KU chancellor names six-member committee to find new athletics director

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little spoke Wednesday about the search for a new athletics director.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little spoke Wednesday about the search for a new athletics director.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Members of a six-member search committee are on the lookout for candidates to become Kansas University’s next athletics director.

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Chancellor Bernadatte Gray-Little announced membership for the committee Friday afternoon:

• Ray Evans, managing partner of Pegasus Capital Management in Overland Park, chairman.

• Kenneth L. Audus, dean of the KU School of Pharmacy and professor of pharmaceutical chemistry.

• Ritch Price, head baseball coach at KU.

• Linda Ellis Sims, account executive with ExxonMobil Corp.

• Debbie Van Saun, associate athletics director/senior women’s administrator

• Thomas Ward, president and CEO of Russell Stover Candies in Kansas City, Mo.

Gray-Little said she plans to have a new athletics director named by the end of the spring smemester “or sooner.”

The committee is charged with helping Gray-Little fill the job vacated with the Sept. 7 retirement of Lew Perkins, who had been athletics director for seven years. Sean Lester is serving as interim athletics director.

Perkins had been expected to remain on the job until Sept. 4, 2011. That’s the date he had given in June, when he announced his plans to retire and make the “transition as seamless as possible” to a new athletics director.

This school year began with a new football coach, Turner Gill, hired by Perkins to replace Mark Mangino, who left campus a year ago with a $3 million settlement after being accused of verbally abusing players.

The department is working to repair damage left by a ticket scandal, one documented in a university-ordered investigation that identified five now-former employees and a former consultant suspected of taking more than 19,000 tickets for football and men’s basketball games during a five-year period. The scam cost the department anywhere from $1 million to $3 million, and two of the former employees already have pleaded guilty in federal court for their roles in the scam.

Perkins himself still faces an ethics review by state regulators, regarding exercise equipment that had been placed at Perkins’ home. A dispute over the equipment eventually led Perkins to pursue blackmail charges against a former employee, charges that have not been filed by authorities.