When Jeff Long met with KU alumnus Drue Jennings and vice chancellor Reggie Robinson as part of the search for a new Kansas athletic director, he said it made "immediate impact" on him. 

Really, it may have been the first time he saw himself taking the KU job. 

"I thought if these are the kind of people that are at Kansas," Long said, "than this is the kind of place I want to be."

Long was officially announced as the new KU athletic director at a press conference on Wednesday morning. He will first take over the position on August 1, which happens to be his 26th anniversary with his wife, Fanny.

Long replaces Sheahon Zenger, who held the role from 2011 up until May 21 of this year — when Chancellor Douglas Girod announced there would be a change in the position. Sean Lester took over in the interim, before Long was announced as Zenger's full-time replacement back on July 5. 

"Obviously he's one of the most seasoned athletic directors in the country, brings more than two decades of experience in Division-I administration," said Girod. "He does have that national profile, that national expertise, being, for example, the first chair of the College Football Playoff committee." 

As Girod mentioned, Long has a long history of experience in athletic departments, including prior stops as athletic director at Arkansas (2008-17), Pittsburgh (2003-07) and Eastern Kentucky (1998-2001). Long also served as an associate athletic director at Oklahoma for two years (2001-02) and had past stops at Rice, Michigan and Virginia Tech following the completion of his football coaching career. 

With the search process, Girod said, Long emerged as a top candidate almost right away. 

"It became clear to us reasonably quickly," Girod said. "Jeff really just kept rising to the top in every conversation we had."

During Wednesday's press conference, Girod praised Long for how he "really revitalized and reshaped [the Arkansas] program with a focus on student-athlete success."

Long echoed that statement of priorities, addressing what he referred to as his vision.

I have a vision for KU athletics," Long said. "My vision starts with the student athlete, and it starts with the three Cs. And those Cs are compete, compete, compete." 

That competition extends to all 18 sports, Long said, and it comes in a number of ways. He wants to see student-athletes competing on the field, in the classroom and in the community. 

In the meantime he noted he hopes to be able to provide support to his various coaches in removing barriers that would keep them from being successful. And while he was positive about KU's facilities and the situation he's entering, he did note part of why he came to Kansas was to embrace the challenge of what can be improved.

"The challenge is what got me excited about Kansas," Long said. "As an AD some of us look for challenges. We like to compete, as I like to say."

Long also addressed the football program, specifically coach David Beaty. He seemed to indicate Beaty would be returning for his fourth season, as had been previously stated by Girod and Zenger.

The new KU athletic director also spoke of one other coach by name — KU basketball coach Bill Self.

"Yes, I saw firsthand why Bill Self is such a great recruiter," Long said. "I'll be candid. He recruited me here."   

Self, with a big smile, shook off the credit. 

"Ah, that's an exaggeration," Self said. "The place recruited him, but I had a chance to talk to Jeff a few times throughout the process. I think our first conversation was 44 minutes or something like that. So he had questions and I had a chance to share with him some things.

"You could tell right from the get-go that he was very interested in the position. But you could also tell that he's very measured and handled it in a mature, experienced way, which I thought was also very important."