WINDSOR, Colo. –
WINDSOR — Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn might have a specific number of wins in mind for the football program this fall that will define whether it’s a successful season. It might even be significantly shy of the “10-and-2 and no excuses” standard coach Dan Hawkins set forth in December.
But if Bohn does have a number in his head, he’s not sharing it.
Bohn met with media members Monday afternoon at Pelican Lakes Golf Course after the annual Fred Casotti Classic tournament, named in honor of the school’s former sports information director. He took questions and provided updates as he has done in past years usually surrounded by his head football coach and head basketball coaches.
Hawkins was unable to make Monday’s tournament because he continues to recover from a procedure late last week to help him pass a kidney stone. Basketball coaches Jeff Bzdelik and Kathy McConnell-Miller were on the road recruiting.
Hawkins is entering his fourth year in Boulder and is still looking for his first winning campaign. Bohn was asked how many wins Hawkins’ Buffs must achieve this season for it to be a successful year in his view.
“I think it’s too early to say that, but in a lot of ways, we’re having an awesome season already,” Bohn said.
He used the word synergy repeatedly as he discussed the state of his department, budget challenges, football ticket sales, basketball scheduling and facilities improvements and construction. He said much of the news in those areas is positive and reason to be optimistic about the future.
At the same time, he acknowledged the department must sell 3,000 season tickets between now and the season opener Sept. 6 at home against CSU just to meet last year’s numbers in football, the life blood of the athletic department. He also said the Buffs’ three highest profile programs must now begin to turn the corner in the win column after several years of building.
“We understand winning is important,” Bohn said.
Toward that end, Bohn said the department has introduced a new “passion to win” slogan for its student-athletes, encouraging a winning approach toward everything they do. He said the department is searching for ways to help its coaches be more successful in recruiting better athletes in all sports.
Bohn said the 2009-2010 athletic department budget will remain at about $45 million. He said while it is always a concern to be behind in football ticket sales, the end of July and all of August are traditionally strong periods. He said he expects to sell out 12,000 student season tickets for the fourth consecutive year.
Bohn cited the fact that five games this season already are scheduled for national television as a reason “we’re having an awesome season already.” He said overall he believes fans feel a positive energy around the school’s programs.
Under the lights
CU will become the last school in the Big 12 Conference to install permanent lighting throughout its entire football stadium, when lights go up on the west side of Folsom Field next month.
Bohn said 19-foot holes are being dug right now for the poles that will hold the new banks, which will provide more overhead lighting than temporary lights used in the past on the west side. The east side of the stadium has had permanent lighting for years.
Bohn said he hopes to announce a long-term contract extension in football with Colorado State before the teams meet in Folsom Field on Sept. 6. The schools have been discussing a 10-year deal that would run through 2020. He said the schools continue to try to work out problems in years in which Colorado is slated to have only five home games if the Buffs play the Rams in Denver. He said moving the 2010 game back to Denver instead of playing in Fort Collins is a possibility.
“I think that’s still something we’re trying to obviously resolve,” Bohn said.
More money needed
for practice gym
Bohn said he hopes to announce in the next month a new target date for groundbreaking on the basketball and volleyball practice facility at the Coors Events Center.
The project was initially supposed to get underway in August and cost about $10 million, but the funding has not come through in donations fast enough for that to occur. Bohn said the project will now cost about $10.8 million because the heating and cooling plant that had been planned to be built at the same time has been scrapped altogether. He hopes to break ground later this fall, but the target date could be in the first three months of 2010.
CU is one of five schools in the nation using a new interactive marketing software program in which a user inputs their name and phone number and then watches members of the football team and coaches talk to them in a video on a Web site. The segment ends with a recorded phone call from Hawkins timed to coincide with the video. To try it out, visit www.joinyourteam.com.
The department is e-mailing an invitation to try out the program to everyone on its ticket information mailing list.
No one in the CU athletic department received a pay raise for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, Bohn said. … Bohn said basketball schedules are nearly finalized for both the men’s and women’s teams. Both programs are waiting to finalize one non-conference game before releasing the 2009-2010 slate. … Bohn said he has not been contacted by anyone in an attempt to interview Bzdelik for another coaching job. Bzdelik acknowledged having an informal conversation with the Minnesota Timberwolves last week about that team’s head coaching vacancy.