Archive for Thursday, June 10, 2010

Alumni, locals react to Perkins’ retirement

June 10, 2010, 4:44 p.m. Updated June 10, 2010, 7:29 p.m.


Dana Anderson, a major KU booster whose contributions have helped establish the Anderson Family Strength Center and the Anderson Family Football Complex, said that Lew Perkins had mentioned the “concept” of retirement several times during the past year.

Athletic Director Lew Perkins

KU Athletic Director led the Kansas Athletic Department for seven years and retired on Sept. 7, 2010. Look back at his time at KU.

Even so, Anderson said, Thursday’s revelation that Perkins would leave at the end of the upcoming academic year came as somewhat of a surprise.

“I think he’s done an incredibly good job, in many many ways, for the university and for bringing the athletic program to a whole new level — obviously in the revenue we’ve generated, and in some of the things that needed to be done that have been done, like the renovation of Allen Fieldhouse,” Anderson said. “A lot of people said, ‘Oh, it doesn’t need anything.’ But you look at it now and, obviously, it did need it.

“Those people couldn’t see that, and Lew saw that.”

While some people indeed “were rubbed the wrong way” by Perkins and some of his plans, Anderson said, Perkins “by and large deserves a tremendous amount of credit.

“I think we’ve done the right thing with Allen Fieldhouse, and the strength and conditioning center, and the football complex. All those things have helped us. I’m convinced of that. I don’t think we could have attracted the football coach we attracted if we didn’t have those facilities.

“He’s made great progress.”

Larry Sinks, a former downtown T-shirt shop owner whose store closed following a lengthy court battle with Kansas Athletics over trademark infringement issues, declined to comment on Perkins' resignation.

"Believe me, there's a lot I'd like to say, but my settlement with the university won't allow me to say one word," Sinks said.

Jerry Neverve, owner of the downtown Red Lyon Tavern, said he had initially been upset with Perkins and the athletics department after moving the KU-Missouri game outside to Kansas City.

"We were upset because they were taking the one big game a year out of Lawrence and Columbia," Neverve said.

However, once the football team became more successful, and attendance swelled to 40,000 to 50,000 people per game, the loss of downtown revenue was offset.

"Hopefully the new person can continue on that trend," of football success, Neverve said.

Max Falkenstien, who retired in 2006 after 60 years as the voice of the Jayhawks, said he would be sad to see Perkins leave.

“I will hate to see Lew go because I think he has done great things for KU,” Falkenstien said. “The facilities he’s improved are as fine as any in the country. And he really cares about the student-athlete. That’s been his plan his whole time here — even more so perhaps than appeasing alums.”

Falkenstien also said he could understand Perkins’ decision to retire.

“I can understand that, perhaps, at his age he may be ready to retire — after this past few weeks, even this whole year. We have seen some crazy things.”

Drue Jennings, an alumnus who served as KU’s interim athletics director before Perkins was hired, praised Perkins for his fundraising abilities and the improvement of facilities under his watch.

“I think Lew has done a wonderful job for Kansas Athletics,” Jennings said.

Jennings, a KU kingmaker who hired basketball coach Bill Self and was chairman of the search committee that hired Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, said the chancellor was handling the athletics crisis well, and in a “cool and collected” manner.

“It’s a ‘so-far’ for her, because things still have to play out,” Jennings said. “But so far, she has performed exactly as advertised. She’s been extremely cautious, very careful to put her facts together and avoiding making decisions on raw emotions.”

Jennings said it was highly unlikely he would be needed to serve in an interim role again given the time frame stated for Perkins’ retirement.

“I'm glad they’ve allowed themselves enough time to go through that process,” which would likely involve consideration of both internal and external candidates, Jennings said.

William Tsutsui, a KU professor of history and associate liberal arts and sciences dean for international studies, criticized Perkins and the athletics department for an eroded relationship with the school’s faculty and the broader community.

“I hope the next A.D. and our current chancellor really look at the structure of oversight in the athletics program,” Tsutsui said. “There’s a very small group of people at the top.”

As it stands now, he said it is too small of a group, and doesn’t include substantial representation from the faculty or the community as a whole.

Tsutsui, who is leaving KU for a new position at Southern Methodist University, served on Kansas Athletics’ Chancellor’s Advisory Board, which he said “really served as just dressing.”

Though the group would be served lunch, and would get to meet wonderful student-atheletes, if anyone tried to ask tough questions, they would “hit a wall head-on,” Tsutsui said.

The relationship between athletics and academics became strained under Perkins’ tenure, as faculty members complained that academics suffered budget reductions while athletics facilities prospered.

“What I would like is a sense that, really, the faculty have not gotten the attention and respect they deserve,” Tsutsui said.


LJ Whirled 8 years ago

Good grief! The guy sold the soul of KU for short-term personal gains, and apparently has been asleep at the switch as the conference realignment fiasco built up without his notice.

Get him out of town. Sooner is better.

riverdrifter 8 years ago

How much have you donated to the Williams Fund?

Steve Miller 8 years ago

they ought to pa him off and get him off of the property. he is just extra bagage at this point.

Dirtman24 8 years ago

with him announcing his retirement now and all this that has come his way, ticket scandal ect. ect. ect. makes me think he is trying to hide something IMO... Something sounds very FISHY

Steve Miller 8 years ago

Not to blame him, he is just smart for exiting stage left ....he knows to get while the getting's good..

BruceWayne 8 years ago

I CANNOT understand why the LJW did not get an opinion form Compton. Everyone knows he runs the show at KU.

puddleglum 8 years ago

that's what I was thinking.....unless of course-this was compton pulling the trigger

puddleglum 8 years ago

marchiony won't know how to find his way to work once master has left. he will just be yelping and barking and running in circles with his leash flapping around behind him.....

riverdrifter 8 years ago

Agree: as vacant as a parking lot.

Ceee 8 years ago

How exactly did our AD earn his huge salary this past year? Being so well connected, did Lou see the Big 12 split coming? Did Lou succeed in heading it off? Did he even try to head it off? Did he make contingency plans? What are they?

Tell us, Lou. What's the deal? I would think you'd relish changing the subject from internal affairs. But then, the disintegration of the Big 12 isn't a happy story either.

waterhazard 8 years ago

Seriously? are you so clueless as to not even recognize that no one could save the Big 12? It isn't a matter of knowing ahead of time and preventing it. The super conference discussions have been happening for the last 10 years. Unless the state of KS suddenly grows by millions of households in the next 2 hours, nothing and no one could save the conference. It is households and TV revenue that the schools are after. There is absolutely nothing that Lew Perkins could have done to prevent this. By making comments like that it just exhibits are completely ignorant you are regarding the subject. Nationally Lew is recognized as someone who is an authority on that subject. I'm guessing you're on the phone right now asking Al Bohl to return because having someone as ineffective and clueless to the inner workings of a major college athletic department seems to be the type of person you'd like to see running KU. Good luck with that.

Linda Aikins 8 years ago

Maybe they couldn't save the Big 12, but if they weren't so busy covering their donkeys, they may have had time to be sure KU was included in some of these moves. Don't you think?

jonhitch 8 years ago

Long may the ghost of Lew remember all those VERY LOYAL Alumni he sent packing in the name of the almighty BUCK $$$. As reported today, many of those big cigar donors did not make good on their pledges, but I bet they got their tickets in place of the loyal alumni.

Crooks like this must be related to someone named Madoff. Good???? Not really.

KU_cynic 8 years ago

Bill Tsutsui is dead-on right. And his implicit recommendation to expand effective governance and oversight to KUAC, I predict, will be ignored.

kujayhawk7476 8 years ago

Sour grapes, professor Tsutsui. Why in the world was an opinion solicited from an academician who is leaving the university? He obviously has no loyalty to KU. Neither do some of you. Instead of criticizing, why not open your seldom used checkbooks and donate to the Williams Fund or the Endowment Association?

Linda Aikins 8 years ago

Actually I am a regular donor to both places. And I am unhappy with all of it. You can't just assume that the donors are happy.

Beelzebub 8 years ago

$4 million in salary and perks in 2009, $2 million retention bonus, $600 thousand bonus for staying around to collect it....the ticket scam which happened on his stuff from companies his department does business with...meanwhile academic departments have had their budgets cut, positions have been cut, blah, blah blah. This is totally screwed up. This one guy has become a multi-millionaire while the rest of the university has to do without. And just what is the benefit that the university gets from big time collegiate athletics? I thought their mission was to educate people. Okay so here's the lesson: education is bunk, kids, the real way to get ahead is to become a part of an organization whose main purpose is entertainment and generating piles of money for people in that organization. "Proud of their academic and athletic achievement..." Bulls--t.

Victor Dawson 8 years ago

Thanks Lew for taking the criticism that comes with a pain in the a** job! You did the job that you were hired to do and you did it well. Best wishes to you and your wonderful family.

Fan #1

Gaul 8 years ago

Methinks the athletic director thing is a tempest in a teapot boiling over. He'll be gone and the sun will rise again. The university can't survive without good academics and academics can't survive (as part of a world class university) without a vibrant, lucrative sports program. What is really earth shaking is the realignment of the conferences. The rivalries of especially Missouri and Nebraska affect attendance and interest. I assume K-State will always be there.

TheGreatOz 8 years ago

How the flip do you expect one person to save the Big 12?

What was the point of quoting Larry Sinks when all he could say was that he couldn't say anything?

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