CU AD Gets Canned For Fundraising Failures

Mike Bohn axed at CU
A very interesting article in the Denver Post today on the University of Colorado Athletic Director getting fired this week. These are unbelievably challenging times for collegiate athletic departments. 

In March, Chancellor Coombe cut the DU Athletic Department budget by $500,000 for next fiscal year. He also froze faculty salaries and raised tuition by 3.8% for 2013-14 as well. No doubt the Gwozdecky firing, the golf coach resignation and reported budget problems on the ski team were related. More painful cuts are sure to come.

This week DU extended Bill Tierney's contract, joined the Big East in lacrosse and priority number one is to expand seating capacity at Barton Lacrosse Stadium.

The point of this is that the facilities arms race, wild television contracts, huge coaches contracts and conference affiation roulette will call for elite fund raisers to run the athletic departments and universities of tomorrow.
"One day after Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano had his say about why the university abruptly decided to let its athletic director go, Mike Bohn took his chance for rebuttal.

Tops on the list? Fundraising not matching expectations.

"The insinuation that we don't have a (fundraising) plan is offensive at best," Bohn said. "Our Sustainable Excellence Initiative is one we've been working on for three years. And we've been working hard on what works. How do we work within the footprint we have?" [read entire article].


Anonymous said...

DU joined the Big East in Lax - they were already in the ECAC for the last four years,

dggoddard said...

No doubt this has been the most challenging year in DU Athletic Department history. Fundraising really needs to be ramped up to make up for revenue shortfalls or rising costs of playing with the Big Boys.

DU seems to have a very mixed record on fundraising. DU has had some massive gifts from nonalums [Burns, Ritchie, Magness, Daniels] but few from alums [Nelson & Anderson].

And the percentage of alums donating would have to be very near the bottom of Top 100 private universities.

dggoddard said...

My mistake. Edited & corrected.

So many different conferences, its impossible to keep track of.

UDenver20 said...

Fundraising for DU athletics has actually been well executed given that Coombe has thrown every possible wrench into the effort.

For example:

- We were given the Highlands Ranch Golf Club (book value of $5.2M):

- The Pat Bowlen Training Center was made possible via a $1.5M gift:

- The Boryla Recruiting Lounge was probably named after Vince Boryla and his wife because of a philanthropic gift of at least six figures:

- The Pioneer Movement Program was launched last year and is a very good representation of how athletics is building a scalable pipeline of upgradable donors. In fact, it's pretty good program (which I have invested in and which is the thread by which my status as a donor hangs).

I wholly believe that the development staff within DU's athletics department is doing its very best in this area (and getting some good results), especially given how mind-blowingly counterproductive and self-destructive the university's administration has been.

Since the core of any campaign will be major gifts (most often from non-alums) building a base of donors is not exactly a fundamental short-term building block.

Still, I sure wouldn't want to be the person responsible for the success of ASCEND given how intent Coombe has been on destroying any vestige of alumni affinity and handicapping any real donor acquisition efforts.

dggoddard said...

Excellent points.

Add Barton Stadium to the list as well.

Anonymous said...

DG donated boone and DU declined his donation classic.

dggoddard said...

You forgot to mention that I donated $3,500 for the murals in the Ritchie Center and Coombe painted over the mascots.

I hope Coombe Daddy appreciated the Westword article about erasing the mural, all the Boone signs at the Lax Final Four and one last parting gift for him...

dggoddard said...

Regarding CU, the Buff made a giant mistake joining the Pac-12. Besides getting creamed in the financial arms race to USC, Oregon and Stanford, CU shot themselves in the foot losing recruits.

California does not produce as many elite athletes as people think and those the state does produce will never leave the west coast and come to Boulder.

Colorado recruited really well in Texas, Colorado and adjoining states when they won their National Championship in football. The days of recruiting in and around Texas are long gone.

Take notice DU fans who want the Pioneers to join the WCC.

Anonymous said...

Uhhh...DG, the vast majority of CU's 1990 National Championship* team was NOT from Colorado or Texas.

In fact, the impact players on offense were ALL from either California or another West Coast state.

To whit:
Darien Hagen: California
Eric Bieniemy: California
Charles E. Johnson: California
George Hemingway: Washington
Mike Pritchard: Nevada

And two of the defensive standouts, Chad Brown and Deon Figures, were from California as well.

In fact, there were only four players with significant playing time on that team that were from Texas or Colorado: Kanavis McGhee and Alfred Williams from Texas; and Joel Steed and Greg Biekert from Colorado.

That team was successful because Bill McCartney was able to leverage CU's (at the time) lax academic standards and the ridiculous NCAA Proposition 48 rules to get athletes into school that most other schools wouldn't touch without 2 years of Junior College under their belts.

*Note: This should be the most disputed National Championship of all time. CU needed a 5th down against Missouri and a phantom clipping call against Notre Dame to "win" the National Championship in 1990...

vizoroo said...

Big 12 was a far better fit for CU. Cal Stanford, USC, UCLA--sorry CU just doesn't fit. Better fit with AZ schools, but doubt if AZ is a hotbed for recruiting.
(except for Old Pio's football playing relative)

Unknown said...

The L.A. media has never questioned CU being in the PAC 12. It makes sense out here because Denver is a major media market. The questions here have been about Utah. They really can't compete - but then again, Washington State, can't, either. Oh well...

Timothy Wurtz
DU '73
Los Angeles, CA

Unknown said...

So, is Peg in the running for the CU gig? Bet she'd like one of those multi-million, major university contracts.

Timothy Wurtz
Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

Peg is very highly regarded in the A.D. community. I think it safe to assume that her phone occasionally rings during these search firms efforts.

Anonymous said...

When can we expect DG's idiots guide to recruiting to come out?

Anonymous said...

It makes me happy knowing the Buffs are the laughing stock of the college football community. Kicking their butts in non-revenue sports is pretty sweet too. Keep the turmoil coming.