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Lew Perkins set to retire as Kansas University’s athletic director at end of 2010-11 school year

KU’s A.D. to leave beleaguered department next year

Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins smiles as he is approached by media members Thursday in the parking garage adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse. On Thursday, Perkins announced his intention to resign from his position after the 2010-11 academic year but did not comment.

Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins smiles as he is approached by media members Thursday in the parking garage adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse. On Thursday, Perkins announced his intention to resign from his position after the 2010-11 academic year but did not comment.

June 10, 2010, 3:33 p.m. Updated June 10, 2010, 10:24 p.m.


Chancellor Gray-Little press conference

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little speaks at a press conference regarding the retirement of Athletics Director Lew Perkins.

Bill Self discusses Perkins resignation, conference realignment

Kansas head basketball coach Bill Self addressed the media discussing Athletic Director Lew Perkins' resignation and the Big 12 Conference's separation Thursday, June 10, 2010.

Lew Perkins announces resignation

Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins announced Thursday he will be leaving his post at the conclusion of the 2011 year. Perkins has been the athletic director at the university since 2003.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bill Self press conference, June 10

KU men's basketball coach Bill Self answers media questions about Lew Perkins' retirement and the conference realignment.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Bonnie Henrickson on Lew Perkins' retirement

KU women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson speaks about Lew Perkins announcing his retirement.

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.

Kansas Athletics Director Lew Perkins — who on Thursday announced his retirement — will work on Mount Oread until Sept. 4, 2011.

And Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said his expertise will be needed as KU faces an uncertain future because of the anticipated breakup of the Big 12 conference.

“I believe that part of his decision to retire may have been to allow him to focus on the things that need to be done,” Gray-Little said. “I think the idea was that by making his plans clear at this time that he would be able to focus more clearly on the things that we need to do.”

Perkins and KU athletics have been mired in controversy in recent weeks, as it was revealed that five employees and a consultant allegedly had participated in a scheme to sell football and basketball tickets for personal gain. Federal authorities are investigating the cash-for-tickets scheme, as well as other allegations about irregularities with tickets.

Still, Gray-Little said she was surprised when Perkins told her Thursday he’d decided to leave.

“I had not asked him to retire, and I had not asked him to resign,” she said.

Self’s perspective

KU basketball coach Bill Self said he, too, sees Perkins’ leadership as key to the university’s athletics program during coming months.

“I knew that the day would come,” he said of Perkins’ planned departure from KU. “I think everybody knew it was coming. It was surprising it would come today.”

Self said he talked with Perkins on Thursday.

“He was in good spirits,” the coach said. “I think he has a peace about it. And regardless of what angle you’re taking, the man has been through a lot in the last couple of months.”

However, Self said Perkins’ decision to leave should not be equated with being forced out.

“He won’t walk away from any battle or fights,” Self said. “It was something he felt in his heart that was the best way to serve the university. … This guy has gotten some stuff done while he’s been here.”

Perkins would not comment on Thursday. However, in a statement he said, “At this time, my greatest priority is working on conference alignment issues, and as I’ve committed to the chancellor, I will work tirelessly on these efforts. Conference alignment is the biggest challenge we have before us as an athletics department and an institution.”

The timeline set for Perkins’ retirement would allow him to claim one last retention bonus from Kansas Athletics before leaving, according to his contract.

According to an amendment to his contract negotiated by former Chancellor Robert Hemenway, Perkins would be paid $600,000, tax-free, from Kansas Athletics if he is still serving as athletics director on June 30, 2011.

A $2.05 million retention bonus contributed to Perkins’ receiving more than $4 million in salary and bonuses in 2009. His base salary is $800,000 per year, and he earns an additional $100,000 for media relations work.

Unprecedented changes

Perkins arrived at KU in 2003 after a highly successful stint at the University of Connecticut. Perkins replaced Al Bohl, who left KU under turmoil after taking over for Bob Frederick.

“I am very proud of the academic and athletic success of our student-athletes during my time at KU, and I will forever treasure the friendships and experiences being a Jayhawk has brought,” he said. “Our supporters are among the best across the nation, and I could not be more pleased with how much we have accomplished together.”

Perkins turned 65 this year and said it was “the right time” for such a decision.

During his time at Kansas, Perkins affected the growth of KU’s athletic department budget in an unprecedented manner. At the time of his arrival, KU’s athletic budget was $27 million annually. Today, KU’s annual budget has reached more than $55 million.

In addition, while at Kansas, Perkins oversaw a football team that won the first BCS bowl game in school history, as well as watching a men’s basketball program win its first national championship in two decades.

In 2008, Perkins was voted by a poll in Time magazine as the top sports executive in the world. He was the only college sports administrator to make the list of 35.

Challenging year

It’s been a difficult year for Perkins, who had to answer for fights between the KU men’s basketball and football programs, then had a lame-duck football coach, Mark Mangino, for the latter part of the season because of an investigation into Mangino’s conduct toward his players. Following that, five members of the athletic department and one consultant resigned under pressure or were fired because of a ticket-scalping scandal that cost the university millions. Finally, in recent weeks, Perkins found himself in the middle of a blackmail scandal involving exercise equipment provided to him for personal use.

A native of Chelsea, Mass., Perkins was inducted into his high school Hall of Fame in 1989. A highly recruited basketball player, he played at the University of Iowa (1965-67) for Hall of Fame coach and KU graduate Ralph Miller. Perkins earned his undergraduate degree there in 1967.

Perkins served as Director of Athletics (1969-80) and head basketball coach (1969-79) at the University of South Carolina-Aiken as that institution grew from a junior college to a four-year institution. He received his master’s degree in education (1975) from the University of South Carolina.

Perkins delivered the commencement address and received an honorary Doctor of Education degree at USC Aiken in May 2005. Perkins also has served as athletics director at the University of Maryland and Wichita State University, and associate director of athletics at the University of Pennsylvania.

At Connecticut, where he worked from 1990-2003, Perkins was instrumental in guiding UConn athletics to growth athletically, academically and financially. His leadership influenced six NCAA Division I National Championships at UConn.

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Healthcare_Moocher 7 years, 11 months ago

Dumb enough to hang around so the demise of the big 12 is on your resume also?

parrothead8 7 years, 11 months ago

At least he's man enough to stick through the hard times. I guess you'd bail as soon as the going got tough?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. Lew is proving that it was HIS idea to leave. He's leaving with his head high.

parrothead8 7 years, 11 months ago

Wow. That sounds like a nice, safe life. Since you always put yourself in a place where you can answer all the questions, it must be nice to never take a risk or face the unknown. That's not called's called routine. Integrity is when you're not afraid to face the music if something goes wrong because you know you did things the right way. You see, the real difference between you and me is that I know I can't control everything that goes on around me and, therefore, a situation may arise that may force me to react. And when I react, I can do so with integrity because my parents raised me to think for myself.

Can you say the same thing?

parrothead8 7 years, 11 months ago

There's no way you've taken risks if, as you stated, you've always put yourself in a place where you can answer all the questions. If you always know the answers, there's no risk involved.

It's staggeringly ignorant of you to assume a person's parents weren't involved in his/her life just because that person thinks for him/herself. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison, to name two, were noted for thinking outside the box...but I guess you'd say neither of them had good parents. My parents both worked, helped us with our homework, coached our sports teams, took us to church, and supported us in everything we wanted to try. It was okay with them if we didn't always succeed.

I'm doing just fine, and so are my parents and siblings. Please pray for yourself.

Linda Aikins 7 years, 11 months ago

This may appear later in this topic (I've only gotten this far) but do you truly think he is staying here to help us get through the mess? Or is just staying long enough to get his extra $600K and have time to job hunt in the meantime.

I say a happy goodbye to Tony and Carmela.

parrothead8 7 years, 11 months ago

He just turned 65. He's been an AD or an Associate AD for the last 41 years. He's recognized as one of the best ADs in the country. I don't think he needs the time to hunt for a job, and I don't think he needs an extra $600k. I think he's ready to be done.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 11 months ago

This sucks. We will look back in 10 years and we will miss Lew. I promise you that.

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

ok...confused as to why he would stay at all if he's planning to resign?

The_Voice_of_Reason 7 years, 11 months ago

Wow, the hits just keep on coming... Maybe if I click my heels three times and say "There's no time like basketball season, there's no time like basketball season, there no time like basketball season." Nope, its still June, damn...

Mary Darst 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, isn't that interesting.?????????????????????????????That this is announced 4 hours after the parade out of the Big 12 started.

hawkman8950 7 years, 11 months ago

buh bye to you and your nose growth lol

moveforward 7 years, 11 months ago

miss lew? I don't hardly think so.

Why in a year? Why not right now? Is there some time based bonus involved?

riverdrifter 7 years, 11 months ago

Mangino is not laughing. His career as a head coach is in the toilet and it was his own doing on many fronts.

Graczyk 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm making a wild guess here, but I think Mangino will be UCF's next coach when they cut George O'Leary after they get picked up by the Big East or ACC.

Ceee 7 years, 11 months ago

Lou's resigning in a year. So what.

The question is what is he, as AD for Kansas, going to do about the ever widening Big 12 split. I hope his plan is better than BP's and it isn't as secret as Lou's being lent the equipment he wasn't responsible for. Fans want to know how Kansas will deal with being dumped.

nobody1793 7 years, 11 months ago

I find it odd that this is the only breaking news headline to earn all capital letters.

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

I thought so too haha, but then again, its LJW.

MyName 7 years, 11 months ago

But it's important! And Dramatic!!1!!oneoneone!

Linda Aikins 7 years, 11 months ago

It reminded me of the newspaper in the famous picture, (see this in all caps) DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN.

Ray_Finkle 7 years, 11 months ago

But apparently they had no trouble undoing my capslock.

BabyBear 7 years, 11 months ago

HAHAHA! as much as I love the big 12 and KU this is really the best news ever!

cowboy 7 years, 11 months ago

About time , clear his name he agrees to resignation . Bye Lew !

Now while he enjoys his one year severance get someone new hired that has some integrity and clean house on the AD staff.

thebigspoon 7 years, 11 months ago

Lew Perkins, Commissioner of the Big1X or Pac 1X..................................?

friendlyjhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Not sorry to hear Lew is leaving. Wish I could be there to let the door hit him in the butt on the way out!

Dan Matthews 7 years, 11 months ago

Gee, I guess Lew wasn't so "innocent" after all.....

whats_going_on 7 years, 11 months ago

I agree this Bernadette lady needs to take a hike..She probably was demanding a black coach and now she will want a black AD..Obama affirmative action.

holy god, shut up.

Graczyk 7 years, 11 months ago

Go back to your cotton ball throwing buddies at MU.

earline james 7 years, 11 months ago

This takes the cake! Offensive, yes; but how sad it must be, to be you.

irvan moore 7 years, 11 months ago

I find it interesting Lew dictates terms, not the chancellor, uh, no I don't.

dubujg 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Lew (nightmare of Mass and chiller of the 1st Amend) feels a need to hang around long enough to sue God for using blue as a sky color.

Thinking_Out_Loud 7 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if Roy Williams would like to be an Athletic Director?

mdrndgtl 7 years, 11 months ago

A complete failure, you forgot to mention he looked the other way as we won a BCS Bowl and I've heard he was also in on the whole NCAA Championship fiasco also.

Majestic42 7 years, 11 months ago

Thank you Internet Police! We would be lost if you didn't repeat yourself so much. [sarcasm noted]

Linda Aikins 7 years, 11 months ago

I have to agree. Where was our astute AD when the colleges were bailing out of the Big 12? If he was so wonderful, he had to know this was on the horizon and do all he could to make sure KU was covered. Oh no, wait. He was busy with the ticket scandal and the exercise equipment.

This is just another VeRy BiG consequence of having him as AD for as long as we did.

Big5 7 years, 11 months ago

I've already heard that Richard Billings is being considered for the job. Does anybody know how tight he is with Deloss Dodds? Billings will definitely restore the Big 12 back to its glory days.

Uhjh 7 years, 11 months ago

Lew get the hell out NOW! Not at the end of the year. Take your cronies with you and slither into the sunset. I would say like a reptile but I would want to offend them. Highly paid to know want is going on within athletics ha ha!

hedshrinker 7 years, 11 months ago

OMG,"stick around long enuf to sue God for using blue for the sky color" laugh all day....

Frightwig 7 years, 11 months ago

When that retirement date arrives, you will be sorely missed, Lew. Until then, let's make sure your final season is a glorious one. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!!

K_Verses_The_World 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, I don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble Trouble always comes to pass But all I care about now Is that I’m seeing the real you at last

Big5 7 years, 11 months ago

Does anybody know if Billings is still available? A buddy of mine told me he worked 158 hours a week for a while.

Big5 7 years, 11 months ago

Richard Billings is a hard-nosed competitor who just won't put up with the early tournament losses. He'll probably bring in a coach like Holtz or Spurrier rather than a 2nd tier mid-major guy. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't lure Phil Jackson or Tom Izzo here if Self bolts for the Clippers.

4getabouit 7 years, 11 months ago

Well, now all you rocket scientists can apply and fix Ku Athletics.

Dirtman24 7 years, 11 months ago

lmao quite funny also as this blackmail drama was thrown out in court if I remember news saying so, I won't miss him as HE seen KU's budget double, hmmmm budget double!!! Sounds real real FISHY to me and IMO I think he pocketed some $$$$$, don't get me wrong he has been through allot recently, but come on why would he announce he retiring today, seriously I personally has something more to hide.... LEW you can leave now cuz we CAN replace you with someone WAY better............

MDHawk 7 years, 11 months ago

"In 2008, Perkins was voted by a poll in TIME magazine as the top sports executive in the world. He was the only college sports administrator to make the list of 35."

If you're thinking business and making our university money, I'm afraid we'd be hard pressed to find someone better. Just don't see our budget doubling again...sorry.

Now, if by someone better you mean less suspicious, "mobster-ish", and money-driven, perhaps you might be correct. But in the arena of modern college sports, that's also quite unlikely and possibly less than helpful.

smercer 7 years, 11 months ago

Sticking around just long enough to qualify for the 2011 retention bonus of $600k after taxes. Sweet.

ResQd 7 years, 11 months ago

I'm sure Lew is laughing all the way to the bank. Probably a condition to get rid of him, retirement in "lieu" of being fired.

XEPCT 7 years, 11 months ago

Thanks Lew!!!!!!!!!!! One last request..... find us a good home. Preferably not the pac-#.

MDHawk 7 years, 11 months ago

One of the few reasonable quotes I've read so far on this article. Personally, I'm not sold one way or another on the guy...but at least support him in his effort to secure our conference future.

Good luck, Lew!

riverdrifter 7 years, 11 months ago


This place need uninformed guards! Guards!!!

riverdrifter 7 years, 11 months ago

Uhm, like, AD's do NOT scrutinize the success of their football programs closely?!

Guards! Guards! Uninformed guards needed here ASAP!

hbjayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

We NEED our KU COMMUNITY TO STEP UP! Contact the Big 12 ( . . . Contact the Board of Regents . . . Contact the Chancellor!! TELL THEM THAT YOUR UNIVERSITY MATTERS AND THAT WE ARE NOT AN AFTER THOUGHT!

ROCK CHALK JAYHAWK to the end . . .

hbjayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

By the way, Chancellor Gray . . . your retirement date is coming soon too. I promise you that. Take your a** back to North Carolina along with your husband. Your first year as Chancellor will always remain as one of the biggest disappointments in KU history. Fitting, considering our football team and basketball team (revenue engines) also disappointed.

Time for new blood and KANSAS BLUE BLOOD!

Patty Hays 7 years, 11 months ago

I think the Chancellor is doing a great job! She's honest and kind. That's more than you can say for Perkins and Mangino.

parrothead8 7 years, 11 months ago

All the Chancellor has done is handle every problem thrown at her (problems stemming from long before she got to KU) with thoughtfulness and patience. She is a brilliant woman and an excellent administrator.

Patty Hays 7 years, 11 months ago

He's sticking around for the 2.05 million dollar bonus. :)

pace 7 years, 11 months ago

Good bye lew, don't let the door hit you on the way out. I hope the next guy will watch the office enough to keep KU out of federal court.

Jeanne Cunningham 7 years, 11 months ago

While riding up on that high horse, it's hard to notice that a big fall might be coming...

Maybe if KU athletics gets a little bit down off of its high horse and back down to earth, tickets might get back to being within reach of normal loyal old fans who just love this school and this town...

Jeff Kilgore 7 years, 11 months ago

Academic success and athletic success aren't mutually exclusive nor are they inversely proportional.

Brian Thomas 7 years, 11 months ago

good ridance. Keegan, you are a lame-duck

dontcallmedan 7 years, 11 months ago

(Howard Cosell voice) "They're not say-ing 'Lew', they're say-ing 'boo'."

George_Braziller 7 years, 11 months ago

'Retire" -- yeah, right.

I knew from the beginning he was going to be canned. The arrangement just makes it look a little less ghastly for the university.

akt2 7 years, 11 months ago

They are hemorrhaging on the hill. But they are bleeding crimson and blue. Bad times for KU. Fans and alumni will see it thru. They will not be able to abandon their beloved Jayhawks. Disloyalty is unbecoming and will not be tolerated. Regardless of who you are.

volunteer 7 years, 11 months ago

Now, whose house did Bill Self purchase? (I only saw this reported ONCE; can't recall if it was KC or Topeka newspaper; doubt it was Lawrence's) Not sure how pertinent it is, but dang it, give us full disclosure (and not just in passing) about the details if there nothing untoward about it.

And is a big name assistant basketball coach involved in any way with some of the "bad actors" in the ticket sandal farce? Please, LJWorld, just tell us so we don't have to speculate and depend on rumors that one hears in town.

The Athletic Department..didn't it just get the former governor's press agent? I would not say that person is doing a very good job.

happyrock 7 years, 11 months ago

He will never make it to September 2011

7texdude 7 years, 11 months ago

Perkins' last move is to get KU into the Mountain West. You can laugh and call it second rate, but if KU, KSU and Boise are added, then you have a strong football conference. A conference with three teams (Utah, Boise and KU) that have won BCS bowl games plus TCU, which lost to Boise last year, is a tough one.

Also, the MWC will become eligible for an automatic BCS bowl berth in two years and its TV contract is up in two years as well. We can cry and moan about the Big 12 breaking up, but it's time to make sure we have a place to land. There is a difference between the MWC and the WAC, CUSA, etc. If KU ends up in one of those conferences, then it might as well follow Wichita State's example and cancel the football team..

KRITIKOS 7 years, 11 months ago

beleaguered......????? He paved our hill....put family tailgates out of economic porportion...and bailed just like a cornhusker riding a buffalo...nothing but a Dicky V junior......mop my floor my ass!

TopJayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Can't any of you read? The article clearly states that he is staying to get his $600,000 due to him in June of next yr. Read people read. Jeez it ain't that hard.

TopJayhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Hydra You are wrong,. This is nuerolinguistic programming you are talking about. Up and right is accessing info. DOWN and left is falsification. Up and left is not really an indicator of anything.

Hoots 7 years, 11 months ago

Bet money that's a free car he's driving too...

danemary 7 years, 11 months ago


Beelzebub 7 years, 11 months 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.

Matt Schwartz 7 years, 11 months ago

this ain't no sinking ship, but the rats are definately leaving....and as uncle buck says, "here's a quarter to gnaw that thing off of your face(lew)."

thesloss 7 years, 11 months ago

Interesting ... reading the front page of kcstar, I asked my spouse to read the article on Lew ... she glanced down and started reading ... headline, "Lew Perkins says he will step down in 2011" ... continuing reading to the right ... "SEWAGE SPILLS spark probe ... " ohhh, separate article or not ... how fitting!!! Perfect.

DrRustinMcGillicuddy 7 years, 11 months ago

Agreed. I'm a little disgusted by how much he is taking from the university - financially and academically - as an ATHLETIC Director. Without question, every professor, director, coach, and employee (anyone with directer oversight of students) should be looking out for the best interest of the students and protecting their futures. But in the end it's all politics; they talk out of both sides of their mouths.

Tom McCune 7 years, 11 months ago

Who cares? There millions of washed-up ex-jocks out there who will take the money to replace him. Nothing will change. Just a different butt in the same seat.

yourworstnightmare 7 years, 11 months ago

The absence of Perkins and Gray-Little from the Big 12 conference meeting could really hurt KU as realignment happens.

KU needed a voice there for unofficial deal making and agreements about the future. KU could be left out in the old because of their absence.

4everahawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Every day that I read about Lew doubling the 'operating' budget at KU just about makes me sick. Why? Just ask anyone who works there and they will tell you that the 'lesser' sports practically have to beg just to buy office supplies. Renovations to their offices (huge amount of money spent on architects, etc) folded. However, they did get some new paint and a couple of minor renovations.

dm1357911 7 years, 11 months ago

If employed through June 30, 2011, Perkins reportedly will receive a $600,000 retention bonus, after taxes. Nough said.

friendlyjhawk 7 years, 11 months ago

Of course he is staying to get the's a jungle out there.

dryljones 7 years, 11 months ago

With Nebraska and Colorado gone, we need someone to alter the words to "I'm A Jayhawk".

Mandie Eutsler 7 years, 11 months ago

Lots of idiots. I wonder if other schools have this many unsupportive "fans". Get over it people. We just want to enjoy the games, have a little success, and watch the game in our much improved venues. Since Lew has taken over, I can watch my favorite football team on tv when we are away. That for me was the best thing ever! Are we all forgetting the times we had to listen to the radio and hear our team getting thier asses kicked? that was horrible, but I listened anyway. We are finally keeping up with the other money schools, and unfortunately with that comes the scumbags taking advantage. I'm sure those people will end up in jail or whatever. Let's remember what's important here. We still need to support our student athletes.

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