Kansas University football great and pro football Hall of Fame inductee Gale Sayers, hired in October of 2009 to be KU’s director of fundraising for special projects, no longer is employed by the university.
Sayers, a former running back who went on to stardom in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, left Kansas Athletics, Inc., a few weeks ago to take a job in Las Vegas working as a celebrity ambassador for charity events and poker tournaments.
KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger said Sayers’ resignation was an emotional moment.
“Gale was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, both financially and as a celebrity, and it was something he could not pass up,” Zenger said. “In sharing the move with us, the conversation was very heartfelt and it was important to him that people know how much he cares about the University of Kansas.”
Sayers hosted a charity poker event with former Green Bay Packers great Paul Hornung on Feb. 5 at Las Vegas’ Red Rock Casino.
One casino official said Sayers was not employed by Red Rock and his new endeavor could be tied to a management company that supplies celebrity hosts for similar functions.
During his most recent employment stint in the KU athletic department, Sayers was paid $150,000 annually, and Zenger said he had no plans to replace him.
“When his schedule permits, Gale will continue to join us in athletic department outreach activities,” Zenger said, noting that any future association with KU would not be on a paid basis.