Archive for Saturday, February 21, 2004

KU athletic director enjoys first months of ‘chaos’ in job

Perkins cites needs for improvements to Jayhawk facilities, recruiting

February 21, 2004


Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins said Friday that his first seven months on the job had been filled with creating "productive chaos."

Perkins kicked off the first in a series of Lawrence Chamber of Commerce luncheons featuring KU athletic officials.

Excited by the accomplishments of the football team and women's soccer and volleyball teams, Perkins said he was looking forward to continued success from Jayhawk athletic teams.

"This is an awesome place," said Perkins, who came to KU in July.

Perkins' talk included a request to the 75 audience members to be positive about KU and support all sports programs, not just football and men's basketball.

He said facility upgrades might help bring better student-athletes to KU.

"We need to have a game plan for our facilities," Perkins said, noting that a recent $12 million donation from the Ward family and several anonymous donors would bring about improvements to Allen Fieldhouse.

He said he was looking forward to helping KU coaches land top student-athletes, including more in-state recruits.

Strong recruits, Perkins noted, can attract more recruits like them.

"We need to start attracting players to come here," Perkins said.

When the session was opened to questions, someone asked Perkins about the KU band playing the Wheaties song when an opponent fouled out of a game in the fieldhouse. The longtime tradition had been stopped earlier this year when it was deemed a violation of NCAA rules, but it was renewed during Wednesday's KU-Baylor game.

"Shhh," Perkins told the laughing crowd. "I don't know how that happened."

The new luncheon series, chamber officials say, is aimed at fostering an already-strong relationship between the chamber and KU Athletics Corp. Interaction between KUAC and the chamber will lead to economic value by bringing more visitors to Lawrence, chamber President Lavern Squier said.

"Our business community thrives off the university," Squier said.

The next luncheon is March 19 with baseball coach Ritch Price.

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