Arkansas Business Talks to New Team President Russ Meeks About Leadership Changes

Arkansas Business’ Todd Traub — an experienced baseball writer who literally wrote a book on the team — is the first to sit down for an on the record interview with new team president Russ Meeks about the new direction he’s talking the Texas League team:

Chief among Meeks’ concerns is the Texas League All-Star Game slated for Dickey-Stephens Park in 2014. It is a chance for the club and the state to put its best foot forward, he said.

With that in mind, Meeks said, firing Laven and Kay was not a snap decision but the result of a series of overlapping, annual internal reviews and evaluations.

“For the future, we know that we need leadership that looks at changes from a positive, affirmative standpoint and never runs into the issue of ‘we don’t do it that way’ or ‘we haven’t done it that way,’” Meeks said.

But it is the break with the past that has alarmed many longtime employees, former board members and shareholders. Many are concerned there are no real “baseball people” running the operation.

That story here, and Chris Bahn takes a look at the top-paid athletes from Arkansas.

The Razorback Nation Holds Its Breath, and Brad Paisley Apologizes

Brad Paisley burns a Razorbacks rug, the bastard.

It really tied the room together.

So this is the stuff that really moves the Analytics needle. And it makes Chris Bahn crazy.

As of Friday afternoon, Brad Paisley’s mistreatment of adorned decorative flooring is the most visited, most commented, most “liked,” most whatever-ed of all ArkansasSports360.com‘s news and blog items this week. So far, the original item’s at more than 290 Facebook “likes” and more than 130 comments.

Add Paisley-Rug-Burn-gate to list of oddball gems that inexplicably rack up the sports pageviews. Others on the list include the interminable Renee Gork Hate-gate, the Snoop Dogg-Ryan Mallett Summit of 2010 and Joe Johnson’s monster truck, which prompted a link from Yahoo! and tens of thousands of views.

Who can predict this stuff? Not us. Some days you’re more lucky than anything.

At any rate, we’re all ready for football season to begin. It’s been a looong summer.

46 Months of Pel: Jeff Long Fires John Pelphrey

John Pelphrey at UA

John Pelphrey, from the UA website

University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long finally puts this men’s basketball regime out of its misery. This is really the best move for all involved.

ArkansasSports360.com had it all covered when The Word Came Down on Sunday. Top-line info:

Rob Evans will be the interim coach, a source said. Arkansas is currently waiting to hear if it has been picked to play in the NIT.

During his tenure as the Razorbacks’ basketball coach, Pelphrey compiled a 69-59 overall record and a 25-39 record in SEC games.

Pelphrey, who was making $1.2 million annually, is set to receive $600,000 per year the next three years as a buyout, totaling $1.8 million.

ArkansasSports360.com’s Chris Bahn notes that Arkansas sees this as chance to once again return to those halcyon days of national prominence. It’ll be a tough road getting there, starting with the search for a new coach, one Long says must have a proven record of #Winning (always a nice quality in a coach). It’ll cost ‘em, too, much more than the million-two they paid the Pel. There’s already several names bouncing around. But it’s Long’s hire.

Meanwhile, we pause to relive the magic of PelEra, whether we want to or not. Replacing Stan Heath in April 2007 — just before the original iPhone went on sale! — to March 2010, when Pelphrey got caught in a possible recruiting violation — possibly shot with an iPhone-like device!

Also: Pel keeps it classy, meets with the press today one final time.

After the jump, an oldie: Pelphrey talks recruiting.

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The Razorbacks' Infrastructure Plans, Home Design and the Democrat-Gazette Drops the 'N' Bomb in This Week's Arkansas Business

Lots to get to this week’s Arkansas Business newspaper, online now and at your local newsstand (they still have those!):

It’s never enough is it? The University of Arkansas’ athletic department “has earmarked between $250,000 and $500,000 for an analysis of current and future facilities. Commissioning the study is the first step in what could eventually be tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades.” Chris Bahn tell us what they want now.

Sam Eifling rummages through the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s archives to see just how often — and why — the newspaper publishes the dreaded ‘N’ word. Then he gets an e-mail from editor Griffin Smith.

Fox 16 tells us why it just wasn’t worth it to try and get some Sarah Palin video on the sly at Verizon Arena.

It’s never enough is it? Jan Cottingham notes several Arkansas architects who say the state is bucking the nationwide trend toward smaller homes. Bigger is still better!

Friday Week In Review: The Week We Tweeted-up

Via Nick Stovall

Via Nick Stovall

Holy crap it’s Friday! The day we finally convicted Tony Alamo for something other than his lack of fashion sense, and the day after most of us Tweeted up. Before plunging headlong into another lost weekend, here’s a last long look at the carnage behind us:

Walter Hussman allegedly kicked the tires on another “news-paper,” which is apparently a recounting of yesterday’s events published using ink on paper. Quaint!

Blake Rutherford moved papes like Christian Bale in “Newsies,” but with less singing.

Okay. We admit it. Bad angle.

Zack Stovall conducted his Blanche Lincoln Threat Assessment™.

The Arkansas Project puzzled over Jay Barth’s recent comments, re: education in Arkansas, in connection to the Arkansas lottery.

The Fayetteville Flyer had a great idea!

The Hog Blawg launched to a mysterious amount of great fanfare, making me wonder where my check is.

Kinkade and Rutherford took a stroll down the memory lane of Arkansas politics of yore, each trying to figure out just what the heck is wrong with the Republicans in Arkansas.

Jason Tolbert picks up on Arkansas Business story about those dern-blamed lottery salaries and wonders just who’s reading what over there.

Plus

A lottery salary snafu

E. Lynn Harris, a Razorback fan and author, died.

Walter Cronkite signed off

Chris Bahn video of Tim Tebow and Bobby Petrino at SEC Media Days

More cheesecake from Kinkade.

Also

We saw the new Cowboys Stadium from afar

Happy Birthday!

Another winner

Chris Bahn: Razorbacks Football Team to Go 8-4

ArkansasSports360.com Northwest Editor Chris Bahn, who covers the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville, is out with his annual video preview series for the Hogs’ 2009 season. In the above overview on the Hogs’ schedule, he predicts the team will go 8-4, despite a tough run with no weeks off.

What’s your prediction for the Hogs? Is Bahn overly optimistic, on target, or shootin’ low?

Meanwhile, you can see the complete video series, including segments on Ryan Mallett, Tyler Wilson, D.J. Williams and more at:

ArkansasSports360.com Video | AS360 on Facebook | AS360 on YouTube

And

The ArkansasSports360.com 2009 College and High School Football Preview (includes digital edition)

Chuck Barrett on Cover of ArkansasSports360.com's May Edition

Barrett, the Voice of the Razorbacks

Barrett, the Voice of the Razorbacks

“In the fall, you live from Saturday to Saturday. For a lot of people who have done nothing more than invest their heart in the Razorbacks, that’s all they can afford to invest, Saturday is an important day to those people. Game day is a big deal to them. Those are the people that I think about.”

Chuck Barrett talks to Chris Bahn in the May edition of ArkansasSports360.com, on newsstands now and online here.

Nolan Richardson, on the February Cover of ArkansasSports360.com

The Nolan Richardson interview, in this month's ArkansasSports360.com magazine

The Nolan Richardson interview, in this month's ArkansasSports360.com magazine

Nolan Richardson, the former University of Arkansas men’s basketball coach, talks to ArkansasSports360.com Northwest Editor Chris Bahn in the February edition of ArkansasSports360.com. The magazine hits newsstands next week, but the cover story is available now.

The amazing cover shot is by Eric Howerton.

Jeff Long Talks to Chris Bahn in This Month's ArkansasSports360.com

Nice work, guys

Nice work, guys

Congrats the Arkansas Razorbacks on their big win on Friday over LSU. You can read more complete coverage of the game and its aftermath on our sports Web site, ArkansasSports360.com.

Meanwhile, there’s more Hog coverage to chew on in the December ArkansasSports360.com print edition. Northwest Arkansas Editor Chris Bahn gets a sit-down with the new Hog-in-Chief Jeff Long. Bahn’s piece opens with a great anecdote about Long’s very first Hog call:

In his first act as athletic director, Long couldn’t afford to flub the most sacred tradition in Arkansas athletics. He took instruction on how to do it, ran through a couple trials and headed off to his introductory press conference.

More than a year later, he’s still not 100 percent confident in his ability to call the Hogs.

“I’m not sure I’ve got it totally down now,” Long says with a laugh. “Sometimes I come forward too quickly. It’s a work in progress for me.”

There’s more in the full cover story, available here. And in this sidebar, Long talks about the need for more transparency in the notoriously secret Razorbacks Foundation.

Long, on the cover

Long, on the cover

And then there’s this great cover shot of Long by Mike Pirnique, with Long rolling up his sleeves, ready to get to work.

Also this month:

Chris Bahn in a bid for fan patience

Jim Harris on change at the UA

Steve Sullivan on the strange 2008 high school football season

David Bazzel on the Anointed Ones

Justin Acri on the UCA non-championship

(Photo courtesy David Bazzel)