Lew Perkins knows he'll raise some eyebrows with this one.
Perkins, now in his sixth week as Kansas University athletic director, confirmed Thursday he had hired son-in-law Brandon Macneill as the department's strategic planner.
Macneill, who has spent the past two years as associate AD for marketing and development at Princeton University, is married to one of Perkins' two daughters.
"He's very talented, very bright," Perkins said of Macneill. "If he didn't have the background, he wouldn't be here. Trust me."
Still, Perkins realizes he'll take flak for hiring his son-in-law.
"Yes, it's unfortunate," Perkins said, "but it's tougher for him than it is for me because the bulls-eye will be on his back."
Macneill, 32, and Amy Perkins met when she was a student at Maryland and he was working in Washington after graduating from Tulane University.
"To go to Kansas is an absolute no-brainer. I couldn't be happier," Macneill said. "I'm a little biased, but I think Lew is the best athletic director in the country."
Macneill won't join the KU staff until early October, but he, Amy, and daughter Caroline will be house hunting in Lawrence this weekend. Caroline, the only grandchild of Perkins and his wife, Gwen, will celebrate her first birthday Sunday.
Perkins said he talked to Chancellor Robert Hemenway about the department's need for a strategic planner and that Hemenway concurred.
"When I came here I knew we needed somebody to write strategic plans," Perkins said. "We have to rewrite all of our policy manuals."
Prior to his stint at Princeton, Macneill worked in marketing for a year at Hawaii and for three years at Dartmouth. Before that, while earning a master's degree in sports management at Connecticut, he also served as a graduate assistant in marketing while his father-in-law was the Huskies' AD.
A Boston native, Macneill spent two summers working for Sen. John F. Kerry as a press secretary intern in 1991, and as a staff assistant in 1992.
After graduating from Tulane in 1993, Macneill worked as a staff assistant for the Chemical Manufacturers Assn. He then spent a year and a half as an office manager for a Washington information company before enrolling in graduate school at UConn.
"We've bounced around, so we're excited to be able to settle down for hopefully a number of years," Macneill said. "Also, the opportunity to be close to the grandparents is very important to us."
Macneill is the second staffer hired by Perkins since he assumed the KU post July 7. Earlier, Perkins lured Jim Marchiony, who had been associate AD for external affairs at UConn, to Mount Oread.
Since Perkins arrived, two KU staffers have resigned -- senior associate AD Richard Konzem and Janelle Martin, an associate AD who was also the department's senior female administrator.
Kilmeny Waterman is the only head coach who has resigned since Perkins succeeded Al Bohl. Waterman, who had coached the tennis team for the past three years, stepped down Wednesday.
Perkins may also have to replace Doug Vance, associate AD in charge of communications. Vance has been on vacation for the past two weeks and is reportedly exploring other job opportunities.
Vance, who has been with the KU athletic department for 21 years, confirmed Thursday he had checked into other options, but was noncommittal about his future.
"I hope he stays," Perkins said about Vance. "But that's his decision."