Kansas hires ex-Arkansas AD Long as new AD

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The University of Kansas hired former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long as the school’s new AD on Thursday.

Long signed a five-year contract worth $1.5 million annually, with Kansas Athletics Inc. paying $1.3 million of the total and the university paying the remaining $200,000.

He has terms written into his contract to protect him if Kansas ever receives restrictions or probation for violations committed by the football, men’s and women’s basketball or women’s athletic teams before the start of his contract. If the school were to receive any such discipline, Long’s contract would be extended to match the length of any penalties.

Long, who also had served as the chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee, will be formally introduced at a news conference on July 11.

His hiring was praised by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served with Long on the CFP selection committee; Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who called Long an “excellent addition” to the conference; and Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt, among others.

Long, 58, replaces Sheahon Zenger, who was fired in May after joining the school as AD in 2011. The school cited a lack of progress in key areas for his dismissal.

The men’s basketball program, under Hall of Fame coach Bill Self, remained successful, but Zenger accomplished little else in the areas that matter most. That includes much-needed renovations to Memorial Stadium, the aging eyesore on the north edge of campus, and an even more crucial restoration of its accompanying football program, which has won three games over the past three years.

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 AD at Arkansas from 2008 until last year when the school fired him after the Razorbacks’ football program began to struggle. The school’s chancellor said Long had “lost the support of many of our fans, alumni, key supporters, and members of the university leadership.”

During his time as the Razorbacks’ AD, the school won 34 conference championships across all sports and made its first BCS bowl appearance. He spearheaded a $160 million renovation to the Razorbacks’ football stadium, a task similar to the one he will undertake at Kansas.

Zenger had announced plans for a $350 million renovation to Memorial Stadium, but support has been tepid.

Long was the inaugural chairman of the CFP selection committee in 2014 and ’15 and remained on the committee through last year.

He also was an AD at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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