UPDATE: University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz has
announced the members of a committee that will help in the search for a new athletic director.
Jeff Long was fired as athletic director last week
after almost 10 years on the job and will take a severance deal worth up to $4.6 million through 2022, offset by any earnings in a new job. Steinmetz said there'd been a loss of confidence in Long. His decision followed a closed meeting with the UA Board of Trustees, a majority of whom also wanted to see Long dismissed. The primary reason was the poor performance of the football team under Bret Bielema,
in his fifth year and with a losing SEC record under a contract that runs through 2020 and has a multi-million buyout clause negotiated by Long.
The UA release on
the committee quotes Steinmetz:
“I sought to assemble a committee representative of the university, spanning past and present in our academics and athletics history, with knowledge and perspective about Arkansas, and, notably an appreciation of the source of pride the Razorbacks are for the state of Arkansas,” Steinmetz said. “I have great faith in the approach that each of these advisors will bring to the process and I’d like to thank these folks for their time in this endeavor.”
Steinmetz formed the committee in consultation with Julie Cromer Peoples, interim director of athletics. He has indicated he wishes to move the search along as quickly as possible.
Members of the public wishing to contact members of the committee are encouraged to send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
* Lance Harter
, the head coach of the Razorback womens
' track and field and cross country teams.
* Ben Hyneman,
a Jonesboro banker who's chair of the UA Board of Trustees. Hyneman, sources tell me, was one of Long's last defenders on the Board.
* Gerald Jordan,
the faculty athletics representative and associate professor of journalism. Jordan is black and the supplied biography notes his work in recruitment
of minority students at UA.
* Stacy Lewis,
a pro golfer and UA graduate.
* Peter MacKeith,
dean of architecture at UA. He's called the only UA dean with intercollegiate athletic experience at the Division I level. He was captain of the soccer team at the University of Virginia and later an assistant coach.
* Rick Massey
of Little Rock, a lawyer
and partner in Westrock Capital Partners among other financial ventures, he's a member of the Razorback Foundation Board of Directors. It's the private nonprofit that raises money for athletics.
* Bill Montgomery of Dallas
. A former star quarterback at UA, he's had a career in investing in New York and Dallas and has worked in university fund campaigns.
2018 SEASON NOT
E: The UA announced today that the Hogs will play Ole Miss Oct. 13
in War Memorial Stadium
in Little Rock. That's the last contracted game for the Hogs in Little Rock. Jeff Long had angered some members of the UA Board by trying to get out of that last contracted game and play all future home games in Fayetteville, which has more seats and more private suites and the potential to produce $2 million more or so for the treasury than a Little Rock game. Gov. Asa Hutchinson has made it clear, however, that he'd like to see the Hogs continue to play a game in Little Rock every year. No announcement was made beyond filling in the name of the promised SEC opponent for the Little Rock date.
Had Long still been athletic
director I think you can bet, had any game been played in Little Rock in 2018, it would have been with Vanderbilt, not a historic rival like Ole Miss.
From the release:
“We look forward to our return to Central Arkansas to take on Ole Miss at War Memorial Stadium in October 2018,” Interim Athletics Director Julie Cromer Peoples said. “I know Razorback fans will be excited and ready to cheer on our team in a key Southeastern Conference Western Division matchup. Arkansas and Ole Miss first met on the football field more than a century ago and we look forward to the next chapter in this rivalry, in a venue that has hosted so many important games in this series.”
“We are thrilled to have an SEC game back at War Memorial next fall, especially one that pits the Razorbacks against Ole Miss,” Arkansas Director of Parks and Tourism Kane Webb said. “Given the tradition and decades-long rivalry the Hogs have had with the Rebels, including some great games in Little Rock, it’s a fitting match-up as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the stadium. I look forward to a festive atmosphere, a great turnout, and a great time in the capital city.”
“I am both excited and grateful that the leadership of the University of Arkansas has chosen our longtime rival Ole Miss as the game at War Memorial Stadium in 2018,” War Memorial Stadium Commission Chairman Kevin Crass said. “As we celebrate the 70th year of the stadium, we need the fans in this part of the state to support the Hogs by assuring a sellout.”
A funster suggests Houston Dale Nutt and his attorney, Tom Mars, as honorary captains when the Hogs and Ole Miss square off.