Nearly a year has passed since University of Colorado leaders decided to part ways with athletic director Mike Bohn and bring Rick George back to Boulder to replace him.

The decision was met with some skepticism and fans were largely split on whether splitting with Bohn was the right move last spring. It was certainly unexpected by most.

Bohn did a lot of good things in his time at CU. Leading the school into the Pac-12 Conference, transforming the men's basketball program from doormat into an annual conference contender and adding women's lacrosse to the school's roster of sports will always be part of his legacy.

Losing in football for the better part of a decade will, too.

Considering what has transpired in the months since George took over the department, it's looking more and more like Chancellor Phil DiStefano's shrewd move was the right one for the Buffs.

That isn't meant as knock on Bohn, whose heart will always be in Boulder with the Buffs. This is the town he grew up in and school he rooted for as a boy after all.

Bohn raised money at historic levels but George has raised the bar to a level it has never been when it comes to fundraising. And raising money for the department has been the single most important issue for the Buffs for several years now since everyone in the CU leadership collectively decided to put the department into debt by switching conferences.


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What George is doing in fundraising at CU is nothing short of a marvel.

The numbers have been cited before but they're worth repeating. In the entire history of the CU athletic department the most money ever raised in one year was approximately $15 million by Bohn and his team. In considerably less than a year, George appears to be nearing his goal of $50 million.

And that is just the money raised for a $143 million facilities project in and around Folsom Field. It doesn't include donations for scholarships or those that specifically target other areas and sports.

Of course we don't know for sure how much George has raised because he has refused to say since noting at the football recruiting luncheon in early February that he was more than halfway there. But we do know that the Board of Regents mandated that George raise at least $47.6 million in order to break ground on the facilities project and the groundbreaking has been set for May 12.

So either George is nearly to the goal or the regents will give him the go ahead with whatever he already has raised.

No matter, George came back to Boulder and reviewed Bohn's plan for facilities upgrades and made some smart changes. He also took a much more aggressive approach to fundraising while getting creative in coming up with ways to generate new revenue. He set goals and target dates for achieving them and has come through for the most part.

Bohn's plan for improving facilities, while transformational as he described it, came with no firm commitments for raising money by a certain date or beginning or completing construction by certain dates. In some ways, it was wishful thinking.

Assuming the $143 million project gets underway on time next month and is completed on time and on budget by August 2015, George will have pulled off the first big achievement of his tenure and a lasting part of his legacy.

But there is more to being an athletic director than raising money and building facilities, though that seems to be job No. 1 for just about any AD these days, including Bohn who is now at the University of Cincinnati.

The two biggest challenges on George's plate once the construction begins will be getting the department's operational finances in order and back in positive territory and helping Mike MacIntyre win football games by filling the stadium with as many CU fans as possible every week next fall and in seasons to come.

He also must make sure every program continues to thrive academically and that everyone under his direction does things by the book.

If George does as well in those endeavors as he appears to be doing with his first big project, there will be plenty of fun times ahead for those who bleed black, silver and gold.

Contact BuffZone.com Writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or on Twitter: @kyleringo.