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.