He's been named one of five finalists for the 2012 SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily Athletic Director of the Year.
The Athletic Director of the Year will be announced and recognized at the 2012 Sports Business Awards at the New York Marriott Marquis at Times Square in New York City on Wednesday, May 23.
The other finalists for Athletic Director of the Year include Bill Bradshaw (Temple), Dave Brandon (Michigan), Mark Hollis (Michigan State) and Ian McCaw (Baylor).
"We are proud that SportsBusiness Journal has formally recognized what we have known for some time, Jeff Long is one of the top athletic directors in the nation," Chancellor G. David Gearhart said. "As a vice chancellor and athletic director, Jeff has helped our University flourish in many important ways including providing leadership for one of the nation's most successful intercollegiate athletics programs. Under his direction, Razorback Athletics is achieving unprecedented success and meeting its mission to assist in the development of student-athletes to their fullest potential through intercollegiate athletics."
Long is in his fourth year at the University of Arkansas. Since his arrival in 2008, Arkansas has captured 10 conference championships and advanced to 56 post-season competitions, including the school's first Bowl Championship Series appearance in football, while drawing more than a million fans annually to campus to cheer on the Razorbacks. In 2010-11, Arkansas finished 24th in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup, including second among schools with 19 or fewer sports. It was the first time in school history that the Razorbacks have finished in the top 25 three times in a four year span.
In 2010-11, Razorback student-athletes posted an average GPA of 3.04 marking the third-consecutive year the average exceeded 3.0. Arkansas had 608 SEC and Department Academic Honor Roll selections and more than 77 Razorbacks earned their degree. Arkansas also increased its graduation success rate to 73 percent marking the sixth-consecutive year the rate increased.
The commitment to student-athlete development was also clear with the expansion of the Razorback Leadership Academy and record community service. Razorback student-athletes have already volunteered more than 3,500 hours for 100 agencies, organizations and schools in 2011-12.
In the fall of 2012, Long worked to secure the financial future of the program instituting the Razorback Seat Value Plan which resulted in more than $6.5 million in additional annual support. Arkansas was recently recognized as one of only 22 Division I-A athletic programs that are financially self-sustaining and operate without state funding or rely on a student-athletic fee. This past November, Arkansas was named by Forbes Magazine as the No. 8 most valuable college football team in the nation. The Razorbacks were valued at $89 million, an increase of 59 percent from the previous $56 million value released in 2009.
In October 2011, Long unveiled a comprehensive Athletic Facilities Master Plan, a road map for the future. The progressive $320 million will include the construction or renovation of athletic facilities for all 19 sports. Arkansas officially broke ground on a new $40 million football operations center last November.
Long is also helping shape the future of intercollegiate athletics within the SEC and nationally. He is a member of the NCAA Championships Cabinet and the Division IA Athletic Directors Executive Committee.