Athletic Department Update

Athletic director Mike Bohn and associate directors Ceal Barry and Tom McGrath met with members of the local media Thursday for an informal roundtable discussion about CU athletics. The following are notes from the roundtable, which cover several topics, including fundraising, football scheduling and tickets, some track team dismissals and the men's basketball coach search.

Fundraising Update
Fundraising is still underway for several athletics initiatives, including the outdoor practice bubble. Bohn said the goal is still that the bubble be constructed and ready for use over the football practice fields by October 2007. The movable structure and two years of operating expenses (which the university has required the AD to fund before construction) will cost roughly $2.9 million. Bohn declined to say how much exactly the AD is short of that figure currently, but said he's confident they'll reach the $2.9 mil figure in time.

Fundraising for other upgrade priorities are in full swing as well. Those include upgrades for the basketball operations at the Coors Events Center, volleyball locker rooms, football locker rooms and upgrades to the Varsity Room in the Dal Ward center.

Bohn said donations to the AD are up nearly 70 percent from last year this time, and put a positive face on the efforts the fundraising team is giving.

Buffs vs. Huskies
The football team renewed a series with Washington. CU will host the Huskies Sept. 12, 2015 and play in Seattle Sept. 10, 2016.

Remaining slots still to be filled over the next seven seasons include one home non-conference date in each of the 2008, 10 and 11 seasons. Dave Plati, CU SID and one of the main players in football scheduling, said the Buffs are close to finalizing those games. They could come together in the following couple weeks.

Plati noted one outcome of the 12 game schedules colleges are now playing is that 30 to 40 Division I-A programs are now playing seven home games (up from the traditional six), and that has somewhat drained the pool of available teams to come to Boulder.

Plati said scheduling a D 1AA team (like Montana State from the 2006 slate) is a last resort. One reason is television (a department revenue source) won't buy such a game. So, intersectional games that are attractive to TV — such as Washington — are the goal.

Season-Ticket Prices Staying the Same
Speaking of football schedules, Colorado will NOT raise its season-ticket prices for the 2007 season, which promises to be one of the most attractive home schedules in CU history. (Season tickets include games with CSU {in Denver}, Florida State, Miami of Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska this fall).

Tickets (without the mandatory donation required in some sections) will cost $235-$355. In addition, the number of sections without mandatory donations attached to them will rise from four to nine the coming season. The five additional sections without mandatory donations are located in the south horseshoe above the student section.

Season ticket renewals will begin at the end of January. Subscribers will have until March 1 to renew, with several different payment plans available.

It's a vital offseason in terms of football ticket sales, as last season's sales lagged below budget projections. Plus, weather (which led to two cancelled games) and some fan disinterest has caused a drop in revenue from men's basketball attendance.

Spring Ball
The football spring game is tentatively scheduled for April 14. The team will practice for two weeks prior to spring break, and two weeks after, getting in its allotted 15 practices in 29 days.

Pro timing day is set for March 17.

Ticketing System Upgrade
The athletic department is finally catching up with the times in terms of ticketing. A new online ticketing system should be in place in the coming months that will allow fans to buy and print their tickets online. The AD is still interviewing candidates to take over the ticket manager position, and hopes to have a hire in the next two months.

Recruiting Luncheon Update
Interest has been high for the annual Football Recruiting Luncheon, which is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Feb. 8, the day after national letter of intent signing day, at the Downtown Denver Marriot. Coach Bill McCartney will once again be a keynote speaker at the event, and Coach Dan Hawkins will break down the new class. Bohn said CU expects as many as 1,000 people at the luncheon. Tickets are available by calling (303) 735-5467.

Basketball Coach Search Update
Bohn, Barry and McGrath — all three of whom, obviously, are heavily involved in the search for a new men's basketball coach — seemed genuinely upbeat about the process, and the ability of the school to land a good coach to replace Ricardo Patton.

Members of the search committee have been meeting with several groups to get feedback on the situation, including former CU players, alumni, students and faculty. They are scheduled to meet with as many as 25 to 30 high school area basketball coaches tonight (Jan. 25), for input, as well.

The meetings have been fruitful, according to McGrath. For one reason, the AD will be able to talk with authority and insight about those constituents when they start interviewing candidates.

Bohn said there's been a lot of enthusiasm about the potential for CU men's hoops among the constituent groups.

"We have been more than ecstatic about how that's gone," Bohn said.

"The biggest, most noticeable contribution has been their enthusiasm about the potential of CU men's basketball," Barry added.

As of yet, the search committee has not met to begin ranking potential candidates. Bohn said he doesn't have a specific timetable for making the hire because that will depend on potential candidates' current commitments. In other words, don't expect a hire immediately following the Buffs' season because some potential candidates could still be coaching in postseason tournaments.

Asked if that timetable could extend into June, when the NBA season ends, if a coach with an NBA job were among the candidates, Bohn said that's possible.

As they have said previously, Bohn and McGrath said they have received a number of resumes from good candidates, but no one would divulge any names.

The new coach's contract will be a similar, incentive-laden deal to what Dan Hawkins and Kathy McConnell-Miller have.

10 Point Plan On Hold
Bohn said that since his 10 point plan of improving the basketball programs (which include facilities upgrades among other things) has been put on hold since the initial plan was tied to Ricardo Patton. Bohn said a new plan will be initiated once the new coach is hired.

More Basketball
Following some big losses this season, some fans have grumbled that Bohn should pull the trigger now and dismiss Patton. Asked about that Thursday, Bohn and McGrath shot down the idea, saying in essence that's not the way to do business.

"I don't think that's the way you rebuild a program -- making an impulse decision like that," McGrath said.

Bohn said: "We need to keep as much continuity as possible, and I think our kids deserve the opportunity to be around the people that recruited them and the people that are part of their basketball lives.

"Plus, I have confidence in Ricardo to continue to be a professional and be hard-working and represent us in the best light possible. I expect him to do that, and I believe he is doing that despite the things that show up on the scoreboard.

"I think it would be unfair to our student-athletes to put them through more change and turmoil."

Though Bohn and McGrath didn't address this point, the fact is, there's no where to turn for an interim coach at this point anyway, without turning what's become a disappointing season into a fiasco.

The AD is planning a salute to Patton for the final home game, Saturday, March 3.

Tracksters Dismissed, Suspended
Finally, Bohn announced that a group of student-athletes from the CU track team had been dismissed and several others suspended "for conduct that is unbecoming a University of Colorado student-athlete and inconsistent with the values of (the) department." Bohn would not make the names of the athletes public, but applauded head coach Mark Wetmore's disciplinary actions in the matter.

BuffStampede Top Stories