Gale Sayers Coming Home To Join Kansas Athletics
Aug. 31, 2009
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Former University of Kansas football great Gale Sayers is coming home. Sayers will join Kansas Athletics in October as Director of Fundraising for Special Projects.
“I am thrilled and honored to welcome Gale back to the Kansas Athletics administration,” KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins said. “There is no one better suited to take on this role. Gale obviously distinguished himself on the gridiron as both a collegian and a professional, but the example he also set in his career after football serves as a model to our student-athletes and to the general student body. Our entire university will benefit from Gale’s return. We look forward to his being an integral part of our team here at Kansas.”
“Lew and I started talking about my coming back to the University of Kansas about six months ago,” Sayers said. “He told me that he wanted to build Kansas Athletics into a program that would be competing for national championships in every sport. I believe that with the team Lew has put together, and with the support of the KU alumni, we can make this a reality. I am happy to be back at the University of Kansas and I am eager to get started.”
Sayers was a two-time All-America selection for Kansas – in 1963 and 1964. He rushed for 2,675 yards and produced 3,917 all-purpose yards during his Jayhawk career. He led KU in rushing, touchdowns and kickoff returns in each of his three years in the lineup, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
Gale Sayers was a two-time All-American at Kansas
Sayers then put up NFL Hall-of-Fame numbers with the Chicago Bears, who made him their number one pick in the 1965 NFL Draft. He scored a rookie-record 22 touchdowns, just one of seven records he either tied or broke in his career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
After his great NFL career was cut short by injury, he embarked on a career in college athletics administration. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Kansas, and served at KU as assistant athletics director. In 1976 he was selected athletics director at Southern Illinois University, becoming the first African-American A.D. in Division I.
In 1984 he left athletics administration to launch a computer business, which he has built into a world-class provider of technology products and services. He and his wife, Ardie, are currently working on opening the Gale Sayers Center, an after-school program for eight-to-12-year-olds, which will provide extensive computer and public-speaking programs.
In June Sayers was inducted into the John McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes the dedication of longtime minority athletics administrators in working toward the advancement of minorities in the field of athletics administration, while achieving the highest level of excellence in their own career. The Hall of Fame is named for McLendon, a KU graduate who was the first African-American man to study under James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball and KU’s first basketball coach.
Sayers is one of three former Jayhawks in the NFL Hall of Fame.