It’s been a rough couple of weeks for University of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, but he got some good news this week.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation today announced it will donate $1 million in honor of Long’s recent leadership regarding the firing of head fooball Coach Bobby Petrino. The foundation’s chair, Fred W. Smith, added an additional $250,000 as a personal donation.
“The courageous leadership demonstrated by Jeff Long in the course of recent events has further affirmed our confidence in his leadership and his vision for intercollegiate athletics at the University of Arkansas,” said Smith. “Mr. Long acted with integrity and with the best interests of Razorback student-athletes and the University of Arkansas in mind.”
The gifts have been earmarked for the planned Student-Athlete Success Center, a multipurpose study center and dining hall for use by the university’s 460 students participating in intercollegiate athletics, and to rename the university’s existing student-athlete development program as the Jeff Long Student-Athlete Development Program.
“When Chancellor Gearhart called to tell me that the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation and Fred Smith had made substantial gifts in my name to our university, I was surprised and truly humbled,” said Long. “I am extremely grateful to the Reynolds Foundation and the Smith family for their continued investment in the lives of Razorback student-athletes and the University of Arkansas. They have been long time advocates of the Razorbacks, the university and the entire state of Arkansas.”
The Student-Athlete Success Center is one of the proposed facilities outlined in the recently released Razorback Athletic Master Facility Plan. The center will house academic support facilities, including group and individual tutorial rooms, study hall areas, a large auditorium, computer labs, multi-media, career planning, service learning and community service areas.
The center will also include a dining facility that will provide a training table for all 460 student-athletes competing in 19 sports. The dining facility will cater to the nutritional needs of student-athletes while providing the flexibility to meet dining needs of student-athletes on weekends and during other irregular schedules. The facility will also help student-athletes in the efficiency of meeting the many demands of student-athletes by providing a training table located near practice and academic areas.