Long hired at Kansas, reduces UA buyout

Annette Crawford
July 9, 2018

Although Long steps into oversight of one of the most prestigious programs in college basketball, it's a job that also includes reviving a Jayhawks football program mired in almost a decade of misery.

When announcing the firing of Zenger, Long's predecessor, Girod noted that "progress in key areas has been elusive". And most importantly, he has a track record as a coach and administrator of fostering success in football. "Those who know him describe him as a man of character who cares deeply about higher education and the student-athletes he serves".

The Jayhawks haven't had a winning season in a decade, and the two coaches hired by Zenger - Charlie Weis and current coach David Beatty - are a combined 8-55 since 2012.

Long was the first chairman of the CFP selection committee in 2014 and 2015, and remained on the committee through a year ago. Beaty has had some small successes on the recruiting trail, but it has not translated into wins.

Kevin Trainor, a spokesperson for Arkansas' athletics department, said Long is being paid $83,333.33 per month by the university and had been paid $625,000 in severance as of June 30.

Long replaced a legend in Frank Broyles at Arkansas when he was hired there in 2008, but with the Razorback football program struggling to rise above mediocrity, Long was sacked last November, cutting short a contract that was supposed to run through January 2022. Girod told The Kansas City Star in May that Zenger was sacked because of a lack of success in football and fundraising.

From there, Long was widely praised for plucking Bret Bielema away from Wisconsin, where he won three Big Ten division titles. Long had voiced support for Bielema during the 2017 season and had extended Bielema's contract following a 2014 season in which Arkansas went 7-6 overall and 2-6 in SEC games.

Arkansas has failed to make a bowl game in three of the six seasons since Petrino was sacked, including 2017 when the team was 4-8 overall and 1-7 in SEC games. A week after Long was let go, the Arkansas brass fired Bielema, too. He served as the group's chairman in its first two years, appearing as the front-facing voice who would explain the committee's selection process on a week-to-week basis.

Long was the inaugural chairman of the CFP selection committee in 2014 and '15 and remained on the committee through a year ago. The CFP selection committee is made up of some of the most well-respected figures in collegiate athletics.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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