Jayhawks Earn Awards At Annual Kansas City Banquet


June 19, 2008

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas football legend Gale Sayers, Kansas director of athletics Lew Perkins and KU basketball standout Brandon Rush were among the honorees Thursday night at the Kansas City Sports Commission’s 36th annual award show PROPS – Party Recognizing Outstanding People of Sports.

Before a banquet crowd of approximately 1,200 at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Sayers received the Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award. Perkins received the CASEY Award, and Rush was presented the Co-Kansas City Collegiate Male Athlete of the Year. Rush shared the award with Missouri running back Tony Temple.

A two-time All-American at Kansas, Sayers, the “Kansas Comet,” established himself throughout his collegiate and professional career as one of the great running backs in the history of football. Sayers concluded his KU career with 2,675 yards rushing and 3,917 all-purpose yards from 1963-64. Sayers was a first round draft pick of the Chicago Bears (and Kansas City Chiefs). He led the league in rushing in 1966 and 1969 and retired in 1972 with a career total of 4,956 rushing yards. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977 at age 34, the youngest person ever selected.

The Lamar Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to an amateur or professional sports athlete, coach or administrator in recognition of exceptional achievement for a career in athletics. The award is named after Lamar Hunt, founder of the Kansas City Chiefs and a founding father of the AFL, which eventually merged with the NFL. Lamar Hunt was the longtime face of Kansas City sports and supporter of the community.

Perkins, who was a finalist for the The Sports Business Journal Athletic Director of the Year, this year oversaw one of the most successful years in Kansas Athletics history. The Jayhawk football team won a school-record 12 games, including a 24-21 victory over Virginia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl, Kansas’ first BCS bowl contest. The Kansas men’s basketball team won the 2008 national championship, the school’s fifth national title. The Jayhawks won a school-record 37 games and also won their fourth straight Big 12 regular-season title and third-straight conference postseason championship.

The CASEY Award is presented annually to an amateur sports athlete, coach or administrator in recognition of exceptional achievement in amateur athletics. The first CASEY Award honoree was John Wooden in 1993. Other honorees include former NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers in 1994, football coaching legend Eddie Robinson in 1995, Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson in 2003 and former KU track legend Billy Mills in 2006.

An All-Big 12 First Team selection each of the last three seasons, Rush has led Kansas in scoring each of the last three years, including 13.3 points per game in 2007-08 for the national champion Jayhawks. The Kansas City, Mo., 6-6 guard has been named Wooden Award All-American each of the last two years, was a member of the 2008 Final Four All-Tournament team and was the most outstanding player of the 2008 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship last March, helping leading Kansas to that title in the Sprint Center.