Long promises to deliver a championship team

SAN DIEGO -- Former Iowa quarterback Chuck Long was hired as San Diego State's football coach on Saturday, promising to deliver a winning team at a school that has had few of them in recent years.

"We're going to win championships now," Long said at his introductory news conference. "It's a place that's ready to do it. I can feel it."

Long, 42, has been on Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma for six seasons, the last four as offensive coordinator. He replaces Tom Craft, who was fired on Dec. 5 after going 19-29 in four seasons, including 5-7 this year.

Although this is Long's first head coaching job, he has an extensive resume as a player and assistant coach.

While at Iowa, Long was runner-up to Bo Jackson for the 1985 Heisman Trophy in the closest vote in history. He guided the Hawkeyes to the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl that season.

He was Oklahoma's passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach when the Sooners won the national championship in 2000, and was offensive coordinator when Jason White won the 2003 Heisman and when Adrian Peterson and White finished 2-3 last season.

Long got his coaching start at Iowa in 1995 after playing eight seasons in the NFL, with the Rams and Lions. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Long's hire has Iowa and Kansas State connections.

A month ago, after Kansas State's Bill Snyder retired, Long told reporters that he wasn't in a hurry to find a head coaching job because he was happy at Oklahoma, which played in the last two BCS national championship games.

Long was recruited to Iowa by Snyder, then an assistant to Hayden Fry. Stoops, who played at Iowa and was an assistant to Snyder at K-State in the early 1990s, said he recommended Long to Schemmel, who was part of the management team that hired Snyder as the Wildcats' coach in 1989.

Long inherits a program that hasn't had a winning season since 1998, when it went 7-5 and played in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Aztecs have played in only two bowls in the last 15 seasons.

Coincidentally, Oklahoma will play Oregon in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 29, and the Sooners will practice at SDSU.