FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Jeff Long, athletics director at the University of Pittsburgh, has been named director of men’s athletics at the University of Arkansas, effective Jan. 1, 2008.
In his more than 20-year career in intercollegiate athletics, Long has served as an athletics administrator at the University of Oklahoma, Eastern Kentucky University, Virginia Tech University and the University of Michigan. He also has held coaching and administrative positions at Rice University, Duke University and North Carolina State University.
“Finding a successor to a legend is a daunting responsibility, especially when the person sought is entrusted with a state treasure such as Razorback athletics," said University Chancellor John A. White.
“In conducting the search process, I sought input from dozens of respected individuals in college athletics, and one name kept coming up: Jeff Long. Jeff is an established leader with a track record of success with honor. He understands the role of intercollegiate athletics at major public universities, and is positioned to raise the bar even higher for Arkansas athletics — inside and outside of competition."
Arkansas men’s athletics director Frank Broyles will serve in his current role through the end of the calendar year before transitioning to other responsibilities within the University after more than 50 years of service to the Razorbacks as a coach and an athletics administrator.
“The University of Arkansas and the men’s athletics department are extremely privileged to welcome Jeff Long, his wife Fanny and their two daughters Stephanie and Christina into the Razorback family,” said Broyles. “Jeff brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from some of the most successful athletics programs and institutions in the Big East, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Big Ten. He is well respected among his peers and is an excellent choice to lead the Razorbacks. Our program is blessed with an outstanding group of coaches, student-athletes, staff members, passionate fans throughout the state and a collection of first-class facilities. Those elements, combined with Jeff Long’s proven leadership and commitment to integrity, will enable the University of Arkansas and the Razorback program to continue to thrive in the years to come.”
Long will be paid a base salary of $450,000 with additional incentives for athletic and academic achievements.
Long has spent the last four years at the helm of the Pitt athletics program, leading the Panthers to success on the fields of play, high achievement in the classroom and bold initiatives in the areas of facilities, development and student-welfare. One indication of Pitt’s success was revealed in the Sports Illustrated on Campus All-Sport Rankings (December 2006) which listed the Panthers No. 17 nationally.
"In Jeff Long, I’m confident we’ve found the right man to carry forth the tradition of excellence that is Razorback athletics," said B. Alan Sugg, president of the University of Arkansas System. "He is someone who will build upon the distinguished legacy of Frank Broyles and maintain the level of success and pride that Arkansans have in the Razorbacks."
In his four years at Pittsburgh, Long has seen the athletics department re-certified by the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, meaning the program conforms with the principles established by the NCAA Division I membership. The NCAA peer review team described several areas of Pitt’s program as “models for others to follow.”
Other highlights include launching the “Quest for Excellence” campaign in 2005, which has already raised $34 million for endowed athletics scholarships, capital gifts for building and improvement projects, and annual contributions for student-athlete scholarships; the addition of an Olympic sports weight room, in addition to new training facilities for wrestling and gymnastics; the creation of a career and life skills staff position, which focuses on the development of student-athletes; the development of a radio partnership with Clear Channel Communications in one of the largest media markets in the nation, which includes professional franchises in football, baseball and hockey; a partnership with ISP sports, a collegiate sports marketing company, in addition to the development of “Panthers Weekly,” a television program devoted to Pitt’s athletics programs produced by FSN Pittsburgh; the design of a new uniform “PITT” logo and a comprehensive partnership with adidas; and hosting, for the first time, NCAA Tournament women’s basketball first and second-round games.
Individually, this past spring Long was named to the Division I Men’s Basketball Academic Enhancement Group, which is focused on developing strategies to enhance the academic performance and graduation rates in that sport; he was named one of the Big East Conference’s representatives on the 49-member NCAA Division I Management Council, which is involved in legislative issues and oversees groups responsible for academic affairs, eligibility, compliance, championships and competition; he is a member of the Executive Committee of the Division IA Athletic Directors’ Association, a group dedicated to the welfare and future success of student-athletes; and in 2004 he was appointed to the NCAA’s Sports Wagering Task Force.
"The Razorbacks are the pride of Arkansas, and Jeff Long has the experience and ability to carry on that tradition and lead the university’s men’s athletics programs to new heights," said Stanley Reed, chairman of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. "His leadership skills, fund-raising abilities and integrity have earned him respect around the nation, and he is a perfect fit for Arkansas athletics."
Long’s accomplishments and high aspirations during his time at Pitt are not surprising considering his outstanding professional and personal pedigree. He is cut from the mold of winners and has worked in many of the country’s highest-profile conferences, including the Big 12, Big Ten, Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference.
“I have worked with Jeff Long in the BCS and on the NCAA Basketball Academic Enhancement Committee,” said Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive. “He has a passion for intercollegiate athletics and insight into the issues that has made him a prominent contributor to both of these groups. He has the background, experience, enthusiasm and commitment to be a worthy successor to Frank Broyles and to play a leadership role in the Southeastern Conference. I look forward to continuing my relationship with him as the Director of Athletics at the University of Arkansas.”
Prior to his Pitt appointment, Long served as the senior associate athletics director at the University of Oklahoma for two-and-a-half years. He oversaw all external affairs, including development, marketing/promotions, licensing, media relations, ticket operations, radio/television and SoonerVision productions. He additionally was the primary administrator for football and men’s basketball and the sport supervisor for baseball, wrestling and men’s and women’s golf.
“Jeff Long is an outstanding hire by the University of Arkansas and a wonderful addition to the Razorback family,” said Oklahoma Athletics Director Joe Castiglione. “He has already proven that he possesses the personal and professional qualities to lead a championship caliber program. He is also passionate about keeping the focus on the student-athletes and coaches as they all work together to reflect the institutional mission. From coaching to administration, Jeff’s experiences have really prepared him for this wonderful opportunity. I am confident that his big picture mentality, his boundless energy and his ability to communicate with everyone will serve him well as he charts the new course for Razorback Athletics and builds upon the tradition of success which already exists. You can count on him and his family representing Arkansas with integrity and class.”
Prior to Oklahoma, Long was the athletics director at Eastern Kentucky University. He significantly improved Eastern Kentucky’s athletics infrastructure during his two years with the completion of several facility projects and the formation of viable corporate partnerships and sponsorships.
Long also served a short tenure at Virginia Tech as associate athletics director prior to his Eastern Kentucky post. The majority of his career in collegiate athletics administration, though, was spent at the University of Michigan. Hired by legendary coach and athletics director Bo Schembechler, Long elevated through a number of administrative posts at Michigan before ultimately reaching associate athletics director.
“On behalf of the Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association, we congratulate Chancellor John White and the University of Arkansas on their selection of Jeff Long as Director of Athletics,” said Dutch Baughman, executive director of the organization. “We also congratulate and commend Chancellor White on his extremely well administered search for a new Athletics Director. The search has been comprehensive, thorough, and certainly in alignment with Institutional core values.
“Jeff Long is a proven leader, and has developed a reputation has a true professional. He understands and is experienced in every aspect of an intercollegiate athletics operation. Obviously, Jeff will assume the duties as Director of Athletics in a most unique situation, with the tremendous leadership, influence and legacy of Frank Broyles. We wish Frank much happiness in his retirement, and we offer best wishes and continued success to Jeff and the University of Arkansas.”
A 1982 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Long earned seven varsity letters in football and baseball. He received his master’s degree in education from Miami University (Ohio) in 1983 after serving as a graduate assistant football coach.
A native of Kettering, Ohio, Long is married to the former Fanny Gellrich of Ann Arbor, Mich. The couple has two children, Stephanie (13) and Christina (8).