Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bishop Seabury excited Lew Perkins on board as assistant girls basketball coach


Seabury Academy girls basketball coach and personal trainer Becky Bridson loves to talk about basketball with one of her clients: former Kansas University athletic director Lew Perkins.

Those conversations, held over the past couple of years during regular workouts, became the starting point for Perkins’ new role as assistant girls basketball coach at Seabury.

“It’s just one of those things where the timing was perfect. The person was perfect,” Bridson said. “It just kind of evolved, and we’re all very happy he’s on board.”

Bridson is ecstatic to work with somebody who had a direct influence on the development of the women’s basketball program at the University of Connecticut. As a senior in high school in 1995, Bridson idolized the Huskies as they won their first of seven national championships.

Perkins served as athletic director at UConn from 1990-2003. Though he wasn’t responsible for hiring current coach Geno Auriemma, Perkins did continue to extend his contract and help the program grow into a national powerhouse.

“He knew a good coach when he saw one,” Bridson said. “That’s history right there. He had influence on Geno Auriemma and he had influence on all those basketball players and some of the greatest female athletes of our time.”

Seabury athletic director Eric Nelson said that Perkins’ experience with high-level basketball was important.

Perkins could not be reached for comment. Nelson said Perkins would not be talking to the media about the hiring.

Perkins announced his retirement from athletic director at KU on Sept. 7, 2010, moving up by a year his initial retirement plans.

“He’s got time,” Nelson said. “He likes the school and he’s a friend of our school. He wants to do something to help the kids.

“It’s very simple. There’s no motive. He’s not doing it for any reason at all. He’s been the AD at Kansas. He doesn’t need to do this but he wants to.”

The personal trainer relationship isn't Perkins’ only tie to Seabury. His daughter, Amy, served as admissions director in 2007-2008.

The school is required to pay Perkins, but he will only be paid a small amount — likely in the area of a dollar — to coach. Essentially, Perkins is volunteering and will donate any income back to the school.

Seabury’s program only started two years ago, and the Seahawks haven’t played a full varsity schedule yet. Perkins’ exact role hasn’t been established, but he will work with all of the teams, from the varsity to the new sixth-grade team.

“I just think that he’s probably going to wear a lot of hats,” Bridson said. “He’s going to be a huge help to us. He’s really going to help elevate our program and take it to the next level.”

Seabury participates in the Kansas State High School Activities Association Class 1A athletic programs.

Bridson expects Perkins to be at every practice and on the bench for every game. She said she’s already learned a lot from Perkins in the preliminary stages of their working relationship.

“I don’t think any of us really know the far reaches that this can take us,” Bridson said. “I’m so happy for the kids because they’re such good kids and they work their butts off. Sometimes when we go into competitive situations, that isn’t reflected.”

This won’t be Perkins’ first go-around in coaching. He served as the men’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina Aiken from 1969-79.

Rob Matwick, currently the executive vice president of ballpark operations with the Texas Rangers, played for Perkins at USC Aiken during the 1978-79 season. He remembers Perkins’ toughness as a coach.

“Tell any of those kids when they’re running back on defense, they better make sure they turn their heads and look at the basketball,” Matwick said. “Because Lew can hit you in the head with a basketball with as much precision as a Nolan Ryan fastball.”

Matwick appreciated that intensity and said he still thinks of Lew and his wife, Gwen, as second parents. Perkins spoke at Matwick’s induction into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

“There was no finer person as a mentor and a father figure than Lew,” Matwick said. “He’s always been a special person for me.”

Bridson said Perkins has reasons for taking the job beyond helping Seabury, including gaining the satisfaction of helping a young program improve.

“He’s super excited. He’s super enthusiastic,” Bridson said. “I can’t wait for it to be November 15, basically.”

— Big 12 blogger Eric Sorrentino contributed to this story.


treed14ku 11 years, 2 months ago

He spent that much time around winning women's basketball at UConn and yet he still hired Bonnie? Shows the eye for talent that he has.

jhox 11 years, 2 months ago

Good for Lew. I'm glad he's getting a chance to give something back to the community, after his relationship with KU ended badly. I still believe the positives in his time at KU far outweigh the negatives. A basketball national championship, an Orange Bowl championship (never thought I'd live to see that day) and great improvement in the facilities. Unfortunately, he put too much blind trust in the people working for him.

The Mangino firing had to be done, no matter how much those of us who were Mangino supporters hated seeing him go. He would have been permanently crippled as a recruiter had he stayed. I believe Lew left the football program in good hands.

I'll say this for Lew, it takes a lot of b@lls for him to stay in Lawrence and make his home there, with a lot of people being so down on him. I give him credit for not running off and hiding, moving to another town, like a lot of other people would have.

TenaciousD 11 years, 2 months ago

Good points, jhox... well stated too. I was surprised to find out he has been at games this year. I don't remember the TV cameras pointing him out in the crowd at Allen. I wish him the best. They say our football facilities are among the best around. To get that at KU is a major feat. And Bill Self always says we are going to look back on Lew's time here and be very thankful that we got those facilities done when we did. Go Hawks!

treed14ku 11 years, 2 months ago

I just noticed that the guy who wrote this is name Clark Goble. Is that a joke?

milehighhawk 11 years, 2 months ago

Good for Lew.

Boarders with too much time on their hands have done quite a number on him.

Here's the bottom line: He gave KU improvements to facilities that will guarantee the potential for great recruiting classes for years to come. And regardless of what he knew/didn't know/should have known about the ticket scandal -- and for any suggested personal shady dealings -- KU emerges unscathed.

4everahawk 11 years, 2 months ago

I read these posts and mostly I just wonder "Are you sure we all knew the same Lew?" Apparently not.....the one I know should have been held accountable for all the corruption that was going on right under his nose for YEARS! He is only nice to people he can benefit from and he is absolutely not responsible for either of the football/basketball championships.

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 2 months ago

How can the guy walk around and coach? He can barely walk, let alone be on his feet at long periods of time. This is all pretty funny.

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 2 months ago

How can the guy walk around and coach? He can barely walk, let alone be on his feet at long periods of time. This is all pretty funny.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.