Pac-12: Mike Bohn

Some reaction to Colorado's new AD

July, 18, 2013
Colorado has a troubled athletic department -- at least in the sense that if your football team is losing, you're in trouble.

So while Rick George has been hired to direct Colorado's entire athletic programs, his primary responsibility is righting the football team. An athletic department isn't healthy without a healthy football program. It's the department's ATM machine.

New coach Mike MacIntyre is expected to coach the Buffaloes up on the field, and George is responsible for making everything around the football program sparkle.

It all starts with money. George needs to get some. And that will require him reenergizing a beleaguered fan base.

Writes Mark Kiszla:
I was told in no uncertain terms [former AD Mike Bohn] got fired for a simple reason: He couldn't raise sufficient funds for Colorado to compete against Oregon or Alabama. If the Buffs want to get back on top, they have to spend money and lots of it. George's first major task will be to raise $50 million in private funds as a down payment for $170 million in facility upgrades.

Some news and commentary on George's hiring:

Colorado taps Rick George as AD

July, 17, 2013
Colorado has hired Texas Rangers president of business operations Rick George to be its next athletic director, it was announced Wednesday.

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.

Pac-12 weekend notes

June, 24, 2013
A few interesting things happened late last week and over the weekend that merit an update.

Shell game

Pittsburgh running back Rushel Shell, who said in April he was transferring to UCLA, apparently is now trying to rejoin the Panthers. He never enrolled at UCLA, so this probably comes down to the Panthers wanting him back. Shell's a talented guy, so they probably will. This makes running back an even bigger need position for the Bruins' 2014 recruiting class.

Oregon Syke'd

Oregon, which continues to await the NCAA's ruling on the Willie Lyles case, announced the hiring of Jody Sykes as senior associate athletic director/chief compliance officer. Hired away from Louisville, Sykes will be in charge of making sure the Ducks walk the straight & narrow when it comes to NCAA rules.

Sykes, according to a news release, "helped supervise all aspects of the office of compliance at the University of Louisville for the past seven years." The appointment is effective July 29.

Colorado searching

Colorado chancellor Philip P. DiStefano announced the formation of a search committee to find a new athletic director to replace the controversially fired Mike Bohn.

Members of the search committee include:
  • Ceal Barry, CU-Boulder interim director of intercollegiate athletics and chair of the search.
  • Kelly Fox, CU-Boulder senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer.
  • Doug Looney, alumni representative, former Sports Illustrated writer.
  • Joe Jupille, CU-Boulder faculty representative, BFA Intercollegiate Athletics Committee.
  • David Clough, CU-Boulder Pac-12 faculty representative.
  • Kurt Gulbrand, CU Foundation.
  • Brittany Lewis, CU-Boulder student-athlete (track)

Barry is currently serving as interim director of intercollegiate athletics and will hold the post until a successor is chosen.

DiStefano said it remains to be seen whether Colorado will hire a search firm, saying "I want the group to convene as soon as possible and get to know each other before we make that decision. I am open to using a search firm if the consensus is that we need one."

I'll help: There is no bigger waste of money in college sports than hiring a search firm. So don't.

DiStefano said the goal is to have a new AD in place "as soon as possible -- certainly by the start of football season this fall."
The Pac-12 features three new coaches: California's Sonny Dykes, Colorado's Mike MacIntyre and Oregon's Mark Helfrich.

Each faces distinct challenges. We break those challenges down.


Who he replaced: Jeff Tedford (82-57, 11 years)

Who is he? Dykes, 43, went 22-15 in three years at Louisiana Tech, where he was hired after coordinating Arizona's offense for three seasons.

Why he's there: After Tedford built Cal into a Pac-12 and national power, the Bears plateaued and then regressed his final three seasons, going 15-22. It's also noteworthy that the team declined significantly on the academic side of things.

What's the good news? Dykes didn't inherit a team devoid of talent or one that can't remember winning. Further, he's going to benefit from massive facilities upgrades that were only completed last year. The Bay Area is a pretty fair place to live.

What's the bad news? Well, Dykes inherited perhaps the nation's toughest schedule, which will make it tough to produce an immediate turnaround, even if the Bears play much better. It's also tough playing in the Pac-12 North where Oregon and Stanford have dominated play of late. Oh, and it's an issue that Big Game partner, Stanford, shows no signs of slowing down.

How can he make fans happy in 2013? If Dykes can somehow squeeze six wins out of this schedule, thereby earning a bowl berth, his fans should be thrilled.

COLORADO: Mike MacIntyre

Who he replaced: Jon Embree (4-21, 2 years)

Who is he? MacIntyre, 48, went 16-21 in three years at San Jose State, resurrecting the Spartans to a 10-2 finish in 2012. Before that, he was defensive coordinator at Duke for two years.

Why he's there: Look at Embree's record.

What's the good news? Sorry for saying this again, Buffs, but MacIntyre would be hard-pressed to make things any worse. The roster also looks stronger than the 2012 version, most notably the return of receiver Paul Richardson. Last year, the Buffs played a lot of young players, who weren't ready for Pac-12 play. Those youngsters should be better and more prepared this fall.

What's the bad news? This team isn't big enough or fast enough to compete in the Pac-12. The fan base is put off by the program's slide over the past decade. Oh, and athletic director Mike Bohn was just controversially fired.

How can he make fans happy in 2013? The bar isn't very high for MacIntyre in Year 1. He could double the Buffs' win total and that would just mean two victories. The biggest thing is being more competitive. Going 3-9 wouldn't be a disaster if those nine games aren't dropped by an average of 30 points. It's also important to win at least one conference game.

OREGON: Mark Helfrich

Who he replaced: Chip Kelly (46-7, 4 years)

Who is he? Helfrich, 39, was the Ducks' offensive coordinator for the past four years under Kelly. Before that, he was offensive coordinator at Colorado.

Why he's there: After leading the best run in school history -- four consecutive BCS bowl games and three Pac-12 titles -- Kelly bolted for the Philadelphia Eagles. Helfrich then was promoted, as Kelly had been under Mike Bellotti, and Bellotti had been under Rich Brooks.

What's the good news? Helfrich inherited a well-oiled machine with a lot of talent, starting with quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Ducks are widely viewed as national title contenders, even without Kelly. They are favored to win every game. Further, Helfrich knows his school, his team and his staff, considering eight of nine assistant coaches are back.

What's the bad news? The bar couldn't be higher. A disappointing season for Oregon now is two losses. The only way Helfrich can exceed Kelly is by winning a national title. He falls short by going 11-2 and winning the Alamo Bowl. Oh, and there's the pending ruling from the NCAA on L'Affair de Willie Lyles.

How can he make fans happy in 2013? There's only one way he can thrill them: 14-0. They'd settle for 13-1 if that includes a national title. A Rose Bowl win would be considered OK.
The wicked are wicked, no doubt, and they go astray and they fall, and they come by their deserts; but who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do?
That rug really tied the room together.
Happy Friday.
Why's he calling me meat? I'm the one driving a Porsche.
You should check out Ivan Maisel's college football podcast here , mostly because you can hear my mellifluous voice talking about the firing of Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn -- why it happened and what's next.

And, yes, I have a summer cold, presented to me with much pageantry by my 4-year old -- "Ahhhhh choooo!" -- who thinks he's batman but really is germ man.

Further, SEC blogger Chris Low, who's suffering on the white beaches of Destin, Fla., while covering the SEC meetings, reports that his conference is eventually headed to a nine-game conference schedule -- "nine games in the conference is coming," Low says.

On one hand, that pleases me, as it addresses a long-held Pac-12 peeve. On the other, it provides me one less thing to gripe about, which fills me with longing.
Men were such odd creatures. They didn't duel anymore, even fistfights had come to seem barbaric, the old casual violence all channeled through institutions now, but still they love to uphold their ancient codes. And what they loved even more was to forgive each other.

(By the way, the Pac-12 blog is finally yielding to the offseason: Every team won't get a link every day).

Mike Bohn out as Colorado's AD

May, 28, 2013
Mike Bohn's sudden resignation as Colorado's athletic director Tuesday is a bit of a surprise. Apparently it was even to Bohn himself, who texted Denver sportscaster Vic Lombardio that he was "floored."

Mark Johnson of 850 KOA first reported Bohn's departure.

So resignation or firing -- semantics! -- the end-result is Colorado is looking for a new athletic director after: 1. Colorado gave Bohn a five-year contract extension in 2011 that ran through 2017; 2. Bohn fired coach Jon Embree after just two seasons and hired Mike MacIntyre away from San Jose State to replace him; 3. The school announced a $50 million facilities fundraising campaign for a $170 million multiyear upgrade of the school's -- read: football's -- athletics facilities.

So a lot is going on at Colorado as it concludes its second year in the Pac-12.

“Mike Bohn led CU-Boulder athletics in a time of great transition and change,” Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said in a statement released by the school. “We are grateful to him for his vision, passion and commitment, and for his key role in revitalizing men’s and women’s basketball, helping us to join the Pac-12 Conference, and in taking important steps to upgrade athletic facilities at CU-Boulder. We wish him well.”

Bohn's resignation is effective June 3. DiStefano said he will in the coming days appoint a search committee to conduct a national search for Bohn’s successor.

What will Colorado be looking for? Here's a guess, inferring a subtext within the school's official release, is there's a major sense of urgency about fundraising.

From the release:
DiStefano said the university will be seeking “a dynamic leader” as athletic director -- someone who, he said, “can focus on our key goals of fundraising, building a dynamic organization, and creating long-term sustainability in the athletics mission.”

A couple of take-aways here.

First, football rules. While Bohn made a seemingly savvy hire of Tad Boyle to resurrect a poor-to-middling men's basketball program, his two football choices before MacIntyre -- Embree and Dan Hawkins -- produced a 23-60 record.

Second, now MacIntyre will be working for an athletic director who didn't hire him. Most coaches find that worrisome, though that connection failed to help Embree. And winning solves everything.

The timing here, of course, feels strange. Perhaps there's more to the story that will come out in the next few days.

Pac-12 athletic director salaries

March, 12, 2013
UCLA's Dan Guerrero is the Pac-12's top paid athletic director, according to recently released figures from USA Today, while Colorado's Mike Bohn ranked last in the conference among the public schools that are required to disclose salaries.

The salaries for Stanford’s Bernard Muir or USC’s Pat Haden are unavailable because they work for private schools.

Vanderbilt's David Williams tops the list at $3.24 million, but he's a special case. The "true" leader is Louisville's Tom Jurich at $1.412 million.

Nine athletic directors make more than $1 million a year, though none in the Pac-12. It's also notable that the cost of living is much higher in Pac-12 cities compared to cities in just about every other conference.

Guerrero's total pay of $715,211 ranks 18th in the nation.

CU needs MacIntyre's passion, enthusiasm

December, 10, 2012
Mike MacIntyre's first news conference as Colorado's coach wasn't filled with details and information -- few introductory pressers are -- but it did present a man who is clearly thrilled to be in Boulder. His enthusiasm probably matters more than it would at most places because things have been pretty dreary for the Buffaloes for some time now.

"I think as you get to know me, you'll say one thing about Mike MacIntyre," he said. "He has passion."

That passion was one of the big reasons he got hired to be San Jose State's head coach three years ago. The reason he's in Boulder now is his plan to transform the Spartans from a college football afterthought into a ranked team worked.

Said Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn, "There is no question that we have hired a football coach that all Buffs can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with."

MacIntyre, 47, whose San Jose State team finished 10-2 and is preparing to face Bowling Green in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Washington, D.C., acknowledged that Colorado has a ways to go to become competitive in the Pac-12. Colorado hasn't posted a winning record since 2005. It has won three or fewer games four times since 2006. And the program has been doing a bit of morose navel gazing since it controversially fired Jon Embree, a former Buff player, after just two seasons and then was publicly spurned by its first choice, former Cincinnati coach Butch Jones, who's now at Tennessee.

MacIntyre's enthusiasm might part some of those dark clouds.

"Yes, we've got a long way to go," he said. "But I've been there before and I know what to do."

Some hits from the news conference.
  • MacIntyre said he's going to run a pistol offense and a 4-3 defense that spends a lot of time in a 4-2-5 set against spread teams. He said the offense wants to incorporate a downhill running game that facilities an effective play-action package, and he compared his defensive scheme to TCU's.
  • He said he's going to bring a number of his coaches from San Jose State, but he will also interview the Buffs' current staff left behind after Embree's firing. He left open the option of retaining coaches who were with the program this year. He also strongly implied he's got some guys in mind who aren't on either staff.
  • He met with the current team for the first time on Monday. "I could tell they are hurting," he said. "And they should be."
  • He signed a five-year deal to coach the Buffaloes. He will make $2 million a season, which is more in line with Pac-12 coaches. Embree was the Pac-12's lowest paid coach at about $750,000.
  • MacIntyre also said that certain guarantees were made about facilities upgrades, though he provided no specifics. "Everything is in [his contract]," he said. "There has been a commitment made to do that and it will happen."
  • He said his recruiting focus will be in Colorado and California. He was less enthusiastic about Texas.

Colorado, Embree have awkward goodbye

November, 26, 2012
Jon Embree didn't win many games as Colorado's football coach, but he won the news conference Monday that formalized his termination.

Fired after just two years leading the Buffaloes, Embree, fighting off tears throughout and picking his words carefully, cut an effectively defiant and sympathetic posture, while athletic director Mike Bohn and chancellor Phil DiStefano struggled to articulate not only their reasons for firing Embree but also why anyone would want to replace him.

The latter part is the biggest issue going forward. Colorado will be hard-pressed to lure a top candidate to Boulder, and not only because of its quick trigger here. Colorado lags behind other Pac-12 teams in terms of facilities and has limits on multi-year contracts for assistant coaches due to state law. Further, Embree was the conference's lowest paid coach by a wide margin, his $725,000 being pretty much less than half of what every other coach in the conference was making annually.

And it was less than a third of what the top coaches were making.

Further, Bohn, aggressively cross examined by reporters, struggled to avoid making the job sound like an uninviting one.

"We've had headwinds with this program for quite some time, and we continue to have them," Bohn said.

Embree said stories that he was fired because he wouldn't let go members of his coaching staff were untrue.

"That's one of those Internet rumors," he said, adding that six assistants had offered to resign if that helped Embree's own cause.

Embree, who went 4-21 over the past two season, repeatedly defended his rebuilding job, saying that the program was vastly improved in every way but the scoreboard. He talked about "doing things right" versus going for the quick fix.

"There are a lot of things you can do that circumvent doing it the right way," he said, noting that some coach would resort to recruiting "mercenaries."

The issue of race also was part of the news conference. Embree said he noted to Bohn, "[Black head coaches] don't get second chances."

As for what reason he was given for his firing, Embree said, "All I was told was the trajectory of the program wasn't what they wanted."

In his opening statement, Bohn, after a heartfelt acknowledgement of the difficulty of the decision -- "We desperately wanted it to work," he said -- then awkwardly described the decision in business school jargon.

"In the end, it's about our functionality and the way our enterprise is run and the proactive approach we are trying to take to try to be competitive," he said.

He also spoke about the program's lack of momentum and the erosion of the fan base.

Awkward, in fact, describes the news conference perfectly.

Embree is a former Colorado player, yet he was coldly cast aside after being told that his job was safe. He feels wronged. And for good reason. He clearly has the sympathy of his current players, many of who attended the news conference to show support, according to reports.

Now the pressure moves to Bohn, who will be hiring a third coach since 2005. One side of the Buffaloes fan base is angry at him for dumping Embree after just two years, and the other half is angry at him for hiring a coach he'd have to fire after just two years, thereby inviting nationwide criticism.

Embree, of all people, perhaps provided the most optimistic footnote to the uncomfortable afternoon.

He said, "We're going to be -- I still say we -- we're going to be a good team next year."

UCLA's Guerrero highest paid Pac-12 AD

October, 6, 2011
USA Today has published its new database on athletic director's salaries, and UCLA's Dan Guerrero tops the Pac-12 list at $688,296.

From the article:
ADs average about $450,000 at the NCAA's top-tier schools, according to a USA TODAY analysis, rivaling the pay of many university presidents. But at least five ADs make more than $1 million, and since August 2010, at least 10 public schools have given their AD's pay raises of $75,000 or more.

Here are the Pac-12 ADs and their salaries.
Dan Guerrero, UCLA, $688,296
Scott Woodward, Washington, $553,000
Bob De Carolis, Oregon State, $540,356
Rob Mullens, Oregon, $500,000
*Greg Byrne, Arizona, $500,000
Sandy Barbour, California, $460,997
Bill Moos, Washington State, $455,000
Lisa Love, Arizona State, $448,000
Chris Hill, Utah, $400,000
Mike Bohn, Colorado, $253,500

*Byrne recently signed a new contract that included a raise from the $392,000 listed in the USA Today database.

USC's Pat Haden and Stanford's Bob Bowlsby both work at private schools that don't release salary information.