Former KU AD Lew Perkins gives school thumbs-up for hiring Jeff Long

Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins chews on a cigar after the KU men’s basketball team beat Texas in this file photo from March 3, 2007, at Allen Fieldhouse. Perkins abruptly retired on Tuesday, a year ahead of his announced retirement.

Former Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins gave a ringing endorsement Thursday to new athletic director Jeff Long.

“I just heard about it,” Perkins said by phone from his Lawrence home. “Phew, wow! Just one man’s opinion, but I think that’s a home-run hire. He’s a classy guy. He is a class, class, class guy.”

Perkins cited Long’s role as former head of the College Football Playoff Committee as evidence of the respect he has within college athletics.

“You don’t get on that unless you’re really good,” Perkins said. “You’re dealing with some big-time football people on that. I really think this was a good hire for Kansas, and they were lucky that he was available.”

Perkins predicted that the boosters and coaches “will like working with him. Great guy.”

Long, 58, has served as athletic director at Pittsburgh and Arkansas, and was fired at his last stop after he and his football hire, Bret Bielema, fell out of favor with Razorbacks boosters.

“He’s been around and he’s everything you want,” Perkins said. “I’ve known him for years and he’s had many good discussions about athletics. He will work hard to make this thing work. He’s going to work hard to finish his career.”

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