The other shoe has dropped. A day after the University of Kansas athletic department agreed to pay embattled head football coach Les Miles nearly $2 million to leave his post, athletic director Jeff Long has likewise been let go — with a $1.4 million settlement.
Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger tweeted Thursday that KU alum and donor Kurt Watson has been named interim athletic director.
Long, who hired Miles in 2018, repeated his claim Tuesday that he had no knowledge from Miles or otherwise that the coach had engaged in sexual misconduct with female students while at his previous job — a 10-plus year stint as Louisiana State University's head coach.
Related: KU, Miles Settle for $1.9M; AD Denies Prior Knowledge
On Wednesday, Long touted his hiring credentials, even as he announced an outside firm would be retained to help him find Miles' successor. “I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the University of Kansas, or any university, for an outside entity to totally control a search process,” Long said, as reported by The Topeka Capital-Journal. “I’m very comfortable and confident in my years in college football. I’m confident that I can conduct a search. I’m confident that I can find the next leader of the University of Kansas.”
Long, who took the Kansas job in August 2018, also served as athletic director Arkansas (2008-2017) and Pittsburgh (2003-2007), the Capital-Journal pointed out. Bobby Petrino and Bret Bielema were both eventually fired as Arkansas head football coaches, with Petrino’s ousting notably tied to a workplace favoritism scandal involving the head coach’s hiring of his then-mistress.
As reported by ABC affiliate WBRZ in Baton Rouge, La., Long's separation agreement with Kansas will pay him $1.375 million over the remainder of 2021, as well as his remaining salary and employee benefits for the rest of March.
"Last night, Chancellor [Douglas] Girod and I met and both agreed that it was in the best interest of our student-athletes and program for me to step down as of today," Long said in a statement. "It is not easy, but I leave KU with a heavy heart and profound confidence that I have always acted in the best interests of Kansas Athletics. I have done everything in my control to move Kansas Athletics forward in a positive manner, that’s what makes this most difficult."
"Earlier today, Director of Athletics Jeff Long announced he is stepping down from his position," Girod said in a statement Wednesday. "Jeff and I spoke at length last night, and while I know he would have loved to stay here many more years, I respect his selfless decision to step down so that we can move Kansas Athletics in a different direction."
Complete statements by Long and Girod can be found at the Kansas athletics website.