Monday, July 21, 2008

Perkins only collegiate official on Time’s list of best and worst athletic executives

Time Magazine readers have ranked KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins among the top 10 sports executives in the world.


Something seems to be working.

Time magazine readers have ranked Kansas University Athletics Director Lew Perkins among the top 10 sports executives in the world.

In a statement through the athletics department, Perkins said he was overwhelmed by the honor.

"This is a tribute to Chancellor Hemenway, to the University of Kansas and to all of our coaches and student athletes," he said.

Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director, said it was no surprise to those who work with him.

"It's obviously a testament to the athletic successes (we've had)," he said.

The list of 35 sports bigwigs runs the gamut from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to Indian Premier (Cricket) League chairman Lilat Kuhmar Modi. Perkins is the only college-level administrator on the list.

Time asked its readers to rank the executives from best to worst and Perkins was as high as second at one point Monday night.

The analysis accompanying the survey, which appears at, says Perkins has proven to be a boon for KU and cites the rising athletics budget and the fact that Kansas is only the second school to win a basketball championship and a BCS bowl game in the same year.

As a negative, Time cited the $31 million football facility upgrade that is being completed. "What higher-ed purpose does that serve?" Time asked.

Perkins has served as athletics director since 2003 after coming from the University of Connecticut. While boosting the department's spending budget and bringing increased national attention to sports other than basketball, Perkins also has ruffled feathers by altering how tickets are sold and moving the Kansas/Missouri football game to Arrowhead Stadium.

Ryan Weaver, a KU graduate student from Canton, Ohio, said he understood why Perkins ranked so well.

"It's been a really good year, wouldn't you say?" he said. "I just hope he's able to continue the success."


Dave Coen 13 years, 3 months ago

Good job Lew!!! Keep up the good work. We are also a traditional power in Cross Country and Track & Field. I know they are non-revenue sports, but it would be great to rebuild those programs.

Keckadek 13 years, 3 months ago

Lew Perkins... he's like a nice Darth Vader.

Jonathan Allison 13 years, 3 months ago

Success in athletics should beget success in academics. But when you get right down to it, Lew is the CEO of KU Athletics Co and he's done a great job. If Time is going to attack him by saying what is the football complex doing for academics, then they might need to think about his job description. But of course success in athletics will increase enrollment, which will bring money to the university, which will bring in new faculty and new academic facilities...

DSommersby 13 years, 3 months ago

Way to go Big Lew! Congrats to you and all of the hard working people at KU. Major props to all the coaches and hard working student athletes who got it done on the field and courts. Let's keep it rolling!

5DecadeHawk 13 years, 3 months ago

Congratulations to Lew.Hopefully this recognition will open some eyes and make Lew's job easier.One day maybe some of the crybabies will recognize that a huge portion of all the money in the KU Athletics budget gets spent back into the Lawrence economy.Financial success for KU and KU Athletics helps the success of local business with a ripple effect. The multiplier is huge.It's not an easy job. Many people that enjoyed special seating and privileges without offering commensurate financial donations have gotten passed by. I certainly understand their frustration, but Lew has done what is best for KU. Difficult decisions needed to be made and Lew has done well to represent KU's interests.I do not agree with 100% of his decisions, but I do respect that the man does his best to consistently do right for KU. Money does not equal success, but money makes success much more reachable. Success brings more money. It's a positive feedback loop.Hopefully Lew will now renew his focus on other areas of KU Athletics. It's time to upgrade KU Athletics education programs for student athlete conduct. We have young men and women that are put into a situation to be public representatives and role models when they are 18-22 years old. It is very important to have the programs in place to teach these young men and women how to handle success and publicity.We have quality coaches. That is a good starting point.It's not enough.KU should be working harder than ever before to teach and train our student athletes to become Men, Women, Mothers, Fathers, and mentors. Teach Student Athletes how to recognize real friends from leeches and hangers on. Teach student athletes how to be role models and mentors.I'm not saying these factors have been ignored in the past. I'm saying that our new successes cast a much brighter spotlight on our athletes. We must upgrade our support programs to be able to handle our newfound success. The old systems are proving insufficient by themselves in this new era. Let's upgrade them. High profile athletes have always been juicy targets for some of the worst liars and manipulators of society. Gamblers, status seekers, and sleazy lawyers are always looking to take advantage of people thrust into the spotlight. KU must continually improve the ability to teach and train student athletes to be the best citizens that they can be.This is Lew's next big challenge. Is he willing to take it on with the strength and conviction he has the finances? I think he can. I think he will. Get 'er done Lew!Rock Chalk Jayhawk.

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