FORT SMITH, Ark. — For University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long, things could not be better as far as the athletic programs at the Fayetteville institution are concerned.
“Our bowl record isn't what we would like it to be, but we did win the Cotton Bowl last year — and we are excited about that Cotton Bowl victory,” said Long, who was the keynote speaker at Friday afternoon's Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at the Fort Smith Convention Center. “We had 15 of our 19 athletic teams qualify for NCAA postseason play. That's the best in our history. We have four programs which haven't made it to postseason play, but we feel that we're very close to having those four teams make it. We had six of our teams finish in the Top 10. We had 69 All-Americans.”
Of course, Long felt the need to discuss the school's decision to fire Coach Bobby Petrino after what happened after last season's football successful season.
“It was a very unfortunate set of circumstances, but we don't dwell on it any more,” he said. “But I will share with you that the people across the state of Arkansas either came up to me personally or shared in some other way their appreciation about the decision. The days leading up to the decision, we didn't even know how it would go, but I will tell you that the support we got means a lot to this institution.”