KU picks former Razorbacks AD to lead Jayhawks program

By  | 

LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) -- The University of Kansas is turning to a former Arkansas Razorbacks athletics director to take over the Jayhawks program.

On Thursday, KU announced Jeff Long will take over as its director of athletics, starting next month. Long will be officially introduced to fans next Wednesday.

“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,” Chancellor Doug Girod said.

An Ohio-native, Long led the Razorbacks program for ten years before being ousted in 2017. Prior to that he served as athletics director at the University of Pittsburgh.

He was tapped following a seven-week search led by Girod and KU alumnus Drue Jennings.

““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," Long said. "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.”

He will make $1.5 million total in his new role, KU said. Of that, $1.3 million will come from private Kansas Athletics, Inc., funds, while the other $200,000 will come from the university.

That salary tops the base pay earned by Texas Tech' Kirby Hocutt, the highest paid athletics director at any public university in the conference, according to numbers from 2017-18 salary info via Spencer Fane/USA Today It also more than doubles the $700,000 former Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger was set to earn this year and next; he is still owed $1.4 million on that deal.

"We are thrilled to have someone of Jeff’s caliber joining the University of Kansas,” Jennings said. “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."

According to KU, while in Fayetteville, Arkansas 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 and 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.