New Kansas AD Jeff Long: 'someday down the road we're going to win the Big 12' in football

New Kansas athletic director Jeff Long answers questions during a news conference in Lawrence, Kan., Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

You’ve got to give Jeff Long credit for being optimistic.

The former Arkansas athletic director was introduced as Kansas’ new AD on Wednesday and he didn’t show any fear in laying out what he thinks the Kansas football program can achieve.

“Big picture wise I think for our program our goal is set to reach a bowl game,” Long said. “So we’ll strive to reach a bowl game and once we reach that level we won’t stop there. We’ll move on to more games and ultimately I’m not shy in saying someday down the road we’re going win the Big 12 championship. We’ve done it here at Kansas in the past and it’s something we’re certainly going to work every day and night to do.”

Kansas has won 20 games over the last 9 seasons

Kansas, to be quite frank, has become one of the laughingstocks of college football. The Jayhawks haven’t been to a bowl since going to the Insight Bowl after the 2008 season. In the nine seasons since that bowl game Kansas has won 20 games with four permanent head coaches and an interim coach.

So just getting to a bowl game is quite an accomplishment in itself. A Big 12 title would be an astronomical achievement.

Kansas has never won a Big 12 title — it tied for the North division title in 2007 but lost to Missouri and didn’t go to the title game — and its last conference championship came in the Big 8 in 1968. That’s 50 years ago this season. If Kansas wins a Big 12 title under Long’s watch he should be immediately inducted into the school’s hall of fame.

Is 2018 a ‘prove it’ year for David Beaty?

Kansas coach David Beaty is entering his fourth year with the program. He has three wins in three seasons with the Jayhawks. Twenty wins in nine seasons is not good. Three wins in three seasons is really, really, really not good.

It’s also always awkward when an athletic director inherits a program with a coach in place who hasn’t had much success. Long can be loyal — he stuck with Bret Bielema at Arkansas after hiring him away from Wisconsin — so Beaty should have every opportunity to win him over. But it’s also fair to think that a two or three-win season in 2018 isn’t going to cut it.

“I’ve had good conversations with Coach Beaty,” Long said. “Looking forward to seeing his operation, understanding how he goes about business on the inside and then certainly they’re preparing for their first game on September 1 [against FCS Nicholls State]. We’ll really start to know the progress of the program on September 1 as the season begins.”

 

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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