The University of Kansas officially introduced Jeff Long, the university’s new director of athletics, at a news conference July 11 in the Lied Center Pavilion.
The news conference began with opening remarks by Drue Jennings, who headed the university’s search process, as well as Chancellor Douglas A. Girod and Long. After that, the three sat together for a Q&A period with members of the media.
Long was announced as the university’s new director of athletics July 5. He will begin his role August 1.
University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas A. Girod today named Jeff Long as the university’s new director of athletics.
Long brings more than two decades of experience in athletic administration at the Division I level, most recently at the University of Arkansas, where he led a program comprising 19 sports and 460 student-athletes from 2008 through 2017. During that time, he transformed Arkansas’ athletics department into one of the most successful in the country and established himself as a national leader within intercollegiate athletics.
Long will be officially introduced at a news conference Wednesday, July 11, in Lawrence at a time and location to be determined. He will start his role Aug. 1.
“Jeff Long has tremendous leadership and administrative experience in major college athletics, and he is a terrific fit for Kansas Athletics as we work to ensure our student-athletes succeed on the field and in the classroom,” Girod said. “Those who know him describe him as a man of character who cares deeply about higher education and the student-athletes he serves. For all these reasons, we are thrilled to welcome him to the University of Kansas.”
During Long’s tenure, Arkansas captured 34 conference championships and advanced to 139 postseason competitions, including the school’s first Bowl Championship Series appearance in football and national titles at the 2013 NCAA Men’s Indoor and 2015 NCAA Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships and the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In 2016-17, Arkansas finished No. 20 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup, which measures universities’ success across all sports, marking the university’s eighth top-25 finish in the previous 10 years. Long also launched a $160 million renovation to Razorback Stadium. In the classroom, the Razorbacks posted a school record student-athlete GPA and exceeded the national APR multiyear rate in all 19 sports, including posting its highest program average ever.
Additionally, Long served as the chairman of the inaugural College Football Playoff selection committee for 2014 and 2015 and remained a member of the committee through 2017.
Prior to leading Arkansas, Long served as athletics director at the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, he has held administrative roles at the University of Oklahoma, University of Michigan, Virginia Tech University, Eastern Kentucky University and Rice University. He held coaching staff positions at Duke University, the University of Michigan and North Carolina State University. In total, he has been an athletic director and administrator in five of the six Bowl Championship Series conferences — the Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Atlantic Coast and SEC.
“My family and I are thrilled to join Chancellor Girod’s leadership team at the University of Kansas,” Long said. “It was clear from the moment I met with the chancellor and his search committee members, they have a deep love for the university and understand and appreciate the positive role intercollegiate athletics plays in the university community. Through our conversations, it became evident we share a common belief that the student-athlete experience prepares young people for the challenges they will face throughout life. I am excited to work with the student-athletes, coaches, staff, the community of Lawrence and the incredible fan base to build on past success and create a shared vision for the future of Kansas Athletics.”
Long comes to KU after a seven-week search process headed by Girod and KU alumnus Drue Jennings, who served as KU’s interim director of athletics in 2003.
“We are thrilled to have someone of Jeff’s caliber joining the University of Kansas,” Jennings said. “Jeff has a record of integrity, experience in hiring coaches, ties with other Bowl Championship Series schools, effective fundraising and a willingness to lead on national issues affecting college athletics. We can be proud that he’s joining us at KU, and we can be confident that Kansas Athletics is in good hands under his leadership.”
Long’s contract with Kansas Athletics will pay him $1.5 million per year for five years. Of that amount, $1.3 million is paid by private funds from Kansas Athletics Inc., with the remaining $200,000 paid by the university.
An Ohio native, Long and his wife, Fanny, have two daughters, Stephanie and Christina.
Read more, including what others are saying about the selection of Jeff Long.
The Hawks and Highways tour stopped in Hutchinson for a Jayhawk tradition unlike any other. The ninth annual KU Alumni Invitational took place June 25 at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
The annual event brought members of the Presidents Club together to enjoy a round of golf with KU special guests. Chancellor Doug Girod, Bill Self, head men’s basketball coach, and Heath Peterson, president of the KU Alumni Association, all attended.
The foursome of Zach Dyer, Will Moore, Cameron Wilste and Kyle Tucker won the championship flight.
“The alumni invitational at Prairie Dunes is a fantastic event,” said Moore, l’06. “Having the opportunity to play one of the best golf courses in the world with fellow Jayhawks is an unbelievable opportunity. The event is well organized and always a great time. I look forward to playing every year.”
“First, it’s a great venue, a first class golf course,” said John Miles. “My group and I played last year and knew we had to come back. The Alumni Association and the Williams Fund do a great job setting up the event and making everyone who participates feel important.”
Kent Deutsch, Kent Richardson, Tommy Castor, and Chris Ugolini made up the first flight leaders.
The event was presented by Tickets for Less, a partner of the KU Alumni Association. Campus partners includingKansas Athletics the Williams Education Fund, KU Admissions, the School of Social Welfare, and the KU Medical School also attended.
Hawks & Highways is a multi-year effort coordinated by the KU Alumni Association and Kansas Athletics. Tour events feature appearances by KU coaches as well as university administrators and other special guests.
This is the first year of an effort to reach Jayhawks throughout Kansas by bringing the best of KU to their hometowns. The tour has visited Leavenworth, McPherson, Hays, Manhattan, Garden City and Pittsburg and has featured several KU guests, including athletic directors and coaches, campus administrators and Alumni Association staff.
“More than 150,000 KU graduates and former students live in Kansas,” says Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09, Alumni Association president. “It’s a priority for us to connect with these Jayhawks in their communities to show our appreciation for their dedication and support.”
Speakers at the events shared sentiments of a positive trajectory for the University. Peterson reminded the crowd that total enrollment has grown for the fifth straight year. Matt Baty, d’07, senior associate athletics director, praised the relationship between Kansas Athletics and the Alumni Association, calling it “one of the best in the entire country.”
Future stops include the annual KU Alumni Invitational at Prairie Dunes in Hutchinson, along with a Salina event Monday, June 25. Chancellor Doug Girod and Head Basketball Coach Bill Self will headline an impressive group of Jayhawk leaders.
It’s easy to follow along with Hawks & Highways! Follow us on Instagram for stories from the events, or follow us on Twitter for updates. The Williams Education Fund Twitter account also provides information about Hawks & Highways.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Monday, May 21, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
I am writing to inform you of a leadership change in Kansas Athletics.
This morning I met with Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger and informed him that I am relieving him of his duties, effective immediately.
Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and our athletics department has improved in many areas under his leadership. But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary.
Sean Lester, our deputy athletics director, will serve as interim director. I have spoken with Sean about my expectations for the coming months, and I am confident he will provide sound leadership and stability during this transition.
I have begun the process of identifying a permanent athletics director. To lead this process, I have enlisted Drue Jennings, one of our most respected and accomplished alumni. Many of you know Drue as our interim athletics director in 2003 and for his role in leading the search processes that brought Chancellor Gray-Little and Coach Self to KU. Jed Hughes, a consultant with the Korn Ferry executive search firm, will assist Drue.
Some of you may have questions about our football program. I spoke with Coach Beaty earlier today and shared my expectation that he will continue recruiting hard and getting his team ready for the season.
Since becoming chancellor, I have spent countless hours with higher education peers and Jayhawks to hear their perspective on KU. A common thread in these conversations is that, as a major public university with national aspirations, we must continue to strive for excellence in all areas — including athletics. As I have said many times, a successful athletics department is inextricably linked to our broader mission as a flagship research university.
The other common thread in these conversations is optimism for Kansas Athletics. Across the country, we are recognized as having elite programs, a proud tradition, and a loyal fan base. These assets will serve us well as we identify a new leader for Kansas Athletics.
I want to thank Sheahon for his service during the past seven years. Under his leadership, student-athlete GPAs reached an all-time high. Rock Chalk Park, McCarthy Hall, and the DeBruce Center are lasting tributes to his efforts. Most importantly, he prioritized our student-athletes and represented KU with integrity and class.
Jayhawks celebrated their alma mater’s past, present and future at the 23rd annual Rock Chalk Ball, held April 28 at the Kansas City Convention Center. This year’s event concluded a week of inauguration festivities for Chancellor Douglas A. Girod.
Hosted by the Alumni Association and the Greater Kansas City Network, the annual event unites Jayhawks in the nation’s largest KU community and raises funds for Association programs to advocate for KU; communicate to alumni and friends in all media; recruit students and volunteers; serve current students, alumni and KU; and unite all Jayhawks.
Chancellor Girod and his wife, Susan, served as honorary event chairs. Curtis Marsh, j’92, director of KU Info and the DeBruce Center, lent his voice—and his wealth of KU knowledge and traditions—as this year’s emcee. The event featured silent and live auctions and the enthusiastic sounds of the Patrick Lentz Band, one of Kansas City’s premier cover bands. The KU Libraries exhibit, History of the Jayhawk, was on display during the cocktail hour.
Sasha Flores Boulware, c’98, g’00, and Billy Marshall, c’00, served as network co-chairs for the event.
In keeping with the Alumni Association’s mission to strengthen KU, proceeds from the 2018 Rock Chalk Ball will be used to benefit legacy student recruitment and student programs. Proceeds from the Fund-A-Need portion of the auction will benefit the Jayhawk Career Network. A new KU Alumni Mentoring Program will be launched this fall to give students easy access to the power of our alumni base.
Thank you to the event’s title sponsor, Tickets For Less, and the presenting sponsors—Boulevard Brewing, Charlie Hustle and Gohagan— for their contributions to the live auction.
Check out some of our favorite social posts from Rock Chalk Ball below! Official photos from the event, courtesy of Steve Puppe, are available here and may be downloaded for personal use. If you attended this year’s Rock Chalk Ball, we’d love to have your feedback—please complete our survey.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Tuesday, Apr. 3, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
I am writing to let you know that a key member of our executive team will be leaving the University of Kansas for a new opportunity.
Earlier today, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi was named the new president of the University of Louisville. She is slated to begin her new role in May.
While this is a loss for KU, I am delighted for Neeli, who has served our university with passion for the past seven years and will undoubtedly do great work at Louisville. As friends and colleagues, we can be happy for her. And as a university, we can be proud that her time at KU enabled her to refine her leadership skills and move on to the presidency of a major public research institution.
I will name an interim provost in the coming days. Additionally, I will keep you informed on the process for identifying a permanent successor in the coming weeks.
Neeli has been with the University of Kansas since 2011 and has been integral to many of our most important initiatives. As provost and executive vice chancellor since 2016, she has prioritized retention and graduation rates, faculty and staff development, and our university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Prior to serving as provost, she was the Henry D. Price Dean of our School of Business. In that role, she partnered with KU Endowment to raise $198.6 million in total gifts, oversaw an expansion of the school’s academic programming, and guided the school to gains in national rankings.
Beyond these specific efforts, Neeli brought unmatched enthusiasm to her work — the kind of enthusiasm that was contagious and inspired those around her. She and her family are Jayhawks to the core, and their love and appreciation for this university knows no bounds.
The University of Kansas and the state we serve have benefited from Neeli’s efforts. Please join me in congratulating Neeli on her new position and thanking her for her service to KU.
The KU Alumni Association and KU Endowment welcomed more than 100 veterans, alumni, students and military family members March 13 for a donor appreciation event at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City.
Jayhawks gathered on the Paul Sunderland Glass Bridge, a stunning structure suspended over a field of 9,000 poppies, symbolic of the 9 million who perished in the war, before touring the museum and the Wylie Gallery, which currently features John Singer Sargent’s powerful masterpiece, “Gassed,” as part of a limited centennial exhibition.
University leaders attend
Several University leaders participated in the event, including Chancellor Douglas Girod, a former Naval surgeon; Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Reggie Robinson, c’80, l’87, who served in the Army; and retired Marine Corps. Col. Mike Denning, c’83, director of KU’s graduate military program and president of the Veterans Alumni Network.
Before delivering opening remarks, Denning playfully teased the crowd. “I have to admit,” he joked. “I think the Marines are probably outnumbering everybody else about five to one.”
Though Marines may have dominated the event in attendance, representatives from each branch of service turned out, including retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mike Flowers, c’77, an Alumni Association board member, and Col. Bob Ulin, g’79. Both men serve on the advisory board for the Veterans Alumni Network.
This year, KU was named the No. 5 school for veterans by the Military Times, up five spots from its top-10 ranking in 2016 and 2017. The Veterans Alumni Network has been instrumental in strengthening several resources for military students and veterans, including the Wounded Warriors Scholarship Fund, which since 2012 has provided $200,000 to military service members, veterans, primary caregivers and surviving spouses or children who want to attend KU.
“The scholarship offered me a chance to actually be a student for the first time,” said Leach, a first-generation student. “It gave me access to advisers, mentors and the opportunity to network with other veterans who had the same experiences I did while I was in the military. I’m very thankful for that.”
“As soon as you walk in there, it’s like you’re back in the service,” said JR Cadwallader, b’18, a Marine Corps veteran and past president of KU’s Student Veterans of America. “It’s like you’re at home with some of your greatest friends again.”
Chancellor Girod applauded Jayhawks for their generosity and commitment to funding programs like the Wounded Warrior Scholarship and the military-affiliated student center, emphasizing how critical these services are to military students and their families.
“You heard the students talk about how [the center] has become a core site and a home for our students—a very comforting home,” he said. “But more important, a lot of services take place in that center.”
Jeff Larkin, c’06, a Lawrence dentist who served in the Air Force, attended the event with his wife and daughter. He was pleased to learn his alma mater had established itself nationally as a top-ranking institution for military students and veterans.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to all University of Kansas students, faculty and staff members on Jan. 16, the first day of the 2018 spring semester.
Welcome back, Jayhawks! I hope you had a joyful holiday season, and I trust you are ready for another productive year. With classes beginning today, I want to take a moment to look ahead to some highlights of the upcoming semester.
This semester brings new milestones in the transformation of our campuses. This morning we are holding the first-ever classes in the Earth, Energy, and Environment Center (EEEC) – which comprises Ritchie and Slawson Halls – and we look forward to seeing you at a celebration event April 25 for the new facilities. Not far from the EEEC, on April 2 we will open the new Burge Union as the latest component of our Central District. And later this spring, construction begins on an indoor football facility adjacent to Memorial Stadium.
We will continue to host leaders from all areas of society. This month, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will visit KU to teach a course and visit with students, staff and alumni. Later in the spring, we will welcome #MeToo creator and TIME Magazine 2017 Person of the Year Tarana Burke as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities sponsored by our Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center and Student Union Activities.
This semester, we can look forward to continued excellence from our students and faculty. I am especially excited to watch our KU Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble I and dance professor Michelle Heffner Hayes perform April 29 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. This will be a tremendous opportunity for these KU performers and the proud KU alumni in the area.
No semester reaches its full potential without generous support from donors. This year, alumni and friends from around the world will come together for One Day, One KU, a special day of giving on February 20 designed to show support for our students and the work you do.
We also welcome new KU leaders this semester. Last week, I was delighted to announce Dr. Robert Simari as the executive vice chancellor for KU Medical Center and Reggie Robinson as the vice chancellor for public affairs. Both have served in interim roles since last summer and provided crucial leadership and stability to KU during a time of transition. I am excited to have them as permanent members of our team.
The 2018 Kansas legislative session began last week, and as always, we continue to work with lawmakers on issues related to higher education. This session, the top priority for the Kansas Board of Regents and the state’s six universities is to work with lawmakers to restore $24 million in Fiscal Year 2017 budget cuts to the higher education system. For KU, these funds total $7.4 million.
On April 20, we will gather for my installation ceremony to mark new beginnings and celebrate with colleagues near and far. While this day is partially about me – which is humbling and appreciated – it is mostly a celebration of your work and our shared aspirations. I am excited to celebrate this special day with you.
Thank you for all you do on behalf of KU. I look forward to another great year.
Chancellor Douglas A. Girod sent the following message to University of Kansas faculty and staff members on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. The message was also posted on the chancellor’s website.
It is my pleasure to announce that Reggie Robinson has agreed to serve as our vice chancellor for public affairs. We are fortunate to have a leader of his experience and talents in this critical role for our campuses.
Reggie’s deep experience in higher education has made him an invaluable counselor to me since he began serving in this role in an interim capacity in August. In addition, he has already nurtured meaningful relationships inside and outside our campuses, and I know he will help us achieve our goals and raise our stature here and across the country.
Before his move to Strong Hall, Reggie had led our School of Public Affairs & Administration since 2014. From 2002-10, he served as president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. Before assuming his position with the Regents, he served as chief of staff to KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway and visiting professor at the KU School of Law. He has also worked as a law professor and director of the Center for Law and Government at Washburn University. From 1993-98, he served at senior levels in the U.S. Department of Justice, initially as a White House Fellow assigned as a special assistant to Attorney General Janet Reno. He went on to serve in a number of senior executive posts in the department.
Reggie earned his undergraduate and law degrees from KU and was an intern for Sen. Bob Dole in 1978. Between college and law school, he served four years as a field artillery officer in the U.S. Army.
The vice chancellor for public affairs oversees communications, outreach and government relations for KU. In this role, Reggie will be responsible for setting and carrying out a strategic communications agenda that elevates KU’s reputation at the international, national, state and local levels. He will also have responsibility for internal and external communications and the integration of messages across all KU campuses, affiliates and partners.
The Office of Public Affairs comprises the offices of Strategic Communications, Government Relations, Marketing Communications, the KU News Service, Event Management & Protocol, and Kansas Public Radio and Audio-Reader.
Reggie Robinson honored by Black Alumni Network
Last fall, the Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Network named Robinson among the recipients of the Mike and Joyce Shinn Leaders and Innovators Award. The project recognizes leaders from the KU community for their impact on society. These talented and sometimes controversial African-Americans helped shape the University as well as the cities, states and nations their work touched.
Watch the video below to learn more about Robinson.