Bohn's First Move as Buffalo AD Golden

When you're hired for a high-profile job that requires a press conference, the first thing you have to do before deciding what you're going to say is deciding where you're going to say it. <b>Mike Bohn</b>, CU's new athletic director, wanted to hold his press conference outside the walls of the Dal Ward Center and closer to the heart of campus. The move is symbolic that things are changing at Colorado — changing for the better.

While official word from the CU sports information department came early Tuesday that the press conference announcing Bohn's hiring would be held Wednesday at 11 a.m., there was a TBD on the location. That's because officials were trying to figure out if they could accommodate Bohn's request that the press conference be held, not in the athletic center where such events have typically taken place, but in a more public arena.

Later in the afternoon, it was decided that the South Lawn outside the CU Rec Center would work. Rather than a cluster of media and department officials huddled in a room at the Dal Ward Center, the press conference will now be accessible to students, faculty, staff, townspeople and passersby.

While it may seem like a minor detail, symbolically, it's a huge deal. It shows Bohn has a clear understanding of one of the issues that's plagued the department, namely that it's operated too separately from the university and that a subtle us-and-them attitude alienated some parts of the university and general public, and even some of its fan base.

That's not a reflection on many of the talented, loyal and hardworking people who serve in the athletic department. It's a reflection of the tone of leadership they've toiled under in recent years, one better suited for an exclusive country club, not a university athletic department.

That tone didn't serve the department well during the past 14 months of bad publicity. While many in the Black and Gold community rallied shoulder to shoulder, many others at the university and in the area showed indifference or disgust.

The lesson learned is that a healthy department needs to reach out to the community with a welcoming spirit. Interim athletic director Jack Lengyel knows that, and it appears Bohn does too.

It's as if Bohn is saying, "I'm working for the UNIVERSITY of Colorado Buffaloes. That means everyone. Now let's get to know each other, get on the same page and move forward."

Holding the press conference at the South Lawn also shows Bohn is not afraid to go against the status quo if his instincts say he should, the sign of strong, creative leadership. That's something that will come into play in Bohn's role as a fundraiser for a department facing a significant budget shortfall. It will also serve him in the part of his job that demands he holds people accountable — coaches, staff and student-athletes.

If you're in town, show up at the South Lawn outside the Rec Center at 11 a.m. and see the man in action for yourself.


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