Long Impresses UA Coaches, Leaders

FAYETTEVILLE -- They met him for the first time just a few minutes before his introductory press conference, but Arkansas' coaches liked what they heard from men's athletic director-designate Jeff Long on Tuesday.

"He seems like a real nice guy," track coach John McDonnell said.

"I like the experience he brings," baseball coach Dave Van Horn said. "I have double emotions today because I'm real sad that Coach (Frank) Broyles is stepping down, but I'm glad the search is over. We've all been wondering about it."

Robert Cox, Arkansas' tennis coach, said about Long, "He's very impressive, very upbeat and very professional. I never thought it would end with coach Broyles -- someone I've worked under for 20 years -- but I think (Long) will be fine for the transition in bringing in a new era."

Houston Nutt had to get to a meeting after the press conference, but he said prior to it about Long, "He's a nice fellow. It's just hard to say after five minutes, but he's real personable and seems like a team player. He's excited to be at the University of Arkansas."

Arkansas women's athletic director Bev Lewis, who was rotating off the 56-person NCAA Management Council as Long was joining it last year, said, "We overlapped just a little there. He's going to do a great job. He has a great national reputation and good experience at major programs. I think he'll hit the ground running."

Van Horn, just back from speaking at a Razorback Club in San Francisco, cited Long's experience in the Big 12 Conference at Oklahoma as "the thing I like most."

Having left a successful baseball program at Nebraska to join Arkansas several years ago, Van Horn said, "It's different any time you go to a new place, and it's always a challenge. You can hear about the new place, but you kinda have to see it. It's like bringing a recruit in."

McDonnell said he felt for Broyles, who "has loved Arkansas for 50 years." But he added, "It seems like Jeff Long is up to the task. I think Arkansas is a gold mine. The facilities are already in place. Jeff has experience in the Big East, a difficult conference."

B. Alan Sugg, UA president, called Long a genuine person who "will work well with our coaches and staff, and particularly with Arkansans."

Chancellor John White said, "Jeff's human dimension was compelling to me. He views coach Broyles as a tremendous asset. He has enough self-confidence not to be threatened. The worst thing you could do is pretend coach Broyles is not around, and there's no way Jeff will shunt him off in the corner. Of all the people we talked to, Jeff had the most sensitivity to this issue."

White added, "What others might see as a liability, Jeff sees as an opportunity. He sees coach Broyles' role as very supportive and very additive."

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