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story.lead_photo.caption Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery, right, is congratulated by athletic director Dr. Derrick Gragg after an NCAA college football game against Central Florida on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016 in Orlando, Fla. Tulsa won 35-20. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

FAYETTEVILLE -- A University of Arkansas, Fayetteville spokesman said Thursday the search for the school's permanent athletic director was moving briskly but has not reached its conclusion.

"We're still vetting candidates," said Mark Rushing, assistant vice chancellor for university relations. "No decision has been made."

Rushing's remarks followed widespread reports citing anonymous sources that said the university had hired Tulsa Athletic Director Derrick Gragg as the permanent replacement for Jeff Long.

UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, who fired Long on Nov. 15, is consulting with a seven-member advisory committee in the athletic director's search. The school announced this week that it has hired the executive search firm Korn Ferry to vet candidates for a one-time fee of $75,000 plus out-of-pocket expenses.

Gragg, 48, spent Thursday afternoon in a meeting with the Tulsa University Board of Trustees, the Tulsa World reported, adding Gragg had no comment on the Arkansas job when he left the meeting.

John Hoover, a columnist in Tulsa and long-time reporter and columnist for the Tulsa World, posted on his Twitter account Thursday evening, "Source tells me Tulsa AD Derrick Gragg will 'interview' at Arkansas on Monday. TU's regular coaches meeting scheduled for then has been pushed back a week."

Gragg is considered a leading candidate for the position. Sources familiar with the search said there were other candidates, including former Arkansas quarterback Kevin Scanlon, who is an executive vice president and director of the private client group at Stephens Inc., and Scott Varady, the executive director of the Razorback Foundation, the fundraising arm of the UA athletic department.

A native of Beaver Falls, Pa., Scanlon is a 1979 UA graduate who holds the single-season record for completion percentage (66.2) in 1979.

Gragg is a former wide receiver at Vanderbilt who earned a doctorate at Arkansas in 2004. He joined the UA athletic department in 2000 and was promoted to senior associate athletic director in 2003. He is a native of Huntsville, Ala.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette received a copy of Long's release agreement on Thursday following a Freedom of Information Act request. The agreement stipulates Long's severance payment, which has been previously reported by the Democrat-Gazette, of $83,333.33 per month from the date of his firing on Nov. 15 through the end of his contract on June 30, 2022. The total of the release payment is $4.625 million, which is to be offset on a monthly basis by any future employment by Long.

The release agreement, officially between the UA Board of Trustees and Long, states that Long has "an affirmative duty of mitigation to diligently seek and to obtain other employment."

Under section 11 of the agreement, titled "Disclosure of Agreement and Non-Disparagement," is the following language:

"The Parties agree not to make disparaging remarks regarding each other and to state, if asked, that any differences between them were resolved on an amicable basis."

The release agreement was signed by UA System President Donald R. Bobbitt, Steinmetz and Long.


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  • Marks
    December 1, 2017 at 7:54 p.m.

    I like all three of these guys. I wish they would get this done by Saturday or Sunday and get us a coach by Tuesday.