New coach at Pitt takes charge

BY MIKE KOVAK, Staff writer

PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Steelers just keep on giving to the Universityof Pittsburgh. First, the Steelers agreed to share half of the luxurious UPMC practice
facility on Pittsburgh's South Side and also permitted the Panthers toco-habitate at Heinz Field.Now, they have helped Pitt land a new athletic director.

Chancellor Mark Nordenberg announced the hiring of Jeffrey Long as the Panthers' athletic director Friday morning. Long, 43, was recommended for the position in February by Kevin Colbert, the Steelers director of football operations.

"(Long) was the top choice of the search committee and he became my top
choice as well," Nordenberg said. "He was first brought to my attention by
Kevin Colbert, who happened to be Jeff's college coach."

Long, who will begin his duties by June 15, most recently served as the University of Oklahoma's senior associate athletic director. He played football and baseball at Division III Ohio Wesleyan University - where Colbert was baseball coach - before embarking on a long list of jobs at a number of big-name schools.

He held football coaching positions at Miami (Ohio), Rice, North Carolina State, Michigan and Duke, where he was let go by Steve Spurrier. It was while working under legendary coach Bo Schembechler at Michigan, where Long realized he'd rather be on the administrative side of things.

"After working one year for Bo Schembechler, I decided to make a change,"
Long joked.

He worked his way up to associate athletic director for the Wolverines then took the same position at Virginia Tech. Shortly afterward, he spent two years as Eastern Kentucky's athletic director. Then, he got a call to jump to Oklahoma and did so in 2001.

"It's been a long, convoluted journey," Long said.

Nordenberg and Pitt are counting on Long's experience to help ease some difficult times for the athletic department.

Former athletic director Steve Pederson (Nebraska) and men's basketball coach Ben Howland (UCLA) left for "dream jobs" within the last six months. Two weeks ago, despite helping to oversee the hiring of new men's and women's basketball coaches, Mark Boehm left his post as interim athletic director to join Pederson at Nebraska.