Perkins Nominated for National Athletic Director of the Year

April 2, 2008

LAWRENCE, Kan. – <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Kansas Athletics Director Lew Perkins has been selected as a final nominee in the Athletic Director of the Year category for the inaugural Sports Business Awards presented by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. The Sports Business Awards recognize excellence and outstanding achievement in the business of sports for 2007.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

Other nominees for Athletic Director of the Year in alphabetical order are Jeff Hathaway, University of Connecticut; Gene Smith, OhioStateUniversity; and Ron Wellman, WakeForestUniversity.

SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily said it will honor “the best in our business” out of more than 400 entries in 11 categories that were submitted to their editorial committee. The categories are: Pro sports league; sports agency; sports innovation/technology; sports event marketing firm; sports executive; pro sports team; sports facility; athletics director; sports media; sports online and sports sponsor.

Perkins has served as Director of Athletics at the University of Kansas since June 2003. He arrived at KU after achieving nationally recognized success as athletics director at the University of Connecticut. Kansas Athletics has experienced tremendous growth and success during Perkins’ short tenure.

  • In the fall of 2007, the student-athletes in KU’s 18-sport program achieved unprecedented success in the classroom. Ten KU teams posted 3.0 grade-point averages or better and 229 student-athletes on active rosters (51 percent) posted a 3.0 GPA or higher, including 48 with perfect 4.0 GPA’s. Kansas student-athletes earned a combined 2.93 grade-point average during the 2007 fall semester, setting an Athletics Department-record for a fall semester.
  • The football team won the 2008 Orange Bowl, capping a school-record 12-win season, and the team has been bowl-eligible in four of the last five years;
  • The men’s basketball team reached the 2008 NCAA Final Four, the Elite Eight of the 2004 and 2007 NCAA Championships, and has won the last four Big 12 Conference regular-season championships, as well as the last three Big 12 tournament titles;
  • The women’s volleyball team has appeared in three NCAA tournaments, reaching the second round in 2003 and 2004;
  • The women’s soccer team has appeared in two NCAA tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2003;
  • The softball team won the Big 12 Championship in 2006 and reached the NCAA tournament for the second straight season;
  • The baseball team won the Big 12 Championship in 2006 and reached the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1994;
  • The women’s basketball team reached the 2006 Women’s National Invitation Tournament, its first postseason appearance since 2000;
  • Several track-and-field student-athletes have won NCAA titles, and many have received All-America and All-Big 12 honors.

Kansas Athletics fundraising has reached unprecedented levels. Under Perkins, KU’s $27-million athletics budget has grown to more than $50 million. That fundraising, including landmark apparel and corporate-partner contracts, has resulted in greater services for KU coaches and student-athletes, and numerous upgrades in KU’s athletics facilities:

  • The Booth Family Hall of Athletics, which opened in January 2006 in Allen Fieldhouse, celebrates the tradition and history of Kansas Athletics; a beautiful Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame exhibit was unveiled in the Hall of Athletics in February 2008.
  • The spirit and aura of Allen Fieldhouse has been enhanced by renovations that were completed prior to the 2005-06 season, include freshly painted bleachers, new windows, new lighting and sound systems, and a new center-hung scoreboard, which includes a large, state-of-the-art video board;
  • The baseball complex now includes an indoor hitting facility and a new scoreboard, complete with a large, state-of-the-art video board;
  • The Anderson Family Football Complex and two new practice fields – adjacent to Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium – are scheduled for completion in summer 2008;
  • A new AquaticRehabilitationCenter houses three Hydroworx pools that enhance rehabilitation efforts under the guidance and supervision of the University of Kansas Sports Medicine Staff.

The award ceremony will be held Thursday, May 29, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City.