we need coach that can exploit kids' fast-twitch muscle (thanks Shannon for educating me). Coach who can work with the kids early on (freshmen) to shape our team as bouncy team. Coach who can make our kids tapping on the floor the whole game. Big guys like Dok, have tendency to have sticky feet. But with proper training, diet, he can improve his vertical leap.

Eric TheCapn 3 years, 1 month ago

Some 6'0" dudes can dunk; some can't even get close. That's mostly NOT about genetics but rather work: i.e. strength and conditioning. Speed is also mostly the result of work. You could be born to two Olympic but weigh 300 pounds and/or never run... you won't be fast. And we DO need to bulk up the team every year. String-bean freshman get bigger and eventually go from getting bossed around to being the bosses in a physical game.

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 1 month ago

While the generalities are true, you're giving too much credit to the work side of the equation. For example, while the 300 lb child of Olympians will not be fast by world class standards, he will be much faster than the average 300lb man. This is a fast twitch/slow twitch genetic "gift" that no amount of training or "work" can overcome. If you're a slow twitch guy, you can be the hardest working person on the planet but you'll still only be as good as a fast twitch person who doesn't work all that hard at all. It's the same reason my couch potato 37 year old body still has a vertical that would put me in the 70th percentile of kids I played basketball with in high school (who were all training MUCH harder than I am now since I'm not training at all). It's also the reason Dedric Lawson after training as an elite athlete his entire life still doesn't have a vertical higher than me (and again, I'm 37 and a couch potato compared to him).

Training (aka "work") can take you from a crap to decent athlete, or from ok to good, but it will never take you from crap to elite unless you're obese at the starting point (which means you're only crap because of your weight, not your genetics).

Shannon Gustafson 3 years, 1 month ago

Trolls gonna troll.

Another large part of the job is to prevent injuries, particularly injuries like pulled/strained muscles, sprained ankles, and even to some extent ligament issues that can be minimized by proper training. Obviously there isn't much you can do for an injury like Dok's wrists.

Hudy can be replaced and it's possible we'll never see a difference. It's also possible we'll see a difference, or some of the players will have a hard time buying in to a new way of training. Regardless, it's a big loss and the hiring of her replacement is not a trivial matter. It's similar to when Roy left. We lost one of the best in the profession and we happened to nail it and hire another great one. It's just as easy (or actually easier) to replace a legend with a turd and next thing you know you're Indiana after Knight left or UCLA after Wooden left or UNC after Dean left (before they got Roy) or Kentucky after Pitino left (before they got Cal), etc.

Bill Pitcher 3 years, 1 month ago

Might want to think about Kansas Team Administration, i.e., outsourcing the AD administration to, I don't know, Apple.

Ray Winger 3 years, 1 month ago

Good Idea, more beurocracy, less accountability. less authority.

Dirk Medema 3 years, 1 month ago

There’s the ray of sunshine.

No one improves.

Now that’s gotta be funny.

Robert Brock 3 years, 1 month ago

The S&C coach is important. For example, the Morris dudes showed up in lousy shape - they couldn’t dunk - and improved their strength, flexibility, and ability to run exponentially. The state of Kansas may be screwing up things rather than helping. Wouldn’t be the first time.

Jeff Coffman 3 years, 1 month ago

Fixing Long's quote from: This is a coveted job. To work with Bill Self and to work with one of the top one, two, three basketball programs in the country; it’s a prime job

This is a coveted job. To work with Bill Self and to work with the top basketball program in the country; it's a prime job.

I'm sure there was just added filler on accident.

Brian Babcock 3 years, 1 month ago

Thank you Matt for explaining how this all works. Interesting.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 1 month ago

Would Reed be seriously considered for this job or would he be considered too inexperienced? Reed could be hired for KU Basketball and Football could hire a big time Athletic Trainer for both Football and to over see Reed, if the inexperience thing is a problem.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.