Below is the commentary from THV11’s Craig O’Neill on the University of Arkansas’s decision to fire Jeff Long as Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics after nearly a decade in the position.
“Jeff Long was a nice guy. I knew that the first time I met him.
He was always available for the interview.
Accommodating and forthcoming and never dismissive, even in the midst of emotionally charged press conferences.
He hired what he thought would be good coaches with good records, and he represented the SEC and university well in helping set up the college playoff system.
He was a good corporate citizen. So, what happened?
Quite simply he lacked the passion, the kind that made every game, every play, life or death no matter the sport. Your coaches need to feel it. Your players then need to play with it. Your fans pick up on it, and the big stadium you hope to fill is brought to a boil, and the state is unified, and teams overachieve.
The late Frank Broyles knew this intuitively. He cornered the market on undying devotion and raw emotion.
The one state one team concept only works if the state gets emotionally charged every time the hogs step on the field. The court or the track.
Jeff Long was the accountant who could gladly explain why you owe money on your taxes and you'd understand.
But the University of Arkansas needs an evangelist, who enflames hearts, envisions championships, pits Arkansas against the world, and calls the hogs at the drop of a hog hat.
A man who raises your hopes and then our athletes raise the trophies.”