Sheahon Zenger Relieved of Duties at KU

University of Kansas Athletic Director Sheahon Zenger was relieved of his duties this morning by Chancellor Doug Girod.  Zenger was let go without cause so he will get a payout of a little more than $1.4 million.  That includes two years of his salary, $700 thousand, plus health insurance premiums ($1,419,309).  

“This morning I met with Sheahon and relieved him of his duties,” Girod said. “Sheahon has been a loyal Jayhawk, and Kansas Athletics has improved in many ways under his leadership. But the department continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, a change in leadership is necessary.”

The deputy athletics director, Sean Lester, will take over as the interim AD.  

Girod let the student body of KU know in a message to the community.  In it he said:

“Since becoming chancellor, I have spent countless hours with higher education peers and Jayhawks to hear their perspective on KU,” he wrote. “A common thread in these conversations is that, as a major public university with national aspirations, we must continue to strive for excellence in all areas — including athletics. As I have said many times, a successful athletics department is inextricably linked to our mission as a flagship research university.  The other common thread in these conversations is optimism for Kansas Athletics,” he wrote. “Across the country, we are recognized as having elite programs, a proud tradition and a loyal fan base. These assets will serve us well as we identify a new athletics director.”

In addition to Lester taking over as interim AD, Girod has enlisted the help of a former interim AD Drue Jennings to lead the search process for the next Athletic Director.  Jennings was part of the search process that brought Bill Self to Kansas.