"There is no question that Kansas Athletics has benefited from Lew Perkins' leadership. One need only look at the academic success of our student-athletes, at KU's trophy cases and at our state-of-the art athletic facilities to see those benefits. I appreciate his service and understand his decision," said Gray-Little.
After Perkins' June announcement of his plans to retire next year, a search process for a new athletics director was started and is currently underway. With the future of Kansas Athletics assured to be in capable hands, Perkins has chosen to accelerate his retirement plans. In the meantime, Sean Lester has been named interim athletics director.
"We must always be building on our success and we will now be fully focused on the future of Kansas Athletics and the University of Kansas," said Gray-Little.
Under the terms of his retirement agreement, which is being finalized, Perkins will receive an amount equivalent to his salary through the end of his employment, which was otherwise set for September 4, 2011. Earlier this summer, Perkins announced and Chancellor Gray-Little agreed with shortening his contract from its previous end date of June 30, 2015 to a new end date of September 4, 2011.
"I've enjoyed my seven years here at KU. What I've cherished more than anything is the opportunity to work with our coaches, student-athletes, staff, alumni, Williams Fund members and K-Club members.
"I am grateful that Chancellor Hemenway allowed Gwen and me to come to Lawrence to be part of the great university. We love this community; we consider it home. This decision will give us a chance to stay involved in the community in different ways. It will also allow me to explore other professional opportunities."
Perkins' contract provides for a June 30, 2011 retention payment, which will be paid at this time. Therefore, the total amount entitled to Perkins following today's announcement is approximately $2 million before taxes. This will be paid by Kansas Athletics; no taxpayer or tuition dollars will be used.