Former KU & Wichita State athletics director Lew Perkins dies at 78

FILE - Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins watches during the second half of the team's NCAA...
FILE - Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins watches during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Oklahoma on Oct. 24, 2009, in Lawrence, Kan. Longtime college administrator Perkins, who played basketball at Iowa before serving as the athletic director at several universities and taking on an influential role within the NCAA, died Tuesday, July 18, 2023. He was 78. Perkins’ family announced his death in a statement issued by Kansas. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)(Orlin Wagner | AP)
Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 7:58 PM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Athletics announced that former KU and Wichita State athletic director Lew Perkins died Tuesday, July 18 in Lawrence at the age of 78. According to the Kansas City Star, Perkins had a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Perkins served as the Athletic Director at Wichita State from 1983-87 and at Kansas from 2003-10. During his time at Kansas, he oversaw the KU football team win back-to-back bowl games in 2008, the men’s basketball team win a national championship in 2008, the baseball team win the Big 12 Championship in 2006 and other successes in volleyball, women’s soccer, softball, women’s basketball and track & field.

According to Kansas Athletics, Perkins served as the Chair of the Big 12 Board of Athletics Directors, the Board of Directors of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the Board of Directors for Gatorade and he served on the Basketball Issues Committee as well as other NCAA and Big 12 Committees.

“Lew did a lot of good things in his time here at KU,” Kansas Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Self said. “He was a big contributor in us changing the mindset of the athletic department and also competing for championships on a more consistent level. Our hearts go out to Gwen and the family. The one thing I will remember most about Lew was he always put the student-athletes first, and the student-athletes that got to know him well, all loved him.”

“Lew made an indelible impact on Kansas Athletics and served his role at KU with passion and vigor on a daily basis,” current Director of Athletics Travis Goff said. “We will forever be grateful for his dedication to this university and athletic department. We are thinking of Lew’s amazing family during this time and sending our deepest thoughts and sympathies.”

Perkins retired in 2010 following an investigation involving the Kansas Athletic Department’s ticket office. Perkins was not implicated.