Former Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long hasn’t had the best of luck with Coastal Carolina of the Sun Belt Conference.
Three years ago, the Chanticleers rolled into Fayetteville and nearly upset the Hogs for a loss that would have rivaled the San Jose State debacle of a couple years later. Arkansas, then under Bret Bielema, barely squeaked by 39-38.
But that near-upset was one of the motivating factors that ultimately led to the firing of Bielema (and, by extension, Jeff Long) a few weeks later.
Within months, though, Jeff Long snared his new gig as Kansas’ AD. He made a splash in his first year by hiring a fairly washed up Les Miles. Since then, Miles hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. He hasn’t gotten close to returning KU to the relatively glorious status it enjoyed under Mark Mangino in the mid ’00s.
In 2019, Kansas lost to Coastal Carolina at home. But then they did sort of well by winning three games, before falling apart down the stretch.
With the renewed emphasis on recruiting and developing four-year players as opposed to JUCO players, KU is as young as ever this season. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrongly did go wrong for the Jayhawks early on in their home opener to Coastal Carolina, falling behind 28-3 at halftime. KU eventually lost the game 38-23.
That first half got so bad that Jason Brown, the former JUCO coach of Arkansas star Rakeem Boyd, had to hop on Twitter and call out Jeff Long for the mess that KU football has found itself in.
“I promise: I would do better than this at KU,” Brown said from his living quarters, staring (we imagine) in disbelief at the screen before him. “C’mon, Mr. Long, you better too. It’s a damn shame. 21-0 to f**king Coastal Carolina and you’re a Power 5 school with the best new facilities in the country? Holy f**k. It’s all who you know; it ain’t what you know. Remember that.”
“Hate me now, love me later.”
Don’t expect Brown to get that job any time soon, though.
Brown doesn’t quite inspire Power 5 confidence with the litany of issues that plagued him at the end of his time coaching Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas. He resigned after being charged with four counts of blackmail and four counts of identity theft, as well as two counts of criminal false communication.
But Hog fans should also be thankful Jason Brown helped Rakeem Boyd get his life straight after Boyd essentially flunked out of Texas A&M. When Boyd arrived at Independence for the 2017 season, he knew his young career was at a crossroads. At the time, Jason Brown’s tough love was what he needed.
“He was an awesome coach,” Boyd said on “The Hog Pod.”
“Man, when I messed up he’d get on me and say something but I’d get mad too — and we just wouldn’t say nothing to each other sometimes. But he knows when I was mad, he’d give me that ball. So when I got mad it was — well, we ain’t really had too many arguments.”
Here’s evidence of how Boyd began to thrive again in junior college and get his confidence back:
“In JUCO you really got to be consistent,” Boyd continued. “You got to steady yourself and maintain what you maintain and focus on what you focusing on. In JUCO there’s really a lot of throwed-off people — you know what I mean? And a lot of people wouldn’t understand it.”
Boyd said it “took a lot” to get through this time there. “You’re in the middle of nowhere. You ain’t got your family. You with a different family. You go to sleep by yourself every night. For me, I’m about 11 hours away from Houston, from home.”
Some Hog fans familiar with Jason Brown from the Netflix series “Last Chance U” will find him abhorrent, but others will look past the constant cursing and self-promotion and find something admirable.
No doubt, all are thankful he helped Boyd get his mojo back.
Make sure to check out Boyd’s in-depth conversation about surviving Hurricane Katrina, almost flipping from Arkansas to TCU and more here:
Here’s Jeff Long talking with Bo Mattingly about being fired at Arkansas just a couple months after it happened:
And here’s Les Miles, wearing a mask exactly as well as he coaches football: