FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long was reportedly one of three finalists for the same position at Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News.
But Long took to social media Sunday night to say he is not in consideration.
“I’m proud to be a Vice Chancellor and the Director of Athletics at the U of A,” Long said during a series of eight Twitter posts. “Further, I’m not seeking a position or engaged in the search process of another University.”
The response came after Long was linked to the Longhorns, who are searching for outgoing athletic director DeLoss Dodds’ replacement.
The newspaper, citing sources, indicated Long, West Virginia’s Oliver Luck and Arizona State’s Steve Patterson were among the finalists for the position. Luck — who is described as the leading candidate to replace Dodds — has started the interview process according to the Dallas Morning News.
The newspaper also reported that Long and Patterson were scheduled to interview with an eight-member advisory committee.
Texas’ interest in Long wouldn’t be shocking. The athletic director’s visibility has climbed after being named the first chairman of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee last month. Long and the committee will select the four teams playing for the national title in 2014.
Long was asked on Oct. 17 if he planned to parlay the high-profile job with the CFP into other opportunities and said that wasn’t his motivation.
“I’m not interested in listening to anybody about anything,” Long said. “This is my job. This is a job that I’m excited to lead and a program I’m excited to lead. And you know what, looking at what we’ve done the last five years, I’m very proud of that. I’m looking forward to continuing.”
He reiterated it via Twitter after the Texas report surfaced.
“Chancellor (David) Gearhart is a tremendous leader and a man of high integrity; it is a privilege to work for and with him,” Long said via Twitter. “I have also great appreciation for the support of President (Donald) Bobbitt and our Board of Trustees. Together we’ve made critically important decisions to advance our athletics program during my time w/U of A and will have more in the future.”
Long — who first gained national recognition for his handling of Bobby Petrino’s firing in April 2012 — had his Arkansas contract extended through 2017 last October. The new agreement, which came while Long was in the process of a coaching search that eventually led to Bret Bielema’s hire last December, raised his salary to $900,000 with opportunities to earn more through incentives.
Long’s contract extension also included a liquidate damages provision, which would call for athletic director to pay the university $1 million if he were to leave for another position in 2013-14. The sum drops to $500,000 in 2014-15, $250,000 in 2015-16, and $100,000 for the final year of the agreement in 2016-17.
“We have a tremendous amount of work to do to move our entire program forward and with the support of Razorback fans we will succeed,” Long also said in a statement released by the Razorbacks on Sunday night. “I have an outstanding team of coaches and staff to work with and have a deep appreciation for their work with our student-athletes. … I am excited to lead this program and I am energized by the prospects of providing the student-athletes and coaches the facilities and resources they need to compete and excel in the SEC and nationally.”