$750,000 contract, promises of a new practice facility help lure Bzdelik
The search for CU’s new basketball coach has come to a close.
Jeff Bzdelik was named CU’s new head basketball coach Wednesday morning by Athletic Director Mike Bohn.
“We are very honored and thrilled to have found a coach with the highest level of integrity,” Bohn said.
Bzdelik will be the 17th coach to guide the CU men’s basketball program.
“I can tell you this; I’m very, very excited. To me it’s a privilege to represent the University of Colorado,” Bzdelik said. “I’m going to roll up my sleeves and do the very best I can to put a basketball team out there that you can be proud of.”
Bzdelik agreed to a five-year contract that includes an annual guaranteed salary of $750,000 with incentives. CU will also pay Air Force $270,000 to buy out Bzdelik’s contract with the Falcons.
Bzdelik said that CU also put in writing a commitment to build a new practice facility.
Chancellor Bud Peterson talked about the hiring of Bzdelik and the type of coach CU was looking for.
“We wanted to attract a coaching staff that because of their integrity and their commitment to excellence would lead the program to new levels of success. I think today we made a great step forward in doing that,” Peterson said.
After being introduced, Bzdelik said that what is most appealing about the job are the people and the leadership at CU. He also said that he likes to take on challenges.
However, reviving the basketball program at will be quite the challenge. The Buffs finished the 2006-07 with an overall record of 7-20.
“I understand how tough it’s going to be. I’m going to give it my best shot,” Bzdelik said.
Bzdelik finished with a 50-16 record of his two seasons at the Air Force Academy, the best two-season span in the Falcon’s 51-year history in basketball. He guided Air Force to a 31-1 and mark at home from 2005-07, giving Air Force one of the best home-court advantages in the college game.
Bzdelik joins the Buffs with 29 years of coaching experience from the collegiate to the professional ranks. Prior to coaching the Air Force academy, Bzdelik coached the Denver Nuggets for 2-1/2 seasons. He engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in NBA history in his second full season as head coach, improving the Nuggets win total from 14 wins in 2002-03 to 43 wins and a playoff berth in 2003-04.
He was also the first coach in NBA history to lead a team who won less than 20 games the previous season to the playoffs the following year.
From 1995-2001, Bzdelik served as an assistant coach under Pat Riley with the Miami Heat. Bzdelik said his NBA coaching experience will allow him to be very influential in potential recruits’ living rooms.
Bzdelik will bring a new attitude and a new style to the Buffs program, replacing Ricardo Patton after Patton announced his resignation at the conclusion of last season on October 25.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is never burning a bridge when I’m recruiting,” Bzdelik. “Being in the NBA is a huge asset because I can offer things to kids other coaches can’t. I can tell them what it takes to play in the NBA.”
Bzdelik will run a Princeton-style offense which has recently had success at the Division-I level under John Thompson III. Thompson recently led Georgetown to a Final Four appearance running the same style of offense.
Bzdelik spent the rest of his afternoon following the announcement of his hiring making several appearances around the Denver area, including throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field. Bzdelik also attended a pep rally at Smiley Middle School in Denver and will be at a meet-and-greet at Braun’s Bar and Grill in Denver.
College Overall Conference
Season School W L Pct Pts Opp W L Pct Pts Opp Finish/Conf.
1986-87 Maryland-Baltimore County 12 16 .429 1889 1961 – – – – – -/-
1987-88 Maryland-Baltimore County 13 15 .429 2119 2183 – – – – – -/-
2005-06 Air Force 24 7 .774 1990 1695 12 4 .750 982 880 t2nd/Quarterfinal
2006-07 Air Force 26 9 .743 2414 1960 10 6 .625 1018 924 t3rd/Quarterfinal
College Totals 75 46 .620 1 NCAA Tournament/1 NIT Appearance
Professional Overall Playoffs
Season Team W L Pct Finish/Div. W L Pct.
2002-03 Denver (NBA) 17 65 .207 7th/Midwest – – -
2003-04 Denver (NBA) 43 39 .524 6th/Midwest 1 4 .200
2004-05 Denver (NBA) 13 15 .464 N/A – – -
Professional Totals 37 119 .380 1 4 .200
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