Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Perkins did it his way

A.D. driven by money, winning

Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins stands on the sideline during the Jayhawks’ game against Texas on Nov. 21 in Austin, Texas.

Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins stands on the sideline during the Jayhawks’ game against Texas on Nov. 21 in Austin, Texas.


Those shocked at the way athletic director Lew Perkins has handled the Kansas University football coaching change haven’t paid close attention to the way Perkins handles most things. In the end, what he does generally is far better received than how he does it.

Perkins is shopping for a football coach, and two factors make it probable he will end up with one who can enjoy more success than Mark Mangino did during his eight years at the helm.

First, the $2.3 million annual salary Mangino was awarded for the final phase of his leadership sent a message throughout the coaching fraternity that KU means business in upgrading its football program. Second, the $31 million Anderson Family football complex, built largely with generous pledges made by KU alumni Dana Anderson and Tom Kivisto, vaulted Kansas from the bottom of the pack to near the top in terms of facilities.

If those two improvements don’t result in a home-run hire, it will only be because Perkins swings and misses. With the help of John Hadl raising so much dough, Perkins has worked himself into a favorable home-run count. He’s not batting with two strikes the way Mangino was after getting his pay raise and the new facilities. Those improvements turned up the pressure on Mangino, whose lack of diplomacy (read: lack of phoniness) gave him less leeway than a less dictatorial type might have been granted.

Once the losing streak hit and Mangino looked bad during it — especially given the way he handled the Todd Reesing injury by not acknowledging it — those who didn’t like his fear-and-intimidation coaching style felt emboldened, complained to the A.D., and Lew, not averse to using fear and intimidation himself, was all ears.

Perkins authorized a meeting with the players, encouraging them to air their concerns about the coach’s abrasive style. Perkins didn’t leak the story, but by holding the meeting had to know it was going to go public. I told Perkins’ spokesman, associate athletic director Jim Marchiony, I had enough confirmation to break the story of the meeting with or without the cooperation of the athletic department. He gave me a say-nothing statement from Perkins that was only slightly more informative than “no comment.”

And then Perkins never had another word to say about the internal investigation conducted by his assistant, Lori Williams, until the night Mangino “resigned.” Once it became known Mangino was being investigated for his treatment of players, news hounds went in search of stories revealing how Mangino treated players. In some cases, the hounds didn’t have to search very hard. Former players volunteered stories.

During his two weeks walking the plank, Mangino reinvented himself from the intimidating tyrant to the coach who led with grandfatherly concern. At one point during the game at Texas, after receiver Johnathan Wilson was smoked on a play, Mangino approached Wilson and said, “Did you get the wind knocked out of yourself there, son?”

Mangino, a very intelligent man who is quick on his feet, conducted himself brilliantly at news conferences when asked about his situation. Without mentioning Perkins by name, he made it clear that he thought many of the questions he was being asked should be directed instead at the man not talking, and there was no disputing that point.

Once the investigation started, the question shifted from whether Mangino would coach Kansas in 2010 to when he would be fired and how much of the $6.6 million he had left on his contract he would get to keep.

Mangino declined Williams’ request to meet with her in the week leading up to the Missouri game, another thriller, this one lost by Kansas, 41-39.

Mangino made it to Thursday, a day that started with a report that KU had a 4 p.m. news conference scheduled. How did that story gain so much traction when it never happened? Here’s my guess: Perkins and/or his people told Mangino and/or his people that if they didn’t come to the table he was going to gather the media at 4 p.m. and tell them that Mangino was being fired with cause and he would tell the media why and try to keep every penny of the $6.6 million. The two sides then agreed on a buyout, agreed to keep the findings of The Williams Report confidential and agreed to call the end of the Mangino era a “resignation,” instead of the firing that it was.

Another guess: Perkins, or someone carrying out his order, contacted Joe Schad of ESPN to tell him the Mangino resignation was going down, and the evidence he could use to back that up was that the A.D. was meeting with the football players at 6:30. Perkins knew this would bring reporters to the parking lot outside the complex, where he could answer a few questions and make for his get-away car, thus removing the need for a news conference where he would have been grilled more intensely. He would have had to answer whether he felt the athletic department failed the football players through the years by not having greater oversight of Mangino and his coaching tactics. And he would have had to answer why he didn’t act upon complaints during winning seasons, as well as why he didn’t just fire Mangino without cause. The last one’s an easy one: Doing so would have caused different but pretty much equal unrest from the alumni and would have cost more because the coach would have gotten all $6.6 million. Wanting more wins was Perkins’ main motivation for making the move, and wanting to spare money drove how he made the move. Are we supposed to be shocked that Perkins is driven by winning and money?

Some perceive Perkins’ decision to use a spokesman to handle questions from the media as arrogance. In truth, it’s just the opposite. He lacks confidence in front of the cameras with good reason. He’s not very good at it. When asked why he felt the need to change football coaches, Perkins answered with the worst two-word combination he could have chosen: “Coach resigned.” Sure, that’s what the lawyers wanted him to say, but you just can’t say it and expect that not to hurt your credibility. You can’t say something you know that nobody is going to believe.

Perkins also ruffled some alumni feathers with the timing of the investigation and the perception that it was a witch hunt. As for the timing, it seems as if Perkins had limitations. Once he took the complaints from parents upstairs, the lawyers surely told him that he couldn’t sit on the investigation until the end of the season. After all, if a liberal-arts major complained about being mistreated by a professor, would that student be told to wait until the end of the semester for an investigation? Consider the liability issues.

Enough on how Perkins has done what he has done. Now look at what he has done. He has maneuvered himself into a position where he has a $2.3 million annual salary, probably more, and vastly improved facilities with which to shop for a new football coach. Perkins does his best work in the shadows, and that’s where football coaches are hired. His two football hires at UConn, Skip Holtz (now at East Carolina) and Randy Edsall, are highly regarded coaches who could be on the verge of upward moves.

Bottom line, ask yourself this question: If you had an annual salary of greater than $2 million and a new facility to offer a coach, would Mangino be on your short list? If the answer is no and you don’t mind the athletic department paying two football coaches, you have to like what Perkins has done, even if you don’t care for how he has done it.


deepind 12 years, 6 months ago

Keegan, you've hit the nail on the head. Many fans on this board who were complaining about Perkins failed to understand the mind of a shrewd businessman! Thank you for the excellent explanation. Even if Perkins fails to hit a home run with this hire, I am pretty confident that he will at least hit a triple and load the third base!

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 6 months ago

So his classless, unethical, tactics are ok if he gets results? Machiavelli is alive and well.

Nathan Anderson 12 years, 6 months ago

Spending $30 mil on the football facilities is nice, but it isn't all that special. Look at Minnesota's new $290 mil stadium. When they fire their current coach, I wonder what it'll get them.

Eurekahwk 12 years, 6 months ago

Lew Perkins didn't manufacture the witchhunt. He was just looking into why his football team stacked with the best offensive talent it's had in the last 30 years went from 12-1 to 8-5 to the midst of a 7 game losing streak. The morale has to be great, right? So a concerned Perkins goes to the players to see what's up. Now, he's the bad guy because they ALL had less than glowing things to say about Mangino.

LJW created the witchhunt that they keep referring too. They are the ones that went and found complaints filed by a parking attendant. They went and quoted former players. But that is what a paper run by Mizzou grads does. It slanders KU anyway possible. So take everything that the LJW writes with a grain of salt.

KUBlue0809 12 years, 6 months ago

Under Lew's reign, we've seen the best success Jayhawk Nation has EVER seen....while the coaches weren't his direct hire, we have become one of the nations most profitable athletic programs. No doubt that Lew is a business man, and to be frank, a straight shootin' son of a gun. He'll take us the right direction. Rock Chalk Jayhawk! LET'S GO KU!

mojayhawk 12 years, 6 months ago

Hey Jayhawk fans. College athletics is big business. Lew is a big business man. Period!

Well said, Keegan.

theajayhawk 12 years, 6 months ago

I just dont get LJW writers sometimes. Just tell me what is wring with being driven by money and success. These are the prerequisites for an administrator in any situation (not just athletics). Perkins has made me proud of being a Jayhawk. We are seeing success in so many areas. Most people agreed Mangino needed to go (it wasnt lack of dimploamtic skills, it was downright wrng behaviour) and Perkins found the most reasonable way without giving away the house to Mangino. And you habe an issue with that. Sometimes I wonder if you guys have any business experience or a formal business education. Shut the hell up.

Todd 12 years, 6 months ago

Keegan is just pissed that Lew said "coach resigned" instead of giving Keegan credit for starting the whole thing.

hirschtodd 12 years, 6 months ago

Keegs...great piece. Nice to actually read something with substance instead an update telling us Urban Meyer is not interested in the KU job. If you have a minute can you walk down the hall and teach Doogie how to write a story. Thanks.

FlaHawk 12 years, 6 months ago

Lew is close to a genius and a shrewed business man. KU does not have one of the top physicalities in the Big XII. KU is about mid-pack and definately not top third, but has made tremendous progress under Lew. Give him 5 more years and KU may make top third of Big XII.

Cmill1221 12 years, 6 months ago

Eurekahwh: we had the best offensive tallent?!?! Besides 3 new linemen and all of our injurues our defence was well under par. Mangino was never lews guy. Why don't you YouTube "mangino explodes" that happened in 07!!!! Where was lew then???? Lew is a jackass!!! He was only looking out for the treatment of players when we started losing. If he really cared about the players why start looking when we start losing? LAME!!! That being said lew better bring in a big tim coach or all of this BS is exzactly that....BS!! ....I am typing on a I touch so parden any errors.

frhays 12 years, 6 months ago

Perkins is a money grubber - pure and simple. If he is such a "genius" how come Wichita State doesn't have a football program today (answer: because genius Perkins killed it as he couldn't figure out how to get it to work there). Lets see who he hires and where this program is headed but genius he is not; the highest paid public employee in the State of Kansas he is. Go figure.

Steve Brown 12 years, 6 months ago

he requested that he be terminated with cause on his feet rather than squirt out of town on his knees, wonder what changed his heart.

oh, the 4pm to be news conf. and the likelyhood of no buyout.

BTW KU has legal issues if they delete, edit, destroy the workings papers for the report. If in future some issue arises, and a family letigates another university where MM is holding tough two a day practices. you may keep it sealed for now, until freedom of information act plays out, yet don't destroy it. LJW you can get injunction on this note right?

Robert Brock 12 years, 6 months ago

Our offensive line was nothing compared to the '07 line. And our defense was nearly devoid of talent (Laptad, Tharp, and Stuckey were the only mainstays). It's difficult to win Big XII games with those problems.

NH_JHawk 12 years, 6 months ago

Like him or not, if you're a Jayhawk who wants to win (be honest with yourself, you do want to win or you wouldn't be reading/posting habitually on then it's hard to argue that Lew isn't an ideal choice for an AD. Need proof he's an ideal AD? UConn.

Carter Patterson 12 years, 6 months ago

While someday Lew Perkins will have to retire, I do hope we are lucky enough to find somebody who can do the job half as well as he does so that they can be twice as good as everybody else.

I have a lot of respect for what he has done for our university. Maybe someday if he does retire, he can write a book that tells us everything that the "flies on the wall" already know!

Great article Tom.

slantrox 12 years, 6 months ago

Funny to see somebody named "BOULDERHAWK" talk about somebody else being, classless and unethical. That is a prerequisit for living in Boulder!

Harbaugh or Nutt will be the next KU HFC. I see the Nutt denial as a decoy to throw the press off while they can sit down and get to the nitty gritty now. He has the most experience. Try recruiting to Ole Miss every year and you will realize competing with Texas and OU is easier if you are in the Big 12. Rivals has Nutt with 11 recruits and is 42nd in the ranking, one spot BEHIND Missouri.

Harbaugh is the picture perfect candidate for Lew except for the occasional verbal flair-up. He has proven he can win with players that other coaches couldn't win with, and players he recruited (mostly at SDSU) and currently Stanford has a top 25 recruiting class at no. 18 with 23 recruits at arguably one of the hardest schools to be accepted into.

It is either Harbaugh or Nutt as the next KU coach!

ps. Love Turner Gill, Brewster and Sumlin, but not enough clout for Lew or KU.

Kevin Long 12 years, 6 months ago

I don't think Lew wanted this whole thing to come out public the way it did. He did the right thing. It's tough and you have to have a tough guy AD. Especially when your a small market school like kansas.

Ryan Gerstner 12 years, 6 months ago

jhawk0097, no one cares about Minnesota's new stadium except for the fans. You're a fan; you'd love to see KU upgrade the stadium. Players don't care about the stadium except the stadium being full. Minnesota's actual field isn't any nicer than anyone elses. The "football facility" is what players look at because that's where they spend so much time each week, and KU has one of the nicest in the country. Learn to look at things through a players eyes instead of a fans, and you'll quickly realize why that facility is such a huge asset in recruiting and attracting a new coach.

Paul Meyer 12 years, 6 months ago

"In the end, what he does generally is far better received than how he does it."

"Enough on how Perkins has done what he has done. Now look at what he has done."

Dear Mr. Keegan,

It might be wise to enroll in an English class next semester at KU.

Sincerely, KUSports Readers

Rick Arnoldy 12 years, 6 months ago

Great article? This is just a compilation and regurgitation of some of the best reader posts over the past few weeks.

As for Lew, college sports is big business whether fans admit it or not or like it or not. He’s doing a great job even if I don’t don’t like everything that’s been done.

Bill Kackley 12 years, 6 months ago

We'll see where all you Lew Lovers are when he hires Edsall or Gil and they go 500 or less 5 years in a row. Sorry businessmen can be ethical and many are. All are not like Lew.

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 6 months ago

Oh really slantrox, Does painting your world with broad strokes simplify your world? Stereotyping the last resort of mediocre minds.

DocBean 12 years, 6 months ago

I've definitely been on Lew's side. He does his job well, and gets a lot of heat for it. Anybody that defends Mangino's Orange bowl victory, should be defending Lew Perkins for it too. Even when KU lost the big game, Lew came in and put a beat down on our biggest rival.

Bottom line is there are a LOT of other schools that would love to have Lew in charge. I'd be really nervous if he left KU. He's good for the program.

LibertyHawk84 12 years, 6 months ago

Lew may be a tough and shrewd AD, but he is no businessman. Unless he has ever been in the private sector where he has to put his OWN money at risk, deal with a terrible recession and sometimes pay his employees out of his OWN pocket don't insult all of the hard-working business owners out there trying to make a living and pay outrageous taxes to keep university staff employed.

It is not too hard to raise ticket prices and milk money out of alumns when you have the top basketball program in the country.

James Hubin 12 years, 6 months ago

Perkins would be a perfect fit in Boulder, I don't think he makes enough money to actually live in Boulder, but he would fit in. Luckily for KU we have Perkins right now and he has done more to improve KU than most other KUAD's combined.

Joe Baker 12 years, 6 months ago

Go get 'em Lew!!

We want a bowl win soon after he's in place. He'll have arguably one of the most talented group of players. If not, then he better be a good recruiter to prepare for that run at a bowl game. Make it a good one.


Larry Ewart 12 years, 6 months ago

I just hope we do not hire an up and coming coach. We have been down that road before when we hired Terry Allen. He had tremendous success at UNI and he brought his staff and it was a flop. Then we hire Mangino and it takes several years to improve the program. Remove the 12-1 season and we are still a .500 program. We need a proven leader and coach who can bring a staff that can recruit nationally. Mangino continued to decline in the program because of people like Bill Young would not coach with such a low class individual. Ed W. is just about as bad, if not worse according to many players. Cannot believe he would be considered for a head coaching position. The Head coach is truly important when it comes to fund raising, media handling, and important decisions but it is the staff that brings the players and coaches them up to win games.

KUFan90 12 years, 6 months ago

Great article Tom, and I agree with the moves Lew has made here. As has been stated above, big time college athletics is big business. Mangino is set for life financially, and we are positioned to hire a coach to take us to the next level. Life is good!

Mangino_Maniac 12 years, 6 months ago

"And he would have had to answer why he didn’t act upon complaints during winning seasons..."

The answer is pretty clear, isn't it? If winning is taking place, Lew doesn't care how it is getting done. He is certainly night and day compared to the class we experienced with Bob Frederick as AD back in the day.

duanep5ku 12 years, 6 months ago

I have to strongly disagree with the above poser, who made the comment that the fans posting here knows nothing about good business. This was not handled even close to good on that perspective of good business.We are losing good recruits in the process. Two we have added more fuel to the media idiots who are always looking for negative news to report. No"this was not good business savvy on Lew's part, let's hope for the best it might work but if you air your dirty laundry in public it's just not smart from a business perspective. I would also like to add one more things for the good business guy comment. If any CEO pulled this in a company setting and the in fighting became public knowledge. What do you think would happen to their stock? I only hope your not a business major studying under Obama math! I would like for KU fans to look at the Kansas football history then get back to me please,on the number of years we played and are bowl record during those memorable years. I hope that we can move forward and not go backwards. Happy Holiday's to all Ku fans

babyjay1 12 years, 6 months ago

Soobawls - really? HCBS engages in the same motivational tactics? I strongly disagree. I would seriously doubt that he has EVER told a player he would send them back to get "shot with their homies" or other things reported. HCBS may be tough and yell, get in players' faces, make them run, get on the bike, etc... but I doubt that he has ever called out a player's family for how the player was raised. Big difference between the two coaches and not really fair to compare them. I'm also guessing the HCBS has no problem doing the PR part of his job and he sells himself well. MM was never interested in doing that and if you are the HC at a major university, you must be expected to be available to donors, events, etc... as part of your job. Good article - Lew will find a good coach and I'll be ready for next season to cheer on the Hawks! Rock Chalk!!

dukehester 12 years, 6 months ago

So heart-warming to know that castigating someone, identifying him as the only coach in NCAA history to be so dastardly; and making change so painful for the 'Hawk Nation is just fine as long as we get $$$, or promote $$$, or acquire $$$. Am sure each of the proponents of Lew and the Chancellor's methods, (which have all been supported by the LJW leadership), would want the exact same processes and techniques applied to them. So now we will get either a 20-30 record coach....or a .500% coach.....BUT we will save $$$ and keep any responsibility of action away from all is well! OBTW, Merry Christmas!

KGphoto 12 years, 6 months ago

Well what's this crap about Brewster now? Why would we be showing interest in a coach with a losing record, coaching a team that we waxed in a bowl game last year? It's a lateral move at best.

I thought we would have a coach by now, but I guess the pieces will start falling into place once Kelly inks with Notre Dame.

esteshawk 12 years, 6 months ago

LibertyHawk- What? So people that run corporations aren't "businessmen" because they play with other peoples money? Only private entreprenuers are "businessmen"? The recession only affects private businessmen, and not governments? We aren't an agrarian economy anymore, Toto.

Anyway - Lew handled this a bit too public, but Keegan is right, bottom line is Mangino had taken KU as far as he could, he is gone free and clear, no messy lawsuits, and no major buyout (terms confidential, but we can guess MM isn't banking $6mil), KU has new facilities and a big salary to toss around. All this means KU can be agressive in the search without nasty bits hanging around to complicate matters.

pburgstu 12 years, 6 months ago

Tom, I don't think Perkins is driven by winning and money I think he is driven by money if could get it losing then I think he would be just as happy as if he was winning

Marcia Parsons 12 years, 6 months ago

PaulDMeyer: I think Keegan's statement would make more sense to you if you put the emphasis where he did. ""Enough on HOW Perkins has done what he has done. Now look at WHAT he has done."

John Pritchett 12 years, 6 months ago

At Kansas, many of us believe that it's not just whether you win, but how you win. We've been blessed to have a top-notch basketball program that consistently wins the right way. Mangino is gone partly because he didn't live up to that expectation, losing the support of many of the fans. The AD should be held to the same standard. I don't accept that the end justify the means. We should be looking for a new AD along with a new football coach.

Mike Tackett 12 years, 6 months ago

Please tell me how great Lew is at his job, other than raising money. That is just part of his job. Where is all of the success, out side of basketball, a hire Lewis had no part in? He better hope the money train doesn't slow down, he's got some big bills to pay the next couple of years and KU football is really going to suck. P.S. Lew don't be sending me emails telling me everything is going to be great, your 2009 has really sucked.

tahawk81 12 years, 6 months ago

Lew, keep up the good work. As it has been stated above, college football is big business and we have the right man in place.

Tom, great article. You did a good job of explaining the behind the scene scenarios.

Eliott Reeder 12 years, 6 months ago

I am confused. Everybody is praising this article for its substance, but it is all speculation. Every bit of it. Still confused.

troutsee 12 years, 6 months ago

Board of Regents>Chancelor>AD>FBHC. Thus, the CEO is the chancelor and the AD is the Vice President in charge of athletics or the COO of the athletic program.

The Lew bashers continue to beat their drums and they are entitled to do so, although it's getting a little tiresome. But, to predict doom and gloom for KU FB for the next few years is pessimism at its most sickening level and not very realistic either. Furthermore, you call yourselves KU fans. That's a laugh. Some of you have said you won't be buying season tickets next year. Great! I hope you had 50 yard line seats. The rest of us will move closer to the 50. You are probably the same ones who bitch and moan and fail to cheer at games anyway. You won't be missed.

KGphoto 12 years, 6 months ago

To: The Lew Bashers.

From: Wikipedia

AD, Maryland- Perkins served as Athletics Director at Maryland from 1987–90. Perkins was brought in by Maryland to clean up the program after the investigation into the death of basketball player Len Bias revealed foul play within the organization. Perkins left the university following another NCAA investigation that took place after then basketball coach Bob Wade revealed to him that him and his staff had been violating several NCAA rules. Before leaving he hired Gary Williams to be the new head coach. Williams was previously the coach of Ohio State.

AD, Connecticut- From 1990-2003, Perkins served as Athletic Director for UConn, earning nationwide recognition for his efforts. Under Perkins' watch, the program saw 6 NCAA national championships, including four in women's basketball, one in men's basketball, and one in men's soccer. Perkins was instrumental in bringing Division I football to the university. The football team joined Division I in 2000, and the Big East in 2004, after Perkins' departure. Perkins also brought drastic change to the athletics facilities. During Perkin's tenure, a $4 million dollar hockey arena, $14 million dollar student recreation center, a $2.5 million dollar addition of seating to Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, a $3.5 million track and intramural facility, and the $90 million dollar Rentschler Field football complex were all constructed. In 2000, he became the inaugural winner of the National Athletic Director of the Year Award. During his tenure, Perkins hired Skip Holtz as head football coach and Randy Edsall after Holtz resigned to join his father at South Carolina.

I think he knows what he's doing.

100 12 years, 6 months ago

Well written with an obvious agenda.

The last part I guarantee is a huge exageration -- "2 football coaches paid"

Yes MM is receiving some money, but it's a small sum compared to what he would have received.

We can guess all we want on this, but without question Perkins held the cards -- if he wanted to he could have taken all the money "with cause".

An agreement was made to save face & I guarantee MM didn't walk out with all that much -- when a child is being sent home for ruining a school birthday party, is he usually given a slice of cake?

Jack Brooks 12 years, 6 months ago

The title of this article should read: Lew Perkins Doing What He's Getting Paid To Do.

I don't think I'll ever understand the Lew haters beyond your just being petty because you can't get basketball tickets on the cheap anymore.

OKChalkJHawk 12 years, 6 months ago

Well, that was almost a good article. My jury is still out on Perkins. He really made a mess of the football team. So, he can raise money, so what? If you get rid of a football coach who has advanced your football program more then anyone else in KU football history but lay an egg with the new hire. You've accomplished nothing but spending the university's money. Then what? How about early retirement or forced resignation after a witch hunt in the national media arena. Sound familiar?

vmwskywalk 12 years, 6 months ago

Lew is the best AD of any school anywhere. PERIOD!

And I fully trust that he will make the right hire.

jhokfan 12 years, 6 months ago

If you don’t like the way he operates you should stop being a fan of college sports. This is the business he’s in. Even the Vatican operates with less transparency and probably a greater degree of shrewdness.

Mike Tackett 12 years, 6 months ago

troutsee, the only thing that will be sickening is kufb's record next year. i can be a fan, but live in the real world at the same time. you sunshine and blue sky folks tell me we will be better are retarded. look at who will graduate, briscoe gone, and recruits saying goodby, and this doesn't take into account any transfers. time will tell, maybe we should get boma to coach ku.

John Pritchett 12 years, 6 months ago

It makes my head spin after hearing all of the talk about how Mangino should be fired because of the way he runs the program, whether he wins or not, and then to hear all of the same people saying we should let Perkins do whatever he needs to do to "get it done" since "that's just business". It's hypocritical. The "this is football" excuse didn't help Mangino, and the "this is business" excuse shouldn't help Perkins.

But a point I've been trying to make is that it's not about whether we like Perkins, it's about whether potential new hires can trust the guy. He may be good at getting things done, but if he's willing to run people over in the process, I don't think he's the kind of guy many high profile, successful coaches are going to willingly go to work for. Sure, he's had a lot of success, but what has he done lately? He signed a coach to an extension, then waited for that coach to be vulnerable before forcing him out of that contract. You can't treat your employees like that without developing a bad reputation. What does a KU football coaching contract mean? Does it mean "as long as Lew likes you"? If I'm a coach in NCAA football, I'd want to know that as long as I'm doing my job, my job is safe, and that kissing Lew's butt isn't in the job description.

OKChalkJHawk 12 years, 6 months ago

How much are you guys getting paid to be Perkins cheerleaders? Just curious.

Dirk Medema 12 years, 6 months ago

diplomacy = phoniness?

I almost want to say great article, because there are lots of sound insights and connections. Unfortunately,there is still way to much personal agenda in it.

Put down the axe, and turn off the grinder before you start typing next time.

Phoggin_Loud 12 years, 6 months ago

I'm getting free seats in the new East-Side Suites. Anyone else?

Great article, Tom! Very good time line of events.

I'm also getting a free platform through by which I can keep up with other "Hawk fans. It's really cool. I can comment on articles and argue with other readers. Actually, the more I think about it, I could never do this before KU hired Lew.

Great job Lew!! Thanks for giving me a voice. See you at the Suites in August!

Kent Wells 12 years, 6 months ago

ralster: If your avatar is a self portrait, I'd like to... ummmm... well...

Hawk1969 12 years, 6 months ago

I trust Perkins to make the right decision. He has a nice track record.

And, Phogdog, how many successful business men get to the top WITHOUT running people over. I'd say very few. It's the nature of the game, like it or not.

Joel Hood 12 years, 6 months ago

Good article. Perkins may be jerk - but he is our jerk. If you believe that having Lew on our side is bad, then having him somewhere else would be 10x worse.

An earlier poster said Self is no different than Mangino in the way he motivates his players. Wrong. Self builds them back up after tearing them down. Mangino was famous for tearing people down and never building them back up. Mangino also treated non-players around him like dirt. Spend 5 minutes with Bill Self and you go away inspired.

Ron Prichard 12 years, 6 months ago

How many more posters can be so blatently hypocritical? First, I don't think Keegan was completely bashing what Lew has done:

"If you had an annual salary of greater than $2 million and a new facility to offer a coach, would Mangino be on your short list? If the answer is no and you don’t mind the athletic department paying two football coaches, you have to like what Perkins has done, even if you don’t care for how he has done it"

While not an endorsement of Perkins, Keegan is at least taking an honest look at the situation and acknowledging both sides of the issue. Frankly, I like what Lew has done.

Second, everyone on this post wants KU to win and thinks this is the greatest university on earth, me included. So don't try to tell me that you would be happy being a .500 team every single year as long as you could say we did it the "right" way. That is total BS. Major college athletics is about winning and making money. Lew Perkins is as good as anyone at that. I'm guessing the people railing against Lew on this thread are people still mad that they had to increase their donation or give up their seats in AFH under Lew's new policy. I'm not saying that's not a reason to be angry, but it certainly clouds your perspective about what Lew has done for KU.

Since Lew has arrived, the athletic budget has doubled (from $27M to $55M), there have been major upgrades to AFH benefitting both men's and women's basketball, football facilities have been substantially upgraded, the baseball stadium has been upgraded, rowing facilities have been upgraded, and plans are in the works to build an olympic sports facility. Also, don't forget that he pushed through the improvements for Jayhawker Towers and re-signed HCBS to a mutually beneficial contract that should keep him here for years. Also, if I am not mistaken, Time or Newsweek or some other national magazine last year ranked Lew as the #1 sports executive in the world, above the owner of Manchester United and Jerry Jones, among others.

Mangino Maniac, I agree that Bob Frederick was a great man, but he was NOT a great AD. Under his watch, football was basically ignored and KU saw many of its non-revenue sports discontinued. Fundraising was not a priority. Basketball was THE priority. Not that basketball shouldn't be a priority, but the AD's job is to oversee ALL sports at a university, and no one is better at that than Lew.

I am not a Mangino hater, but I did have some concerns about his program. Still, I think he was a good coach. Regardless of why he was fired, Mangino is gone, and I have faith that Lew will get someone who can continue moving the football program in the right direction.

Ron Prichard 12 years, 6 months ago

NH_J Hawk and brooksjjj, you both said it perfectly. frhays, how do you explain what Lew did at Maryland and UConn? As for his time at Wichita State, which you bash, Perkins inherited a program on probation and two years later the NCAA praised WSU for having an "exemplary program." Also, he did hire Eddie Fogler, who in 3 years took WSU to 2 of their total 8 NCAA tourney appearances.

Seems like he is doing a pretty good job to me. But hey, maybe we could get rid of Lew and find an AD to give you your seats back at AFH. I'm sure the recruits everyone is screaming about losing would really be thrilled to consider KU if we cut our athletic budget in half again.

By the way hoosierhawk74, can you name a recruit that has decomitted?

jhokfan 12 years, 6 months ago

There will never be an AD this is universally liked. If our teams lose fans will complain that the AD is too nice. If our teams win there will be complaints of unethical conduct. This is probably why Gale Sayers was never hired as the KU AD in spite of his qualifications and obvious ties. It would put one our most celebrated alums in what is historically the least popular position on campus.

I don’t have a problem with any of what has taken place in Lawrence because all parties are willing participants. The athletic department, the coaches, the players all know what they signed up for.

Jacobpaul81 12 years, 6 months ago

My problems with Perkins are 100% to do with administration and not to do with Money. If he wants to make money, fine. But you have got to do a better job of administrating your coaches and students, and he's 100% not getting the job done. Since Perkins has arrived at Kansas, we've had bar brawls, street fights between athletics programs, Coaches inflicting outlandish punishment, former coaches maintaining involvement in players lives which became a detriment to the players and school. Perkins has proven himself to be a shrewd and quite frankly, disrespectful businessman, and he's good at it. But meanwhile, he apparently lacks the involvement in the programs to maintain the standards we demand from out coaches and students. Lew Perkins, much like Bobby Knight, is a product of a previous era, and much like Bobby, it's time for him to step down.

John Pritchett 12 years, 6 months ago

"And, Phogdog, how many successful business men get to the top without running people over. I'd say very few. It's the nature of the game, like it or not."

I'm an idealist, I admit it. And in response to another poster, I would rather be 0.500 the "right way" than undefeated without honor and integrity. But why do we have to choose one or the other? You can be great AND have integrity (see Bill Self).

I really think the proof will be in the pudding. If Lew is an honest, trustworthy guy, he should have no trouble filling our coaching vacancy. KU should be in a great position to upgrade our football program, and some great coach somewhere should jump at the opportunity to be competative in the Big12 conference. But if he fails to find such a coach, I have to believe it's because of his business practices. Personally, I hope he can upgrade our coaching position. I hope I'm wrong about this. Nothing to do but wait and see...

Spencer Goff 12 years, 6 months ago

We didn't have student athlete or coaching problems under prior athletic directors.... Did I really read that?

Shortest memory in history.

Raprichard you summed up Bob Frederick. He was Roy's guy, a great guy, but he couldn't give two sh1ts about football. Lew sees the money involved in football, he sees the advantages of a two sport school, and (unlike his idiot predecessor Al Bohl-o-crap) he has the brains to get it done.

Spencer Goff 12 years, 6 months ago

"Mangino, a very intelligent man who is quick on his feet, conducted himself brilliantly at news conferences when asked about his situation."

Seriously, Tom, I know he is your buffet buddy, but seriously... Brilliantly? We'll chalk this one up to "writer's interpretation," because that sounds nicer than, "you like him so much he could fart in the mic and you would say it was pure genius."

prairie_dog 12 years, 6 months ago

I think it is way too early to give Lew credit for anything. If the buyout no. is the $4mm I have been hearing, it may be Lew (and us) who took the whippin'. Just a few points on what we have so far: 1. The 2007 national coach of the year and easily the best coach KU has ever had to date (facilities, wins/losses, butts in the seats, OB victory, you name it) is gone, notwithstanding the comments of Mac Brown, Bob Stoops, Bill Snyder and Mike Leach in support. This suggests that Lew has the problem, more than MM. 2. Regarding the last sentence, so far we have been dissed by Harbaugh "I hope to be at Stanford" and Nutt "the time is not right". Maybe Lew is the problem, not the solution. 3. It all turns on the new coach: If he is a climber who dumps us in a couple of years leaving the cupboard bare (Are we going through that again?) or if he is not an impact coach, suggesting that Lew and Keegan are wrong that KU's money and facility makes us a "destination", then Lew will have made the same mess that we have been through in the last 50 years and we will all want MM back!

OCJHAWK 12 years, 6 months ago

To put my bias up front I am both a Perkins and Mangino fan. I am from the pos Valensente era. I have been reading posts (except Jaybate who I would love to buy a book from when I am trying to follow a plot) since there was a whiff of this and even since the disagreement with the BB team very closely.

Remember there is a NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN. Lew has a new boss who has already extorted $40 million from the athletic department within weeks of her arrival. Do you believe she has no input on our Football coach? LJW could try this angle, but would be a hard nut to crack.

I think Keegs is on track here when Perkins is on track for a home run, lets just hope the pine tar is not to high on the bat.


Eurekahwk 12 years, 6 months ago

You Lew haters are just p!ssed off because he took your basketball tickets. Well, you weren't supporting your school's athletics department very well. And you were passing tickets down to your relatives. And meanwhile, the KUAC was drowning. It had to drop several men's programs at the turn of the 20th century. Thanks to Lew, the KAI is more lucrative than ever. And money means winning.

Under TA, football was AWFUL. Under Mangino, football was mediocre. Mediocre would probably be fine for most fair weather KU fans. But we aren't around the guy on a day to day basis. To put up with the crap he gives EVERYONE and not just his players, that's an expensive pricetag for mediocrity.

Jack Wilson 12 years, 6 months ago

Boulderhawk at the top of this page is right on. Witch hunt. If Mangino was so "abusive" where was Perkins the last five years. Either way Perkins should be fired. If this conduct by Mangino was so bad (which it wasn't), he should have been gone at the time. Perkins waited until Mangino had some failures on the field and then saw the opportunity to make slanderous allegations to negotiate a buy out. That is unethical and demonstrative of his absolute lack of character. And the media bought the bull because they are so easily manipulated. They are like vultures. One example is the KC Star. Mangino was on radio and calmly explained his position about the issues. The headline was "Mangino rants on the radio." Same thing everywhere.

Nice job, Lew. You really make me proud to be a Jayhawk.

And to the rest of you, who now simply move on and wait with wild anticipation regarding who our next football coach will be are pathetic. I for one don't care.

I just hope that Coach Self isn't as disgusted with Lew Perkins and I am.

Jack Wilson 12 years, 6 months ago

Eurekahwk: I don't care about the tickets, and I have a Sports Illustrated for team that was 11-0. We won three bowl games in 8 years. Know how many we'd won in the prior 100 .. 3. He took us to heights we'd never seen. We aren't a football school, my friends. Don't fall into the Mizzou trap of thinking you're something you're not.

panalytic 12 years, 6 months ago

Great article!

A good article about a controversial subject has generated a lot of comments. I especially liked how you presented two sides of the story with "how" Lew did it and "what" he did. Also, describing how Perkins got rid of our football coach, the one who turned around the program, without even answering a question about it was something that needed to be exposed in the media. Thank you for discussing that!!

KUdefender 12 years, 6 months ago

If Perkins thinks he can find an upgrade from Mangino, he is delusional. The Mangino issues were nothing compared to many programs. Of the rumored candiates, only Sumlin has any real acheivements, and why would he want to come here? Brewster? Get real. Here is one reaction I found to that rumor:

OCJHAWK 12 years, 6 months ago

HighEliteMajor and KUdefender are either tiggers in disquise or bitter that football actually takes up some air time at KU.


lance1jhawk 12 years, 6 months ago

Lew Perkins is the best AD in the country period. Love him or hate him, we all must admire what he has done at KU. The money, the facilities and so on. Rock Chalk Lew, Bring us a great coach.

rgale29 12 years, 6 months ago

I agree with lance1jhawk, Lew has proven his worth and continues to do so. This article sets out false choices. Lew was correct Mangino did resign and to say anything more or less would have been foolish, likely violate the agreement that put this behind us and saves Mangino more embarassment. How this all was accomplished may not of made the media happy as they were denied all the blood and guts that they love to feed their readers, but to have done so would not have advanced our cause. For the author to give us a choice between reasons Lew didn't hold a press conference was arrogance or lack of confidence and then to choose lack of confidence ignores the reality that Lew's actions were neither, not going to a press conference demonstrated the wisdom of 40+ years in the business. I applaud his discipline and good sense to take care of this business in private.

For those of you that seem to continue to argue that Mangino got the shaft and that his tough/abusive style was acceptable, it is my opinion that just about any coaching style that doesn't embarrass the university, ala--Knight at Indiana and Switzer at OU is acceptable so long as that style results in a competitive team that gets better as the year goes on and winning the games that your talent allows. Mangino style simply didn't deliver the last two years. Mangino deserves credit for bringing KU back from the dreadful Allen years but if we want a winner we simply can't accept a 7 game skid. I will always be grateful for the Orange Bowl year, but getting to the top and staying there is what we deserve and Mangino didn't accomplish this and it was definitely time to make a change and lets trust Lew to bring in a coach who can take this program to new heights.

Ron Prichard 12 years, 6 months ago

HighEliteMajor--I'm so glad you don't care who our next coach will be. That kind of school loyalty makes your posts even more persuasive. I, for one, really value your opinion. Now, go find a hole and hibernate. We'll let you know who gets hired sometime next spring.

Kirk 12 years, 6 months ago

I'm not shocked that Lew is driven by winning and money. The problem is his shortsightedness. Unless he finds a heavy hitter, he will have screwed the program. And everyone will know it.

Jack Wilson 12 years, 6 months ago

raprichard: I watched every game I could over the past five years or so and do care about KU football .. but I think that we are really compromising any sense of ethics and fair dealing by buying this b.s. from Perkins. Doesn't anyone here have a sense of loyalty to Mangino. Just cast him aside like an old pair of shoes? Now, back to my hole.

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 6 months ago

saidtoomuch (without thinking) I live in Boulder and Lew makes a hell of a lot more than I do.

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