Arkansas Taps Pitt's Jeff Long As Successor

FAYETTEVILLE -- A few steps in front of Arkansas' new athletic director Jeff Long, Arkansas Chancellor John White highlighted the previous stops listed on Long's resume.

But Long didn't listen the entire time.

Midway through, Long leaned to his right and whispered something into the ear of longtime Razorback athletic director Frank Broyles. The two shared a laugh. Expect them to share many more conversations and chuckles throughout Long's tenure in Fayetteville.

Inside the Raymond Miller Hall of Champions, Long wasn't shy Tuesday describing how he viewed his ideal future relationship with Broyles.

"I take great comfort in knowing that Coach Broyles is going to be assuming another position within the university," said Long, who will officially take over on Jan. 1. "I feel his support will be vital to us moving forward. Having him within the university, and just a stone's throw away, I can call upon his expertise and call upon his experience.

"That is very comforting and exciting to me."

For now, Broyles is still Arkansas' acting athletic director. After Jan. 1, Broyles will slide into an undetermined role as an athletic director emeritus. Long, who has been the University of Pittsburgh's athletic director since 2003, will head back to Pittsburgh for about a month before arriving back in Arkansas.

After returning, White said Long would serve as an interim adviser to him for the remainder of 2007. To White, the role didn't mean Long would work over at his office in Arkansas' administration building.

Long will spend time traveling the state. He'll meet with Razorback Clubs. He'll speak with boosters. He'll stick his head into restaurants all over the state and greet fans. He'll sit down with coahces and athletic department employees.

He'll try to put a name to as many faces as he can.

"Particularly what I want him to do is get around the state and meet a lot of the supporters of the Razorback program," White said. "He needs to be here on the campus. He needs to get to know the people here.

"When Jan. 1 rolls around, I don't want him starting from ground zero. I want to make sure that he's onboard and fully understands what the opportunities are going to be. Then he'll be ready to put his agenda in immediately."

Long's agenda is sure to clash with what Broyles has done in some ways. That's inevitable. Broyles is an 82-year-old former football coach. Long is a 48-year-old new-age athletic director.

But that doesn't mean Long won't consult Broyles on many issues. Long spoke at length about the respect he holds for Broyles, who he called before accepting White's offer. Long cherished that Broyles "told me I had his full support" during that phone call.

Broyles made some brief comments during Tuesday's news conference but wasn't available for questions. He did address the Longs directly at one point.

"Jeff and Fanny (Long's wife), I wish you and all your family the same charmed life that I have had," Broyles said.

Arkansas' first new athletic director in 34 years spoke as if Broyles would have some kind of impact on whether that comes true.

"He has a wealth of knowledge, a wealth of experience," Long said. "This is a university that he has loved for some 50 years. So there's a tremendous amount I can gain from Coach Broyles. I'm excited to really sit down and talk to about many things (that have happened) over the years.

"There are many things that Coach (Broyles) and I have to talk about."

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