Of course, Jeff Long spearheaded that, hiring coaches like Courtney Deifel and Colby Hale and building on previous success in track and baseball. But because JL didn’t suck up enough to the GOBs, wasn’t eager to fire Bret Bielema and seemed ready to move everything out of WMS, he got kicked out the door. I still follow Jeff on Twitter and he was very supportive of the Hog baseball team through the entire NCAA tournament even though Joe Steinmetz gave him the pink slip.
Jeff made mistakes, but he also did some good things. The overall program was in good shape. Football obviously wasn’t, and the buyout compounded that. But I thought he was very supportive of the student/athletes and hired coaches that were concerned with the student side as much as the athletic side. While that may not be popular with some, it’s still an intercollegiate program and grades are important. In everything but football, the program had some symbol of success as evident with this 16th place finish. Wish him the best in the future.
Jeff seemed like a good guy, maybe not the best socially, but a good guy.
However, I like to think of his time at Arkansas like a test.
He did some really good things, no question. Left us in some really good positions in the smaller sports.
So he did really well at the multiple choice on the test, got all of them right (small level sports) Gets to the fill in the blank questions, does well (mid level/ 2 of the big 3) Basketball, baseball, both are trending up under Jeff, no argument about that. Then he gets to the 40 point Essay question (the big boy- football) and he puts up a dud. You can do great on all the multiple choice and fill in the blank, but ultimately, that essay question (football) is what really gets your grade (gets you fired). He just made some costly mistakes in football, and that did it, I honestly wouldn’t have been comfortable with him hiring another coach, but that doesn’t take away from the positive that he did do while he was here. He’s a class act, but we don’t always get everything right.
If that was the worst thing he’d done, he’d still be here. He got way more brownie points in public opinion for firing BP for his misbehavior, extramarital and otherwise, coming off an 11-win season than he lost by hiring BP in the first place.
Football was in pretty good shape in November 2016. Just beat Moo U at Stankvomit, 7-4, a very winnable game at Misery then a bowl game that looked pretty winnable too. If we win those two games, we’re 9-4 for the season, Bret Bielema’s still here and Jeff Long is too.
But we coughed up big halftime leads at CoMo and in the bowl. Suddenly 7-6 and the fans are unhappy. Some of our fans were unhappy with BB from the get-go (“Bert” as a term of derision took about 48 hours to appear), but they don’t have much room for complaining at 9-4 after 8-5 and three straight years with bowl wins (nobody else at Arkansas has even won bowls in two straight years, including JFB and BP). At 7-6, and the way we lost those two games, the wolves started to circle, and BB couldn’t stop them.
If we go 9-4 followed by 4-8, BB is still here but his seat is warm. And Jeff wouldn’t have been fired for failing to fire him. GSD didn’t help, neither did Jeff’s inability or unwillingness to suck up to the Good Old Boy network, but losing 10 of the last 14 football games is the primary reason why he’s gone.
Did some awesome things for Arkansas but I really don’t think he ever understood that the Razorbacks pro team
Infact I got the impression he didn’t care about that at all - imho - he is s a tweed jacket with patches on the Elbos academic guy
Loves the college experience but never grasp how Arkansas is different
If all I say is untrue - please forgive - but somehow I git the image that he could care less about the guy in toadsuck Ark who saves his money to attend a Razorback game 2-3 times a year and all he ask for Christmas is new Razorback gear
I thinking the new guy understands
But all that negative fronme
Jeff Long - is a honorable man who did good things for the program - his weakness is that Goitball sucked and he played a role in that
The real irony is that the program that just finished national runner up is the one that retained a JFB hired coach and was least influenced by JL. My memory is that early in his tenure JL tried to monkey with DVH and the baseball program and caused problems that were fortunately overcome.
Glad JL is gone. He was a self-promoter from day one. The program was secondary - that’s why it appeared to some that he never really “understood Arkansas”.
John White bailed Pitt out when he hired JL and it will take a special kind of stupid to bail us out of paying out his full contract.
I am fortunate to know people who know some conversations that won’t get published. Long inherited enemies, folks who kept their powder dry, seething that one of Frank’s yesmen were not named to replace JFB. JL inherited some smoldering messes that were PR disasters waiting to happen.
And the man survived ten years!
What he gets attacked on are really no-win situations:
big buyouts protect coaches from annual flirtations with bigger programs. They are also yokes around the neck until those coaches leave on their own. [I have reason to believe Long and CBB talked about CBB going to the NFL and they just needed time for it to happen. Water under the bridge, but those conversations happened.]
WMS is fiscally unsustainable. Losing Central Arkansas boosters because it is handled poorly is not good optics. Pretty tough situation to come out the winner. JFB kicked that can down the road. Short of the state or city of LR stepping in with huge funding support this will continue to fester.
His real crime was never getting connected into a couple of the bigger cash cows available to UA.
Jeff Long was a class act while chairing the National Championship committee. I liked the way he handled the firing of Bobby Petrino. And, I liked Bielema’s approach to discipline. I didn’t like his results, but who would have guessed his teams would struggle that much given his success at Wisconsin. I thought it was a good hire at the time. The buyout contract was meant to keep him from bolting, not reward him if he was fired. It just worked out that way. I suspected the politics was what got him in trouble and the football record was just the justification.
What’s the agenda? I have an opinion that’s different than yours. Seems like the guy wearing the moderator badge could handle that without characterizing it as an “agenda”. JL needed to be fired. The decision makers agreed. So maybe you’re the one with the “agenda”. After all, YOU started the thread.
There was a lot of nastiness being tossed about as an explanation for firing JL. He needed a handful of additional football victories to keep his gig. Political nastiness, but that is the nature of being AD.
Yup. Frank wanted to go there in 2001, just cut ties completely, but the politics made it impossible and he kicked it down the road long enough to become Jeff’s problem. Jeff’s strategy seems to have been to gradually wean WMS out of the program, with fewer and fewer (and less meaningful) games. and then cut the umbilical at the end of the last agreement. Ironically, the new agreement is another extension of that strategy – down to a game every 24 months on a weekend when the students aren’t on campus in Fedvul anyway. I still don’t think they can come up with enough money to make WMS a SEC-quality stadium. It may never get to the end of the current agreement.
The strategy from the UA’s perspective is a shrewd one - keep deferring until you hit a pivot point when the team is rolling and on the national radar again. Then, it is easier to cut the cord.
The concern from my vantage (alluded to in your post, possibly) is that some white knight steps in and funds enough WMS upgrades to keep the stadium modestly viable. The worst case scenario is the white knight pulls money from UA (worst of worst, pulls money from non-athletic UA funding) to pay for WMS to get a cosmetic fix.