Jeff Long

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Kansas makes hiring of Les Miles official

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Kansas has officially announced the hiring of Les Miles as its next head football coach. Kansas will formally introduce Miles as the next head coach at a press conference later today.

Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long shared the news on his Twitter account, in addition to the released statement published on the team’s website.

“Since the beginning of our search, we focused on identifying and recruiting an experienced head coach with a strong track record of success on and off the field,” Long said in a released statement. “Les Miles is exactly what we need for our program right now. His national reputation as a great recruiter and as a coach who student-athletes love playing for will enable us to break the cycle and return a winning tradition to the Kansas Jayhawks. We are thrilled to have Les and his family as Jayhawks.”

I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the KU football program and I am grateful to Chancellor Girod and Jeff Long for the opportunity,” said Miles.  “We will bring Jayhawk Football back and we will do it with outstanding coaches, tremendous student-athletes of character and ability and an unrelenting drive for excellence.  My family and I cannot wait to be a part of the KU family!”

Miles has not coached since being let go by LSU in the middle of the 2016 season, but he has never been shy about still having an interest in continuing to coach. Miles brings a career record of 142-55 with one national championship to his name. As boasted by Kansas, the Jayhawks are now the only Division 1 school with a national championship head coach in football and men’s basketball. Miles won a national title with LSU in 2007 and Kansas basketball coach Bill Self won a national title in 2008 with the program.

Prior to coaching at LSU beginning in 2005, Miles coached at Oklahoma State in the Big 12 from 2001 through 2004. Miles was 28-21 in his time at Oklahoma State.

UPDATE: According to Brett McMurphy, via Twitter, Miles signed a five-year contract valued at $2.775 million per year.

When will Bret Bielema coach again?

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With Kansas hiring former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long to the same position this week, one can’t help but wonder if former Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema may have an in at a potential power conference program in need of a coach soon.

It all seems to make too much sense to ignore the possibility that Long would potentially reach out to his former head coaching hire at Arkansas in the event he needs to make a coaching change at Kansas. David Beaty may actually be in a solid position right now despite the last couple of woeful years of Kansas football, but one more poor showing on the field by the Jayhawks could lead to a coaching change faster than may be for the greater good at Kansas. And if Long ends up deciding to move in a different direction, it would not be shocking to learn Bielema might be on the shortlist.

Long hired Bielema away from Wisconsin to come to be the head coach of the Razorbacks after the 2012 season. In five years at Arkansas, Bielema coached the program to a disappointing 29-34 record with a declining win total in each of his final two seasons on the job. Although Arkansas struggled under Bielema, the general consensus appears to suggest Bielema is still a solid head coaching candidate in the right situation. At a program like Kansas, where there is likely nowhere to go but up, why not see what Bielema can do in the Big 12?

The biggest unknown is the motivation Bielema has to jump back into coaching just for the sake of coaching again. Arkansas owes Bielema $320,000 per month until the end of December 2020, with those monthly installments in the $11.9 million buyout kicking off last November. That’s a solid paycheck for not having to recruit and coach. So Bielema can do absolutely nothing until the end of 2020 if he wants. Of course, he has been keeping busy working with the New England Patriots in the offseason at events like the NFL Scouting Combine and representing the AFC champions at pro day events like at Alabama. So he is certainly staying connected and in tune with the game to some degree.

Bielema was coaching from 1994 through 2017. He has won three Big Ten championships with Wisconsin. He may very well be a head coach once again in due time, perhaps even before his buyout expires with Arkansas. Is Kansas the perfect landing spot? Despite the connection with Long, it may not be for Bielema. A return to the Big Ten may be better suited for Bielema with some potential openings coming up in the next coaching carousel cycle.

It’s also worth noting Bielema is enjoying life as a father of a young daughter, and that may not be an experience he wants to get away from so quickly. Only he would know for sure, of course. The point is Bielema has time to weigh his options. Rushing to get him to Kansas is probably a waste of time at the moment, especially if Beaty has anything to say about it.

Arkansas AD Jeff Long will not let past affect how Bobby Petrino viewed in playoff picture

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With Louisville ascending quickly out of the gates of the college football season, the early playoff discussions have already begun. Bobby Petrino has seemingly resurrected his career as a head coach after a complete disaster of an off-field situation saw his run at Arkansas crash on the side of the road. Now, with Petrino and the Cardinals very much worth discussing as a legitimate national title contender three weeks into the season, Petrino’s old boss at Arkansas says the past will not affect the present.

Jeff Long, athletics director at Arkansas, of course, is that former boss of Petrino’s. Long may have felt let down by Petrino in the final days of his time as head coach of the Razorbacks, but Long and the rest of the College Football Playoff have one specific job to accomplish at the end of the year; field the best four teams in college football into a College Football Playoff. Long’s past feelings about Petrino will not affect how the Cardinals may or may not be viewed in the national title picture should Louisville be so fortunate to be in such a position at the end of the season.

“No, there’s no reason for me to recuse myself,” Long said, according to the Associated Press. It is standard protocol for any member of the College Football Playoff selection committee with a direct tie to any potential playoff candidate to leave the room during discussion of that specific school. Although Petrino is a former coach at Long’s Arkansas, that does not come into the equation for Long’s role on the committee.”I think Louisville is a fine football program, and they demonstrated that after three weeks of the season. We’ve got six more weeks before we rank a group of teams.”

“I think Louisville is a fine football program, and they demonstrated that after three weeks of the season. We’ve got six more weeks before we rank a group of teams.”

Long, as the chairman of the selection committee, has previously been tasked with addressing the committee’s weekly poll on live television and essentially serve as the face of the committee (that responsibility is now Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt‘s). The reaction to some of Long’s comments during the weekly poll explanations have been taken to task a number of times during the past two seasons, but these comments related specifically to Petrino and Louisville are fair and honest. There is no reason Long should be removed from the discussion of Louisville as long as there is no evidence suggesting Long still has an ax to grind with Petrino. We are more than a few years removed from Petrino’s last stint at Arkansas, so as long as the water has passed under the bridge, Long should remain on the selection committee if and when Louisville is discussed.

Jeff Long steps down as CFB Playoff selection committee chairman

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After wrapping up his second season as chairman of the College Football Playoff selection committee, Jeff Long is stepping down. Long is expected to remain on the selection committee, and has two years remaining on his term.

According to multiple reports on Tuesday, including one from George Schroeder of USA Today, College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock confirmed the news regarding the only chairman of the selection committee in the first two seasons under the new playoff structure.

“Jeff was a terrific chairman,” Hancock said. “He was the perfect choice to be the first chairman. He was a very effective leader inside the committee room and also an honest communicator outside it.”

Long was tasked with being the voice of the selection committee, which included making weekly appearances on the weekly rankings show aired by ESPN once the selection committee got to work releasing its weekly rankings. At times Long offered conflicting reasoning and logic behind the committee’s fresh rankings, but it was a difficult job for a brand new system that had to be ironed out along the way. Hancock noted the idea of the chairman was originally to only have someone hold the position for one or two years, so the development of the Arkansas Athletics Director no longer occupying the role is not surprising, and should not be seen as a startling development.

A new chairperson is expected to be named from the current selection committee in the next month.

Barry Alvarez explains why Big 12 only had itself to blame in CFB Playoff

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The Big 12 shot itself in the foot when it came to the College Football Playoff last season. The conference of one true champion ended up with two co-champions in Baylor and TCU, and apparently that created a problem for the College Football Playoff selection committee. That is what Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez says at least.

“One of our main criteria is conference championship,” Alvarez said at the Big Ten spring meetings, per Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com. “You can’t give two teams in a conference the conference championship. You can’t give two teams credit for that.”

Well, why not? Wisconsin claimed a share of the Big Ten title in 2010 along with Michigan State and Ohio State. Wisconsin also claimed a share of the Big Ten crown in 1998 along with Ohio State and Michigan. And in 1993 with the Buckeyes. The Big Ten had four co-champions in 1990. So yes, you can have multiple conference champions if your conference allows for it. That is not for Alvarez or anyone outside of a conference to decide. Of course, the Big 12 knows it only hurt itself.

The comments from Alvarez echo statements previously made this spring by Arkansas Athletics director and College Football Playoff selection committee chairperson Jeff Long. While in the booth for the telecast of the Arkansas spring game, Long commented on the weight the 13th game played by some schools affected the selection committee’s decision-making when determining which four teams would be invited to participate and compete in the first College Football Playoff. Ohio State walloped Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, vaulting them into the four-team field ahead of both Big 12 co-champions.

The Big 12 has taken measures to give their conference champion a better pedigree for the selection committee by instituting a clear tie-breaking process, but there is still no extra game with a Big 12 championship game. Let’s see if that makes as big a difference as the Big 12 seems to think it will.