Archive for Tuesday, January 4, 2011

KU welcomes new A.D. Sheahon Zenger

Zenger to make $450,000 a year

January 4, 2011


Related document

Sheahon Zenger employment agreement ( .PDF )

KU introduces Sheahon Zenger as new AD

Kansas University introduced Sheahon Zenger as athletic director on Monday, Jan. 3, 2010.

It may have taken four months and two offers for Kansas University to find its next athletic director, but it took only a fraction of a minute for Sheahon Zenger to say yes.

Zenger, a native Kansan who spent the past six years as athletic director at Illinois State, was introduced as KU’s 16th A.D. at a news conference Monday. Though he showed emotion for what he was leaving behind, the joy for what he was inheriting far surpassed it. Asked how long he mulled things over after being offered the job at KU, Zenger recalled exactly.

“It took about 10 seconds,” he said. “I want to be here.”

Zenger, 44, will start his new job on Feb. 1, and his contract will run through June 30, 2015. It will pay him $450,000 per year. The contract includes language that seems to be a reaction to the controversial circumstances that led to Lew Perkins’ earlier-than-expected resignation last September. None of that fazed Zenger, who preaches transparency, personal relationships and doing things “the old-fashioned way.”

“There are no secrets in this business,” Zenger said. “There is only hard work.”

Zenger’s introduction featured dozens of references to his days in Kansas. From being born in Salina to his first house in Lawrence near 20th and Ousdahl, just minutes from Allen Fieldhouse, to the time he spent as a 5-foot-9 quarterback at Hays High. Wearing a red-and-blue striped tie and a Jayhawk pin on his suit, Zenger came across as a man well-versed in the history and traditions of KU. He spoke of watching football games from Campanile Hill, wearing No. 10 to honor Bobby Douglass and donning a Gale Sayers jersey in his fourth-grade school pictures.

Throughout the course of the athletic director search, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little ensured that she and the committee would find “the right fit” for Kansas. Monday, it was clear that Gray-Little believes that to be Zenger.

“We gave ourselves several months; we were hoping for early spring,” she said. “To have it done by the beginning of the year, I think, is very helpful with regard to planning, with regard to questions people had about who they’ll be working with. This is an outstanding outcome.”

Beyond all of his rock-chalk rhetoric, Zenger’s core message as an administrator came through loud and clear.

“I will ask every student-athlete, every coach and every staff member to be assignment correct, fundamentally sound and mentally tough on the field of play, in the classroom and in our personal lives each and every day,” Zenger said.

As Zenger talked about his vision for KU’s future, his wife, Pam, and their three children — Luke, Abby and Jake — sat in the front of Hadl Auditorium and beamed with pride. Nearby were Zenger’s mother and father, Weldon and Sharon Zenger, surprise visitors for the day, along with his high school football coach, Tom Cross, and several others who helped Zenger come home.


Tim Quest 7 years, 4 months ago

Great hire. The malcontents who know nothing about the business of college athletics will complain and whine about this hire, but thankfully they are irrelevant.

lionheart72661 7 years, 4 months ago

450,000 dollars? Does the University really need to pay that much money for an AD when Professors don't get paid diddly squat. Don't give me this line of garbage that it comes from 2 different funds. Universities, Intellect yes, common sense NO!

imastinker 7 years, 4 months ago

Don't most professors make around 80k/year?

Gregory Newman 7 years, 4 months ago

Are you serious? Wow a prison guard at Levenworth FED makes 75 base and you can be hired with a GED. Amazing

flyin_squirrel 7 years, 4 months ago

So, you don't want to hear about how it is two different funds (the State vs a Corp), so does that mean a private lawyer should be required to make the same amount as a public defense attorney? Or an engineer for Harris Construction should make the same as an engineer for Douglas County?

Your logic makes no sense. If you want Professors to get paid more, talk to Gov. Brownback, because he controls our education funds. If you are worried about the KU Athletic Corporation, Brownback has nothing to do with it.

whatadrag 7 years, 4 months ago

He's actually getting paid about 20k a year less than average for Big 12 AD's

Terry Jacobsen 7 years, 4 months ago

My kid is a senior at KU and by his reports most of his professors don't teach. Their GTAS do most of it. If thats true, I'd say they are overpaid.

cafranci 7 years, 4 months ago

It's not true that most professors don't teach. A select few may have very large research grants and don't teach many classes because they bring so much money into the university, but they usually advise doctoral students and have labs. Research takes an enormous amount of time to do reasonably well, incidentally, far more than teaching for most faculty.

If you want more emphasis on teaching, get the legislature to fund the university better. Universities have to emphasize research in part to get grant money to make up for less money from the legislature.

Tim Quest 7 years, 4 months ago

My advice, TJ, is to not rely on second-hand anecdotal evidence from a 21 year old when it comes to the nuts and bolts of how higher education works.

squawkhawk 7 years, 4 months ago

Great! A K-State homer running the athletic department. I guess we can eventually expect the books to balance, increased graduation rates of student athletes, less drama and trouble from athletes, harmony between BB and FB teams, ethical conduct and a top notch football team. What next?

Danimal 7 years, 4 months ago

Can we expect to never win anything of importance again too?

CLARKKENT 7 years, 4 months ago


Joseph Jarvis 7 years, 4 months ago

The chancellor's salary is $450K.

Says a lot about priorities.

bigcatcher 7 years, 4 months ago

I think Zenger looks like the Papa Johns pizza guy.

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