LAWRENCE, Kansas - University of Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins will resign at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
Perkins announced his retirement Thursday; his retirement is effective Sept. 4, 2011.
“I have loved my time here at the University of Kansas and I will continue leading Kansas Athletics over the course of the next year," Perkins said in a released statement.
In a news conference Thursday Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said that at no point did she ask Perkins to resign or retire.
They’ve met face to face all week to discuss the Big 12 realignment. Thursday, Perkins told Gray-Little he wanted to discuss his retirement. Gray-Little said she was not expecting it.
She added that she never discussed his retirement until Thursday.
Perkins has served as athletic director since June 2003 . He arrived at KU after achieving nationally recognized success as athletic director at the University of Connecticut.
During his time, Kansas Athletics fundraising has reached unprecedented levels. Under Perkins, KU's $27-million athletics budget has grown to more than $55 million.
The 65-year-old Perkins has been embroiled in a couple of recent controversies.
On Wednesday, Gray-Little announced an internal investigation cleared Perkins of any wrongdoin g in connection with the free use of exercise equipment.
Also pending is a separate scandal involving an alleged scam by five former athletic employees involving millions of dollars worth of basketball and football tickets .
No one has said Perkins was involved in the ticket matter.
Statement from Perkins
“I have loved my time here at the University of Kansas and I will continue leading Kansas Athletics over the course of the next year.
At this time, my greatest priority is working on conference alignment issues, and as I’ve committed to the Chancellor, I will work tirelessly on these efforts. Conference alignment is the biggest challenge we have before us as an athletics department and an institution.
I am very proud of the academic and athletic success of our student-athletes during my time at KU and I will forever treasure the friendships and experiences being a Jayhawk has brought.
Our supporters are among the best across the nation and I could not be more pleased with how much we have accomplished together.
Gwen and I are proud to call Lawrence home. We’ve talked over the past couple years about retirement, and with my 65th birthday this year, this is the right decision for us.
After more than 40+ years in the athletics business I look forward to retiring next year, spending time with my wife, our children and grandchildren, as well as finding a little more time on the golf course.
However, my work here is not done. Chancellor Gray-Little has my support as she chooses a new Athletics Director, and my commitment to make the transition as seamless as possible. We have a lot of work to do over the course of the next year and I am honored to do it.”
Statement from Chancellor Gray-Little
“Lew has led Kansas Athletics during a time of remarkable growth and success. A national championship in men’s basketball. Victory in the Orange Bowl. A full Fieldhouse for the WNIT final. And numerous awards and honors for KU student-athletes and teams. But more importantly, his leadership has enabled Kansas student-athletes to make remarkable strides in the classroom. Throughout Kansas Athletics, there is a focus on academic excellence that is befitting a university of KU’s distinction.
Recent days have been challenging, and there is much uncertainty in the college sports landscape, but by remaining through the coming school year, Lew will be able to help guide the university as conference realignment continues. I will also work closely with him to implement the decisive actions needed to ensure trust and confidence in our ticketing procedures.
I know this is an anxious time for Jayhawks. I want to reassure our fans that we have been proactive throughout the conference realignment discussions, and our efforts to advance the interests of KU will remain extremely aggressive. We have had tremendous support in these efforts from many individuals in many quarters, demonstrating the deep-seated commitment to KU.”
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