George takes over for Mike Bohn, who was forced to resign in May. George's first day at Colorado will be August 12.
While this seems like an out-of-the-box hire -- a major league baseball executive? -- George has plenty of college experience and knows Colorado. In fact, he spent most of his 30-year career at the collegiate level, including serving as assistant athletic director of football operations at Colorado from 1987-91.
Any Buffs fans remember that period of Colorado football? A couple of 11-1 seasons? A split national title? Guessing that helped get George an offer.
And, yes, this decision is about money -- how to raise it and make it. That, apparently, was a concern with Bohn. Colorado is well behind most Pac-12 schools in terms of facilities and it needs to raise money to pay for plans to build new ones.
“Rick’s financial and management acumen, his networking and relationship development skills, and his enthusiasm, work ethic and principled leadership all make him the ideal leader for CU athletics at this important and challenging moment in our history," said Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano in a statement.
From the news release:
George has served as COO of the Rangers since 2010 and recently as the president of business operations, and was a member of the front office staff for the team’s first-ever American League championship that year and its second in 2011. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president and chief of operations for the PGA Tour from June 2008 until joining the Rangers. While with the Tour, he worked with the corporate marketing department in renewing sponsorships and creating new events. He also oversaw the Tournament Business Affairs division that worked with Tournaments to increase tournament revenue.
He also worked for the PGA Tour as president of the Champions Tour from 2003-08, where he increased revenues and sponsorships. From 1998-2003, George served as President and CEO of the Fore!Kids Foundation, a 501c3 organization that raised money for children’s charities via golf-related events, where he led re-branding and organizational efforts that resulted in increases in charitable giving to the Foundation.
At the collegiate level, George has worked in three major conferences (Big Ten, Big Eight, Southeastern) in football operations, beginning with the University of Illinois (where he was a four-year starter in football and a 1982 graduate) as football recruiting coordinator (1983-87).
At CU (1987-91) he served as assistant athletic director for football operations and is credited with building the talent base that made the Buffaloes one of the most successful college programs in America throughout the 1990s. At Vanderbilt University (1991-98), he also served as associate athletic director for external operations.
CU Interim Athletic Director Ceal Barry, who chaired the athletic director search committee, said George’s wide experience in managing finances, overseeing revenue growth and leading fundraising, capped off by his personal reputation and past record of success at CU-Boulder and at two other major universities, all combined to make him the clear front-runner in the search.
George has agreed to a five-year contract. He will report to DiStefano through the offices of Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Kelly Fox.