Mark: Underrated. I'm not even holding Pepsi against him....;) I emailed him about that back when the decision was made, and he responded the same day with a great, thought-out response that detailed the business-side of things of why he felt they had to do it. Again, absolutely underrated. We all thought the John L bridge was gonna hold up; we can't hold that against him. Only bad notch, really, is what was about to be the Tommy Tuberville and Jim Grobe hires before we got Petrino. But frankly, our options were limited at the time.
The campus is in growth mode, our national PR is up, grades are up, almost all sports are trending up. He's the freakin' CFB playoff chair. If you're not satisfied with him (and could be I'm just plain missing something), then you're holding him to standards of perfection that are virtually impossible to meet.
Josh: I think he is properly rated, he has gotten every sport moving in an upward trend. Several years back someone posed the same question and the only thing negative anyone could come up with was that he did not hire the long time assistant track coach under John McDonald. If that is his biggest mistake ( besides the Pepsi over coke) then I think the athletic department is in good shape.
Mitchell: Jeff Long is the best. That being said, there is an awful lot of him on TV nowadays which can sometimes lead to being overrated. Bielema has this team on the right track with a win over Rival Texas, Anderson took the Hogs to the NCAA tourney, and Van Horn has the Hogs in place to host a Super Regional, so I think he's done a bang-up job. I'd say he's properly rated.
Jamie: Although he’s very much in the public eye, he’s definitely underrated. Petrino and Bielema were superstar hires at the time. Stealing CMA from Mizzou and walking the very delicate line of bringing Nolan back into the family with boosters and fans. That’s a hell of a job. He still needs to get Nolan’s name on the court, but I don’t know if Jesus himself could pull that off right now. Long has raised the profile of the entire Arkansas athletic program and I’m not sure he’s gotten (or demanded) the credit that pulling that off deserves.
Ryan: Properly rated. He is the perfect AD for Arkansas and Arkansas is the perfect situation for Jeff Long. However, he is not perfect. He did actually hire Bobby Petrino after knowing his past. He has also made some internal hires that didn't go over well. I know that doesn't mean a much to fans, but they can impact your fan experience in ways people may not realize. I don't think he could get away with some of his power moves behind the scenes at a traditional power, hence why he hasn't bit on any feelers sent out to him by the big boys. His track record of hiring coaching is comically extremes. He either hires home runs like Bret Bielema, Colby Hale (soccer), and Chris Bucknam (men's track and field), Or he hires complete disasters like John L. Smith and Erin Aubry (soccer). Overall, he has deserved his accolades.
Adam: I've got to go with Properly Rated. I personally find him a little grating to my ears when I hear him talk, and he seems a little too politician for my taste, but he seems to be doing all the right things. I can't be mad at him for that. Go on and get yours, Mr. Long.
Scottie: Properly rated. He's done some great things for the athletic department, but like Ryan said, he's also made some costly mistakes (hiring Petrino, other internal hires). And when you evaluate the job someone's done, you have to weigh both the good and bad. Overall I think he's done a good, solid job. I can't help but wonder, though, what he'd be like as the AD for another school.
Robert: I feel like everyone has Jeff exactly where he should be. Hired Petrino, fired him when he had to, I think he handled John L Smith about as well as he could've, and then made what most think is a great hire in Bret Bielema. Mike Anderson has been a success and Jeff's exposure with the Playoff selection committee is a boon to our program. I'm not sure anyone thinks he has a job made for life or thinks he should be fired. He's secure right now, and I think the Razorback fan base is largely positive on Jeff Long.
Doc: No one wants to go overrated? Nobody upset about ticket price increases or donor requirement increases or anything? No one upset about lack of transparency or accessibility? I guess I need to go find someone from Hogville to come over and join our staff for diversity's sake.
I feel like this has to be answered two ways. As a national figure, I feel he's properly rated. As the face of the playoff and as the one who fired Petrino, he's obviously one of if not the most recognizable AD in America. I feel like he handles his national duties very well and his recognitions are deserved.
As the Arkansas AD, I feel like he's probably still underrated. Most Hog fans have only known Long and Frank Broyles as AD and there are still some who miss certain things about the way Broyles ran things, but if you look throughout the entire athletic department, it's very impressive how many sports are at or near all-time highs in recent years.
Also, if you watch other ADs go through their coaching searches and compare them to Long's, I think many Hog fans would be more impressed with how Long runs his searches. And for all the criticism about nickel-and-diming fans, they actually lowered the cost of several concession items at baseball games this year, and I've seen other school monetize routine things that Arkansas has not. For instance, at Mizzou, whenever the Tigers enter the red zone during a game, the PA announcer says something like, "and Mizzou has once again entered the [corporate entity] RED ZONE!" Arkansas hasn't done that and hopefully won't.
I think many Arkansas fans understand what they have in Long but there's still some who don't appreciate him as much as they should.