Monday, September 10, 2007
Updated: September 11, 7:52 PM ET
Arkansas hires Pitt's Long as next AD
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- When Jeff Long was born, Frank Broyles
had already been at Arkansas almost two years.
Needless to say, Long has a tough act to follow as the
Razorbacks' new athletic director.
"I will never try to replace Frank Broyles," Long said after
being introduced at a news conference Tuesday. "I'm honored to be
offered this position of leadership that he has held, and I am
humbled to have the opportunity to do so."
Long, Pittsburgh's AD since 2003, emerged recently as a top
candidate to replace Broyles, who retires at the end of the year
after a half-century with the Razorbacks. Long's hiring became
Broyles started at Arkansas in 1957 when he was hired as
football coach, and coached the Razorbacks until 1977, when Lou
Holtz took over.
Chancellor John White said Long would serve as an adviser before
taking over Jan. 1. Long will be paid a base salary of $450,000,
with incentives for athletic and academic achievements.
"It is a daunting task," Long said of replacing Broyles. "But
I am excited and here, and I'm excited to get started."
Donna Sanft will be the interim AD at Pitt as the school
searches for Long's successor. Sanft was the gymnastics coach at
Pitt for 12 years (1974-86) and has been an athletic department
White said he received assistance from a search firm while
looking for a replacement, and he said the school sought input from
"dozens of respected individuals in college athletics."
Long, who turns 48 next week, thanked Broyles for his support
and said he looked forward to his counsel in the future. The
outgoing AD is expected to help with university fundraising.
Broyles was at Tuesday's news conference to help introduce Long.
"I wish you and all of your family the same charmed life that I
have had," Broyles said. "You are definitely, definitely,
definitely in the right place for that to happen."
At Pittsburgh, Long's most prominent hire was football coach
Dave Wannstedt, who is in his third season. The Panthers haven't
been to a bowl game since Wannstedt's arrival.
Long had previously served as associate AD at Oklahoma, and
before that was the AD at Eastern Kentucky. He has also been an
associate AD at Virginia Tech and Michigan.
"I always cringe when they read off my resume," Long said. "I
sit there and think, 'Well, they think I'm really good, or he can't
hold a job.'"
Long said he has some work to finish at Pitt, but he hopes to be
settled in at Arkansas around the end of next month. After the news
conference, he asked for some copies of Hogs Illustrated, a
magazine that focuses on Razorbacks athletics.
Long appears to have few ties to Arkansas, which could mean
quite a transition for the Razorbacks after Broyles' lengthy
"I had just a short time to meet with him for the first time
today," Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt said. "The thing
about athletics, there's always change and as a coach, change
sometimes is hard, just like players have changes. He seems like a
great guy, and I'm looking forward to getting to know him more and
a little bit better as time goes on."
The Razorbacks joined the Southeastern Conference in 1991,
and although they have never won an SEC football title, Arkansas
won a national championship in basketball in 1994 and is a national
powerhouse in track and field.
The Razorbacks also have state-of-the-art facilities at their
Fayetteville campus, not only in football and basketball but also
less-prominent sports like baseball and track.
And with no major pro teams in the state, there's never any
concern over fan loyalty.
"I look at it in terms of ... knowing that from every corner of
the state, there are Razorbacks fans," Long said.
Arkansas has not been without controversy lately. Nutt came
under fire after the departure of offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn
and a pair of top freshmen. Also, basketball coach Stan Heath was
fired this year, and Broyles was heavily involved in the search for
The school introduced Dana Altman as the new hire, then Altman
changed his mind and went back to Creighton. It took another week
for Arkansas to find a new coach in John Pelphrey.
But on this day, Long was optimistic about what the Razorbacks
can accomplish in the near future.
"Coach Broyles said it best when he told me in a phone
conversation," Long said. "He said, 'Jeff, the job is never