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Archive for Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bishop Seabury excited Lew Perkins on board as assistant girls basketball coach

March 15, 2011

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Seabury Academy girls basketball coach and personal trainer Becky Bridson loves to talk about basketball with one of her clients: former Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins.

Those conversations, held over the past couple of years during regular workouts, became the starting point for Perkins’ new role as assistant girls basketball coach at Seabury.

“It’s just one of those things where the timing was perfect. The person was perfect,” Bridson said. “It just kind of evolved, and we’re all very happy he’s on board.”

Bridson is ecstatic to work with somebody who had a direct influence on the development of the women’s basketball program at the University of Connecticut. As a senior in high school in 1995, Bridson idolized the Huskies as they won their first of seven national championships.

Perkins served as athletic director at UConn from 1990-2003. Though he wasn’t responsible for hiring current coach Geno Auriemma, Perkins did continue to extend his contract and help the program grow into a national powerhouse.

“He knew a good coach when he saw one,” Bridson said. “That’s history right there. He had influence on Geno Auriemma and he had influence on all those basketball players and some of the greatest female athletes of our time.”

Seabury athletic director Eric Nelson said that Perkins’ experience with high-level basketball was important.

Perkins could not be reached for comment. Nelson said Perkins would not be talking to the media about the hiring.

Perkins announced his retirement from athletic director at KU on Sept. 7, 2010, moving up by a year his initial retirement plans.

“He’s got time,” Nelson said. “He likes the school and he’s a friend of our school. He wants to do something to help the kids.

“It’s very simple. There’s no motive. He’s not doing it for any reason at all. He’s been the AD at Kansas. He doesn’t need to do this but he wants to.”

The personal trainer relationship isn't Perkins’ only tie to Seabury. His daughter, Amy, served as admissions director in 2007-2008.

The school is required to pay Perkins, but he will only be paid a small amount — likely in the area of a dollar — to coach. Essentially, Perkins is volunteering and will donate any income back to the school.

Seabury’s program only started two years ago, and the Seahawks haven’t played a full varsity schedule yet. Perkins’ exact role hasn’t been established, but he will work with all of the teams, from the varsity to the new sixth-grade team.

“I just think that he’s probably going to wear a lot of hats,” Bridson said. “He’s going to be a huge help to us. He’s really going to help elevate our program and take it to the next level.”

Seabury participates in the Kansas State High School Activities Association Class 1A athletic programs.

Bridson expects Perkins to be at every practice and on the bench for every game. She said she’s already learned a lot from Perkins in the preliminary stages of their working relationship.

“I don’t think any of us really know the far reaches that this can take us,” Bridson said. “I’m so happy for the kids because they’re such good kids and they work their butts off. Sometimes when we go into competitive situations, that isn’t reflected.”

This won’t be Perkins’ first go-around in coaching. He served as the men’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina Aiken from 1969-79.

Rob Matwick, currently the executive vice president of ballpark operations with the Texas Rangers, played for Perkins at USC Aiken during the 1978-79 season. He remembers Perkins’ toughness as a coach.

“Tell any of those kids when they’re running back on defense, they better make sure they turn their heads and look at the basketball,” Matwick said. “Because Lew can hit you in the head with a basketball with as much precision as a Nolan Ryan fastball.”

Matwick appreciated that intensity and said he still thinks of Lew and his wife, Gwen, as second parents. Perkins spoke at Matwick’s induction into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

“There was no finer person as a mentor and a father figure than Lew,” Matwick said. “He’s always been a special person for me.”

Bridson said Perkins has reasons for taking the job beyond helping Seabury, including gaining the satisfaction of helping a young program improve.

“He’s super excited. He’s super enthusiastic,” Bridson said. “I can’t wait for it to be November 15, basically.”

— Big 12 blogger Eric Sorrentino contributed to this story.

Comments

KEITHMILES05 3 years, 9 months ago

Hell, the man can hardly walk and we are to believe he's going to be sitting there coaching? Kinda funny if you ask me.

SinoHawk 3 years, 9 months ago

This sounds like a really unique opportunity for the Seabury girls. Mr. Perkins obviously has large amount of experience in this area, so the girls are lucky to have him as an assistant coach. Posters should keep in mind how unique of an opportunity this is for the Seabury girls, not merely comment on Mr. Perkins' time as AD of KU.

@Kiethmiles05: Joe Paterno is still coaching PSU at the ripe old age of ~2million, so I wouldn't worry too much about Lew's gait ;)

friendlyjhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Interesting that a christian school would hire, even for $1, a man who has shown that ethics are not his strong suit. Wonder how their ticket program will fair? The snooty Seabury will surely get what it is paying for.

formerseahawk 3 years, 9 months ago

"Seabury’s program only started two years ago, and the Seahawks haven’t played a full varsity schedule yet."

This statement is simply not true. A few years ago, the Seabury women's basketball team had to take a season off because they did not have enough players to support an entire season. However, there was a varsity women's basketball team before that time and they played a full varsity schedule. There were multiple years that Seabury played a full varsity schedule and competed in Kansas State High School Activities Association Class 1A athletic events. This statement disregards all of the hardwork and dedication shown by former female Seabury athletes.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 9 months ago

Make sure someone else maintains financial oversight and institutional control during his tenure or Seabury might find valuable popcorn stand earnings siphoned off.

Clickker 3 years, 9 months ago

"Interesting that a christian school would hire, even for $1, a man who has shown that ethics are not his strong suit. Wonder how their ticket program will fair? The snooty Seabury will surely get what it is paying for."

I guess a Christian school shouldnt be in the business of Forgiveness.....or even second chances.

friendlyjhawk 3 years, 9 months ago

Guess some people would even forgive Madoff. Forgive Perkins but give him a second chance with the sharks and not the lambs.

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