Renewed interest in sports a product of athletic director
In recent years, CU’s men’s football and basketball programs have been plagued by scandal and disinterest.
So why the recent turnaround in public opinion? Why, all of a sudden, are slogans like “CU is back” and “Have you heard the Buzz” being seen and heard all over campus?
Personally I think all signs point to CU’s Athletic Director Mike Bohn and the excellent job he has done setting up CU’s athletic programs for success.
Since Mike Bohn signed a 5-year contract to serve as athletic director on April 13, 2005, things have undoubtedly been moving in the right direction for CU athletics.
On Dec. 15, 2005, mere months after taking over as athletic director, Mike Bohn shook up the troubled football program by hiring Dan Hawkins as the Colorado Buffaloes head football coach.
Hawkins had an impressive 53-11 record as head coach of the Boise State Broncos before coming to Colorado. He is currently the 11th winningest active head coach and has a 100-39-1 record all-time coaching college football.
After finishing with a 2-10 record in 2006, the bowl-eligible Buffs currently boast a 6-6 record including a win over powerhouse Oklahoma, in only the team’s second year under Hawkins.
On April 5, Bohn hit the coaching jackpot once again, hiring Jeff Bzdelik as the CU men’s basketball head coach.
Before arriving at Colorado, Bzdelik coached at the United States Air Force Academy, where he led the Falcons to a 50-16 record in two seasons, as well as appearances in both the NCAA and NIT tournaments.
Bzdelik also brings 15 seasons of NBA experience, including two-and-a-half seasons as head coach of the Denver Nuggets to a Buffaloes team that finished last season with a dismal 7-20 record.
The youthful Buffs are currently 3-2 and will play away games against Denver University and Bzdelik’s former team, the Air Force Academy Falcons, this week.
I believe it is the responsibility of any athletic director to hire people who are not only talented and hardworking, but who understand what it takes to succeed. Bohn obviously understands what it takes to be competitive in the Big 12.
Over the course of his tenure thus far, Bohn’s administration has made several improvements to CU’s athletic facilities as well as its staff.
This year alone, the athletic department has completed two major capital building projects, is nearing completion on a third and has gained approval for a fourth.
In July, CU successfully completed renovations to the football team’s locker room in the Dal Ward Athletic Center. The administration hopes that the new locker room will provide top-level facilities for players and a place for them to relax as well as help to attract promising new recruits.
In October, Bohn oversaw the completion of a $3.1 million indoor practice facility nicknamed the Bubble. The purpose of the facility is to provide space where the football team and other varsity sports can practice during the brutal winter months of Colorado, when much needed practice time has been limited in years past.
The Bubble can also be used for club sports, events, intramurals and possibly athletic classes.
Construction on new offices for the basketball program in Coors Event Center which began in September are expected to be completed by Christmas as well, according to Tom McGann director of game management and operations for CU.
The administration is also currently in the planning phases of building a new basketball practice facility to solve CU’s problem of limited court time for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball.
The athletic department’s proposal to build the facility has been approved by the Boulder Campus Planning Commission and detailed plans for the facility are being put together. The facility will be located near Coors Event Center and could range in size from 20,000 to 40,000 square feet.
As busy as he is, Bohn is hardly a behind-the-scenes athletic director and can be found at nearly any athletic event on campus from volleyball to football.
Bohn, a native of Boulder, sold Coca Cola to thirsty fans at CU football games as a boy. Now the hometown kid has risen to the top of the athletic department and is making important strides to ensure the success of CU athletics.
With talented and successful coaches in place and new top of the line facilities, University of Colorado sports are truly poised for future growth and success under the guidance of athletic director Mike Bohn.
I think everyone at CU is excited about the next few years and that Bohn is the man responsible for bringing excitement back to CU’s sports programs.