Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rick George Takes Colorado AD Job Running...

Rick George was officially named Director of Intercollegiate Athletics on Wednesday.  This is one big step for Colorado football and one giant leap into getting the most qualified person for the Buffs.  Yes, I just went man landed on the moon.  Rick George has the two main things needed in today's college athletics on the BCS level; the ability to bring money into a program and the love of athletics, especially collegiate football.  While George has been away from the college football scene for 15 years, his passion never left and it shows from him taking a step back salary wise and leaving the Texas Rangers to do a more difficult job that he has always wanted as CU's A.D. 

Rick George replaces Mike Bohn.  While I believe Mike Bohn loved working as AD at CU and wanted to see the football team succeed, he didn't have the ties and love to collegiate football that could grasp what a football program truly needed.  His previous AD stops were at schools where the football teams had little to no success and let's be honest, Mike Bohn loved college basketball first and foremost and CU fans should thank him for what he did there.  Unfortunately, the success on the basketball court in the Pac 12 and in Colorado doesn't bring the same clout and potential donors and money that a big time college football program could.  Colorado hasn't been a big time college football program since Mike Bohn's first season as Athletic Director.  Fortunately, I believe his last coaching hire in Mike MacIntyre coupled with Rick George will make the University of Colorado a big deal again.

Rick George's success and making both himself and the companies and businesses he has worked for a big deal starts with his love of college football.  George was a four-year starter and played in 44 consecutive games for the University of Illinois during the late 70s-early 80s as a defensive back.  He turned that success as a player into a job at his alma mater becoming Football Recruiting Coordinator from 1983 to 1987. 

Rick George took a jump to the University of Colorado to become Assistant Athletic Director for football operation in 1987.  Bill McCartney, former players during that great time period in CU football and others involved in the program at that time credit George in helping recruit some of the players that helped build the University of Colorado into a national power.  George left Colorado in 1991 to serve as Associate Athletic Director for external operations until 1998.  Paul George had  20 years in college athletics starting from his time as a player to his Associate AD position at Vanderbilt.  He is a big football fan as told by him saying there were two dream jobs he would leave the Rangers for; G.M. of an NFL franchise and Athletic Director of a big-time college football team and especially one he loved, the University of Colorado AD job was it.

But that's only a small part of George's job responsibilities and he is more than aware of that and more than qualified for the large part of his responsibilities, bringing money into the University of Colorado athletic program.  The great thing is Rick George knows this isn't done by just kissing ass and shaking hands.  It's done by two major things in collegiate athletics; Building a winning football program and gaining peoples interest.  It's done by being upfront with people, personal with them and doing things like taking people with deep pockets out for events and activities like dinner or out to golf... which ties into the fundraising aspect.  George left Vanderbilt to become President and CEO for a non-profit organization called Fore!Kids Foundation where his primary responsibility was raising money for children's charities via golf-related events.  George's time there saw a great increase in charitable donations to the charities partnered with this foundation and in 2003 after five years, he became President of the Champions Tour.  From 2003-2008, the Champions tour saw an increase in revenue and sponsorships.  He spent a couple years as VP and COO of the PGA Tour before heading to the Texas Rangers where he initially took COO duties in October 2010 and was president of business operations until his hiring at Colorado.

There is no doubt that George has the know how on getting people and corporations looking to donate money and get their product out there to bring those to the corporations and programs he has been involved in.  I wouldn't be surprised to see CUs sponsorship money increase big time within the next 12 months.  There is one word I keep reading from people dating back to his days at Colorado to his time with the Rangers: DYNAMIC!  Dynamic is exactly what CU needs in an AD and got with George; someone that will stimulate change in the system of directing a BCS program to prominence instead of continuing to accept mediocrity.  He is fiery, he is personable and he is dynamic. 

Rick George is a strong personality with a great resume.  He was the number one choice in many CU fans minds but many did not think we could afford him or coerce him into coming to CU.  Fortunately for the Buffs, CU was amongst his first choices for a dream job and CU was ahead of the curve in getting him over an NFL or other college program.  I believe these are the things we will see in the next 24 months with Rick George and his athletics program:
  • Money!!!  Donations will increase exponentially.  The $50 million for the $170 million dollar expansion project will be met within a year rather than 5 years like it would have been under Bohn.  George Solich will fit in well with Rick George and make a big big donation to help get things rolling.
  • Sponsorship will be impressive.  George has over a dozen years of talking with corporate sponsors and will bring that to the University of Colorado and get more money out of sponsors that have been kept around on the cheap.  Advertising and acknowledgement will be a premium.
  • Success on the football field.  This responsibility falls on Mike MacIntyre but George will help facilitate recruiting, money and ideas that add to MacIntyre and their staff taking that next step.  A bowl game for 2014 season.
  • College basketball program takes next step for men's and women's.  We see Sweet 16 for both and men's may be Final 4 if they can convince Dinwiddie he will be higher pick in 2015 Draft. 
  • A complete set of plans and announcement on improvements, not just an idea.  Maybe even ground breaking.
I am excited for CU athletics.  I see a better future with what Bohn did with their basketball by bringing in a stud in Tad Boyle and studette in Linda Lappe, with what Mike MacIntyre brings as a football coach and now how Rick George will tie in the sports program with the big money it needs to be successful.  Welcome back to CU Rick George.

Monday, July 15, 2013

State of Colorado's Top College Football Team of All-Time...

First let me preface this by saying I was inspired to put this together after hearing the talk about these teams on Mile High Sports Radio.  That inspired me to put together a team together of the greatest Buffs, Zoomies, Rams and even UNC together.  I took mostly college accomplishments into consideration but NFL career helped influence my picks.

I am a CU fan but trying to remain very unbiased.  However you look at it, CU has had 3x as many NFL players as all other Colorado schools combined.  CSU has had some quality players and there are some toss-ups that I wouldn't want to decide, but for the most part it isn't close.  Here's my 1st and 2nd Team All-Colorado Top College with my Top 50 of all-time at the end.

1st Team-Offense
QB-Kordell Stewart (CU): CSU has had a few guys make the NFL from the QB position, but none was as successful in college and the pros as Stewart.
RB-Rashaan Salaam (CU): If we were going pro career as well I would go with who I put on the 2nd team
FB-Steve Bartalo (CSU): Can't disagree with his numbers and his solid production after.
WR1-Cliff Branch (CU): Speed that Oakland loved for many years. #1 hands down if he doesn't play in such a run heavy offense.
WR2-Michael Westbrook (CU): Strength, speed and numbers in college and beyond were impressive.  He made Stewart better.
TE-Daniel Graham (CU): This is a tough pick for me.  Dreessen is a close 2nd but Graham was an AA.
T- Stan Brock (CU): Long NFL Career , but Tackle is a weak position.
G- Joe Romig (CU): 2x All American.  Tough to beat that
C-Jay Leeuwenberg (CU): Good NFL career but after anchoring some great Buffs teams
G-Chris Naeole (CU): Highest G pick for many years.  Was a mauler.
T-Brock Strom (AFA): Was an All American and in College Football HOF.  Tackle has had some good players, but not great in the local college history.
1st Team-Defense (3-4)
DT-Fum McGraw (CSU): All Pro and College HOF
N-Joel Steed (CU): I coached at Hinkley and have respect for this name, but he had a successful NFL career and was the defensive anchor.
DE-Mike Bell (CSU): Many year career in NFL.
OLB-Joey Porter(CSU): This is close but Poter's NFL career edges him over others on 2nd team
ILB-Greg Biekert (CU): Long NFL career and great player
ILB-Ted Johnson (CU): I forgot why I picked him (concussion issues)
OLB-Alfred Williams (CU): Best player on defense by far
CB-Deon Figures (CU): Absolutely amazing shutdown corner in college
CB-Mark Haynes (CU)Greg Myers (CSU): Both long NFL corner w/ 3 Pro Bowls
S-Chris Hudson (CU): Played both Corner and Safety, very versatile
S-Dick Anderson (CU): All American, College Football HOF
1st/2nd Team-Special Teams
P-Tom Rouen, Barry Helton, Mitch Berger and Mark Mariscal (CU) and :Yes Rouen played at CSU for a year but he was a Buff grad.  All of these guys earned top honors at their positions.
K-Mason Crosby (CU): Best player hands down at his position in Colorado History.  Not even worth mentioning another name.
KR-Dexter Wynn (CSU): Electric on KRs and played in the pros for a little because of it. Cliff Branch (CU) and Ben Kelly (CU)
PR-Cliff Branch (CU): Think if he would have had 4  years at CU instead of 2?!
Roman Holowell (CU): The idiot homers will say Jeremy Bloom but Roman was far more electric and has the numbers to prove it.  I would have liked to see Bloom actually devote himself to improving in football and not isolating himself from his teammates.  Bloom is #3.

2nd Team-Offense
QB-Darian Hagan (CU): All the CSU fans are wondering where their boy VanMullet/Sunshine is and I have to say, what warrants him being a top QB on these lists? 
RB-Eric Bienemy (CU)/Lawrence McCutcheon (CSU)/Byron Whizzer White (CU): All of these guys had solid pro careers.  All were great college players.  I give Bienemy the edge in college due to being the heart and soul of CUs 1990 Championship team. 
FB-Lawrence Vickers (CU): Could have gone JJ Flanagan but Vickers destroyed people as a fullback and was a threat with the ball as much as Flanagan.  He also has had a solid NFL career.
WR1-Mike Pritchard (CU): Athletic.  Played RB when the Buffs had injury issues and rushed for over 100 yards.  Made amazing catches.  Impressive.
WR2-Rae Carruth (CU): The human mind can make some horrific decisions.  He was an amazing college player and was a solid pro.  He doesn't deserve his release date in the next couple years.
TE-Christian Fauria (CU)/Joel Dreessen (CSU): These players were identical college and pro players.  I won't let my bias choose.
T-Morgan Pears (CSU): He was better than his brother, hands down
G-Andre Gurode (CU): Played most of college at G.  Was an absolute beast when lined up next to Victor Rogers.  Leader of that great 2001 CU team.
C-Bryan Stoltenberg (CU): Another CU AA
G-Joe Garten (CU):
T-Nate Solder (CU): Developed into one of best OT the state has ever seen after starting as a big TE.
2nd Team-Defense (3-4)
DT- Chad Hennings (AFA)/Sean Moran (CSU): Solid NFL career. Justin Banaan would be an alternate here.  Didn't have great pass rush numbers  but being a force in the middle earned him millions in the pros.
N-Terry Unrein (CSU)
DE-Brady Smith (CSU)/Ernie Jennings (AFA)
OLB-Chad Brown (CU): Long NFL career, great CU career but there have been plenty of other amazing Buffs
ILB-Matt Russell (CU): Leader on the teams he played for.  All over the field play maker.
ILB-Jordon Dizon (CU): Great in college game but just too undersized to not get hurt in pros.  His sideline to sideline speed was amazing to watch.
OLB-Clark Haggans (CSU)/Kanvis McGee (CU): McGee played with best player in Colorado football history.  Haggans was great in college and pros.  Toss-Up so it's a tie.
CB-Cullen Bryant (CU)
CB-Cullen Bryant (CU)
S-Gary Glick (CSU)
S-Jack Christiansen (CSU)

Honorable mentions are in the Top 50.

Top 50 All-Time Colorado Colleges Greats
  1. Alfred Williams-CU
  2. Rashan Salaam-CU
  3. Dick Anderson-CU
  4. Eric Bienemy-CU
  5. Byron "Whizzer" White-CU
  6. Kordell Stewart-CU
  7. Michael Westbrook-CU
  8. Thurman "Fum" McGraw-CSU
  9. Darian Hagan-CU
  10. Matt Russell-CU
  11. Greg Myers-CSU
  12. Cliff Branch-CU
  13. Mike Pritchard-CU
  14. Joe Garten-CU
  15. Chris Naeole-CU
  16. Chris Hudson-CU
  17. Jack Christiansen-CSU
  18. Mike Bell-CSU
  19. Deon Figures-CU
  20. Kanavis McGhee-CU
  21. Chad Brown-CU
  22. Greg Biekert-CU
  23. Ted Johnson-CU
  24. Steve Bartalo-CSU
  25. Daniel Graham-CU
  26. Joey Porter-CSU
  27. Joe Romig-CU
  28. Gary Glick-CSU
  29. Dave Logan-CU
  30. Clark Haggans-CSU
  31. Ty Detmer-CU
  32. Dutch Clark-CC
  33. Bradlee VanPelt-CSU
  34. Stan Brock-CU
  35. Brock Strom-CSU
  36. Chad Hennings-CU
  37. Joel Steed-CU
  38. Sean Moran-CSU
  39. Dexter Wynn-CSU
  40. Joel Dreessen-CSU
  41. Jay Leeuwenberg-CU
  42. Andre Gurode-CU
  43. Moses Moreno-CSU
  44. Lawrence McCutcheon-CSU
  45. Vincent Jackson-UNC
  46. Ben Kelly-CU
  47. Rae Carruth-CU
  48. Bobby Anderson-CU
  49. Mason Crosby-CU
  50. Tom Rouen-CU/CSU