Even if we suck as a football team this year, I am incredibly proud of the leadership Jeff Long has given us. Good article John
Since pulling the trigger on the Bobby Petrino dismissal two weeks ago, Arkansas AD Jeff Long has received support from the vast majority of the Razorback fanbase, from some cash-tossing big boosters, and now from members of the UA football team.
Because of Long’s willingness to talk with the team about the situation, quarterback Tyler Wilson has been singing the praises of his school’s AD:
“He acted like he was the man in charge, and he is. I appreciate that from him. He’s an athletic director, not a football coach, but he has been (a coach) in the past. I think that’s great. I’m proud of the leadership he’s displayed. Absolutely.”
Wilson brings up an interesting point. As athletic departments have evolved into multimillion dollar business entities, more and more of the men (and women) running those departments have come up through the sales, marketing or accounting ranks. There are fewer and fewer ex-coaches at the tops of big-time athletic departments today because schools want proven business people overseeing what amounts to big business. Hard to blame them.
But in situations like this with Petrino — scandals, coaching changes, etc — it’s probably good to have an ex-coach at the helm. Long knows how to talk to a team. He knows what the men (or women) in a locker room are looking for in terms of answers from him.
Long has proven to be the best of both worlds for UA — an ex-coach (at Miami of Ohio, Rice, Duke, NC State and Michigan) and a seasoned administrator. This seems to be especially true in terms of dealing with the current football team in the midst of this current upheaval.
Now if he can just find the right coach to finish what Petrino started.