Lew Perkins has served as Director of Athletics at the University of Kansas since June 2003. He arrived at KU after achieving nationally recognized success as athletics director at the University of Connecticut. In the summer of 2008 Perkins topped the public voting in TIME Magazine's online poll of the best sports executives in the world. He was the only college sports administrator to make TIME's list of 35 individuals, which included team owners, team managers, league commissioners and other executives from around the world.
Kansas Athletics has experienced tremendous growth and success during Perkins' tenure.
Kansas Athletics fundraising has reached unprecedented levels. Under Perkins, KU's $27-million athletics budget has grown to more than $55 million. That fundraising, including landmark apparel and corporate-partner contracts, has resulted in greater services for KU coaches and student-athletes, and numerous upgrades in KU's athletics facilities:
Perkins has served on many NCAA, Big 12 Conference and other prestigious committees, including the Basketball Issues Committee. At the conference level, Perkins has served as Chair of the Big 12 Board of Athletics Directors and as a member of the Big 12 Television Committee. In spring 2005 he was named to the Board of Directors of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Additionally, he is a member of the Gatorade Board of Directors.
At Connecticut (1990-2003), Perkins was instrumental in guiding UConn athletics to impressive growth - athletically, academically and financially. His leadership influenced six NCAA Division I National Championships.
He was rewarded in 2000 as the inaugural winner of the National Athletic Director of the Year Award as selected by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA).
A native of Chelsea, Mass., Perkins was inducted into his high school Hall of Fame in 1989. A highly recruited basketball player, he played at the University of Iowa (1965-67) for Hall of Fame coach and KU graduate Ralph Miller. Perkins earned his undergraduate degree there in 1967.
Perkins served as Director of Athletics (1969-80) and head basketball coach (1969-79) at the University of South Carolina Aiken as that institution grew from a junior college to a four-year institution. He received his master's degree in education (1975) from the University of South Carolina. Perkins delivered the commencement address and received an honorary Doctor of Education degree at USC Aiken in May 2005. Perkins also has served as athletics director at the University of Maryland and Wichita State University, and associate director of athletics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Perkins is married to the former Gwen Flaum. Like Lew, Gwen earned an undergraduate degree from Iowa and a master's degree in education from the University of South Carolina. They have two daughters - Amy (husband Brandon Macneill) and Holly - and two granddaughters (Caroline and Alexandra Macneill).