USF considering former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long pauses during a news conference at which he announced the firing of football coach Bobby Petrino, in 2012 Fayetteville, Ark. [AP Photo/April L. Brown]
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long pauses during a news conference at which he announced the firing of football coach Bobby Petrino, in 2012 Fayetteville, Ark. [AP Photo/April L. Brown]
Published June 25
Updated June 25

While Tom Jurich remains the preferred choice among several prominent USF boosters (and some coaches) for the Bulls' athletic director gig, our intel has revealed another former Power Five AD also is getting a serious look.

Jeff Long, who spent nearly a decade (2008-17) as Arkansas' AD and served four years in the same job at Pitt before that, is among those being considered for the vacancy at USF, two sources have confirmed. He also has been mentioned as a serious candidate for the vacancy at Kansas.

Highly respected in collegiate administrative circles (he reportedly once was a candidate for the AD jobs at Texas and Stanford), Long's resume doesn't sparkle quite as profoundly — or feature smudges as glaring — as Jurich's.

RELATED: The pros and cons of Tom Jurich as potential USF AD candidate

He was fired without cause at Arkansas last November, when the Razorbacks football team was finishing a 4-8 season, the sixth consecutive year in which it failed to win at least nine games. (Here's his termination letter.)

But a sequence of solid accomplishments preceded that.

During Long's tenure, Arkansas remained one of only about two-dozen athletic departments in the country to be self-sustaining, not collecting student fees or taking state funds. On his watch, Arkansas captured 34 SEC titles, and in the 2016-17 academic year, the program posted a record 3.25 GPA among its student-athletes, according to his official UA bio.

In 2015, Long was named the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily Athletic Director of the Year.

The first chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee, Long helped engineer a $160 million renovation of Razorback Stadium, among other construction projects. He also helped secure a $10.65 million gift from Dallas Cowboys owner (and former Hogs football player) Jerry Jones.

He also lured men's basketball coach Mike Anderson, a popular former Razorbacks assistant, away from Missouri in 2011. Arkansas has won at least 22 games in four of the past five seasons, reaching the NCAA Tournament three times in that span.

And while Long hired controversial football coach Bobby Petrino in 2008, he fired him in 2012, after 10- and 11-win seasons. The dismissal came in the wake of revelations that Petrino had been involved in an extramarital affair with a former UA volleyball player whom he had hired for a position on the football staff.

USF is seeking a replacement for Mark Harlan, who resigned earlier this month to accept the same job at Utah. It is believed USF wants to have a new AD in place before July 5.

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