New KU athletic director enjoys moment with his family

Fanny Long, wife of new University of Kansas athletic director Jeff Long, left, is greeted by Susan Girod, wife of University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod as the two sit for Jeff Long's introductory news conference on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the Lied Center Pavilion.

New Kansas athletic director Jeff Long understands the importance of family.

Long, who has spent more than two decades in athletics, knows how hard it can be for those working in this field to spend time with their respective families. That’s why Long told Kansas coaches to not change any vacation plans in order to attend his introductory press conference Wednesday morning at the Lied Center Pavilion.

“I specifically said to our coaches and staff, ‘Do not change your recruiting plans, do not change your vacation plans to be here today.’” Long said. “I know how precious the family time is for coaches and staff, so they don’t need to be here for this piece of Kansas history. It is more important that they be there for their families.”

David Beaty, who is entering his fourth year as the head football coach, was one of those coaches that Long told to stay on vacation.

“He called and I insisted he remain with his family,” Long said. “He has very little time to spend with them. I respected him wanting to be here, but I know it is more important for him to be with his family.”

In fact, Long plans to enjoy a family vacation himself before starting the job on Aug. 1. Long will be heading to Yellowstone National Park later this month with his wife, Fanny, and his two daughters. Long is slated to start his new position on Aug. 1, which happens to be the 26-year anniversary of his wedding.

“I want to thank the Chancellor for this,” Long said. “I had previously planned a vacation with my daughters. He’s allowing me to do that, and then I’m going to hit the ground Aug. 1, on my anniversary.”

Long recognized his family early in the press conference, thanking them for their support. Stephanie, who is the older daughter, is currently in graduate school at the University of Arkansas, which is the university Long most recently served as athletic director from 2008 through 2017.

Christina, meanwhile, is a journalism student at the University of Missouri, which should continue a friendly rivalry between father and daughter.

“It started when I was in Arkansas and she was in Missouri,” Long said. “You will find that my younger child has quite a personality. She and I will get after each other pretty good. There will be competition right here in the Long family between KU and Missouri, I guarantee you that.”

In addition, because both of his daughters are in college, Long knew this move would be different than previous ones.

Prior to his press conference, Long walked down Mass St. and had a cup of coffee. He tried to get a grasp of his new town, a place he plans to remain in for the foreseeable future with his wife.

“Our next spot needed to be a place that we both could be very happy as a couple,” Long said. “I was overwhelmed and really excited about Lawrence, Kansas.”

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