Long's 'leadership' prompts $1.25 million gift to UA center


Photographs by Michael Woods

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long addresses the media during a press conference April 5 to answer questions about Bobby Petrino's motorcycle accident on April 1. The Reynolds Foundation cited Long's leadership as the reason for a $1.25 million gift to the university to go towards construction of the new Student-Athlete Success Center on campus.

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long's decision to fire head football coach Bobby Petrino in the wake of a scandal prompted a gift of $1.25 million to the college's Student-Athlete Success Center.

Citing "the courageous leadership" of Long, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation will make the donation in two separate gifts to the university, according to a release from the school.

The foundation approved a $1 million gift to assist in the funding of the Student-Athlete Success Center, a proposed academic center listed in the athletic department's master facility plan. Fred W. Smith, the Reynolds Foundation Board Chair, is also pledging $250,000 to the same cause.

University of Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long announces his decision to fire Razorbacks football coach Bobby Petrino on Tuesday.

Jeff Long - Bobby Petrino Firing

Video available Watch Video

Inside the Petrino Crash

PETRINO STATEMENT: “I was informed in writing today at 5:45 p.m. that I was being terminated as head football coach at the University of Arkansas. The simplest response I have is: I’m sorry. These two words seem very inadequate. But that is my heart. All I have been able to think about is the number of people I’ve let down by making selfish decisions. I’ve taken a lot of criticism in the past. Some deserved, some not deserved. This time, I have no one to blame but myself." CONTINUE READING HIS STATEMENT

Long fired Petrino on April 10 after an investigation into the coach following a motorcycle crash on April 1. Long placed Petrino on paid administrative leave on April 5 after it was revealed that Petrino had an "previous inappropriate relationship" with Student-Athlete Development Coordinator Jessica Dorrell, who was also to be found riding on the motorcycle with Petrino at the time of the crash.

It was also discovered that Petrino hired Dorrell to her current position in March over 158 other candidates and gave her an additional $20,000. Dorrell used the additional fund to purchase a black Acura, according to the termination letter Long sent to Petrino, later released to multiple media outlets.

Dorrell is currently on paid administrative leave as the university further discusses her situation, Long and Chancellor G. David Gearhart told Arkansas Online on Friday.

This isn't the gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to make its way to the university. The foundation gave a $10 million challenge grant in 2010 for the estimated $40.35 million football operations center that's currently under construction. The foundation was also the main donor for the renovation of the Fayetteville stadium, which is now named after Donald W. Reynolds.

Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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Lauralynn says...

So...did you even READ the caption under Jeff Long's picture? Was Jeff Long in a motorcycle accident too?

Posted 17 April 2012, 2:51 p.m. Suggest removal

gandk says...

It pays to cover your @ss.

Posted 17 April 2012, 3:27 p.m. Suggest removal

RaylanGivens says...

It pays to have integrity and character

Posted 17 April 2012, 3:48 p.m. Suggest removal

HarleyOwner says...

@ Lauralynn, you're right. It must be a cover up. Jeff Long had the accident and it's being blamed on Petrino. I'm glad the Ar. Dem/Gaz came out with the real deal. Lol

Posted 17 April 2012, 4:45 p.m. Suggest removal

T6 says...

I commend Long but anyone can see the reason for this donation is the perceived notion that contributions might slack off because of the Petrino scandal. So the donation is to show Hey we still confidence in the program.......

Posted 17 April 2012, 5:06 p.m. Suggest removal

Oldearkie says...

H Owner: so was Dorrell riding with Long or Petrino or was she there to just direct traffic? Methinks Long did well and integrity pays off.

Posted 17 April 2012, 8:15 p.m. Suggest removal

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