Kansas fired football coach Les Miles after a 2013 investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior by Miles during his time at LSU surfaced to the public. Now the man who hired Miles to lead the Jayhawks, athletic director Jeff Long, is out as well. Long confirmed to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd that he was relieved of his duties on Tuesday night.
“I’m pretty upset, but I know how the world works. I’m just sick because I tried to do everything the right way with high ethics and morals and doing the right thing for young people. That’s the only thing that disappoints me,” Long said.
In a letter to the Kansas community, chancellor Douglas Girod wrote “I want to wholeheartedly thank Jeff for his service to KU. When we hired Jeff, he was charged with modernizing our athletics department and ensuring our coaches and student-athletes continue to have the resources they need to succeed. This was no easy task, and he far exceeded our expectations.
“Jeff guided Kansas Athletics to progress in student-athlete healthcare, diversity and inclusion, and student-athlete academic achievement, all while managing significant challenges not of his own making,” Girod said. “Most important, Jeff was unwaveringly dedicated to students, coaches and staff, and he represented KU with integrity and compassion. For that, we thank him, and we wish him the very best.”
The tide on Long retaining his job seemed to turn Tuesday afternoon when it seemed he would remain in control and be allowed to make the next hire. However, when asked during a Zoom call about his history of football hires (Miles, Bobby Petrino, Bret Bielema) he became defensive.
When Long asked how those hires had been deficient, a media member replied, “on the field.” Kansas alums and fans reacted negatively on local radio and social media after the Zoom conference.
Long was hired by Kansas in July 2018. He turned around and brought Miles in as his splash hire four months later, replacing previous Jayhawks coach David Beaty. Long, who was the AD at Arkansas until 2017, reportedly had Miles as a coaching target for the Razorbacks in 2012, leading to a new contract between Miles and LSU in 2013.
Miles was 3-18 in two seasons, but he also arrived at a program that hadn’t enjoyed a winning season in more than a decade. Performance was not the reason Miles was fired, however, and the apparent lack of due diligence by Long was too significant to allow the AD to remain in his position.
Long was earning $1.5 million annually at Kansas, making him the second-highest paid AD in the BIg 12. He had $3.5 million left on his contract.
Stadium’s Brett McMurphy first reported Long’s firing.