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Archive for Monday, June 9, 2003

UConn AD to take KU post

June 9, 2003

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Lew Perkins, athletic director at the University of Connecticut the past 13 years, will become the next athletic director at Kansas University.

The 58-year-old Perkins, who also has worked as athletic director at Maryland (three years) and Wichita State (four years), is expected to be introduced as early as Tuesday at a news conference in Lawrence.

The Hartford Courant also reported in today's editions that Perkins, a native New Englander who was born in Chelsea, Mass., had accepted the job and would travel today to Lawrence to meet with KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, ostensibly finalizing contract terms and meeting KU officials.

"We will not confirm or deny anything," Hemenway told the Journal-World Sunday night. "We have had good discussions with Lew Perkins and I look forward to talking further. It's obvious that the process is moving forward quickly."

Asked if KU had reached contract terms with Perkins, Hemenway said, "I will stick with what I said. We will not confirm or deny anything. We hope to have a formal announcement later."

Perkins would not comment Sunday when reached by the Hartford Courant. He also would not comment to Boston Globe reporters, but UConn officials told the Globe he'd be taking over at KU on July 1.

Perkins is paid $273,870 at UConn, in the same ballpark as the $255,000 Bohl was paid at KU. He is under contract until July 2005. Perkins has a $200,000 buyout in his contract. It is not known whether he, or KU, would pay that buyout.

UConn also has paid Perkins $105,108 for the purchase of a qualified annuity. He contractually receives 28 tickets a game in every UConn sport at home and away, in conference tournaments and in post-season play.

Leaving amid turmoil

In Perkins, KU hires one of the most powerful ADs in college athletics. He will leave the Big East Conference in a time of turmoil with several conference schools, including the University of Miami, contemplating a move to the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Perkins last week joined government and UConn officials at the Connecticut state capital to announce a lawsuit against Miami, Boston and the ACC in an attempt to halt the ACC's plan to steal away Big East members.

Perkins is perhaps best known for elevating UConn's football program to Div. I-A status. In May 2000, the Connecticut Legislature approved and Gov. John Rowland signed into law legislation that provided funding for a 40,000-seat football stadium in Hartford. The $90 million stadium, which the Hartford Courant said Perkins fought hard for, will open this August.

The Huskies will play their first Big East football schedule in 2005.

Hartford Courant sources said Perkins informed some of the UConn coaches of his decision to leave for KU Sunday night. The coaches expressed surprise, figuring Perkins would retire in approximately five years after overseeing the development of the football program.

It is believed KU also contacted Perkins in 2001 after Bob Frederick stepped down as Jayhawk AD.

High-achieving Huskies

Some of the highlights of Perkins' tenure at UConn include NCAA women's basketball championships in 1995, 2000, 2002 and 2003, an NCAA men's hoop crown in 1999 and men's soccer crown in 2000.

UConn has won 60 overall Big East titles during his tenure.

The UConn men placed fourth and the women sixth in the 2002-03 Big East commissioner trophy race. The trophy goes to the school with the top overall athletic accomplishments during the school year.

UConn won a share of the Big East title in men's basketball while the women captured field hockey and basketball titles and soccer claimed a share of the league crown. UConn's women won the trophy in 1994-95 and shared it in 1993-94 with Villanova.

During the 1995-96 academic year, Perkins developed a wide-ranging Title IX compliance plan. He added the women's sports of lacrosse, rowing and ice hockey.

Perkins in 1998-99 supervised the completion and opening of the Connecticut Ice Arena, a $4 million on-campus facility. During 1996-97, he guided the completion of the $14 million Student Recreation Facility. In '95-96, he promoted the construction of a $3.5 million outdoor track facility.

In June 2000, Perkins was named inaugural winner of national athletic director of the year as selected by Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal. He has completed terms on two national committees -- the NCAA Championships/Competition cabinet and the NCAA Bowl Certification Committee. In 1997-98, he served as chairman of the Big East Women's Basketball Committee. During 1995-97, he served as chairman of the Big East Executive Committee after heading the league's television committee.

During the 1994-95 academic year, he received the Crystal Award from the UConn Club for dedication and service to the UConn division of athletics and distinguished service award from UConn's national championship women's hoops program.

He has midwest ties, not only at Wichita State, but at Iowa, where he played basketball in 1965-67.

Perkins and his wife, Gwen, have two daughters, Amy, a graduate of the University of Maryland, and Holly, a '96 UConn grad.

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