Many Buffs fans and alumni were shocked to learn Tuesday that the University of Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn resigned from his position.
The resignation, coming months after Colorado’s dismal football season, came unexpectedly to many stunned fans.
“I thought he would continue being the athletic director through the year, considering they kept him through the Embree firing and let him hire the next head football coach,” said Nick Keberlein, a 2011 CU alumnus who now lives in Denver. “I thought he’d be here for a while.”
The school gave no reason for ending its relationship with Bohn, although continued athletic department financial problems and little progress in fundraising are alleged to be some of the issues that led to Bohn’s resignation.
Donor and 1992 alumna Carrie Packard, who resides in Denver and works in fundraising, said she had a “gut feeling” that Bohn resigned because he couldn’t convince donors to chip in.
“I’m sure he’s not hitting the capital goal,” Packard said. “I have a feeling people are tired of him and he is losing. The donors (the athletic department) felt would give are just fatigued and don’t feel their money is going to be spent well. We’re the laughing stock of the conference and I think that’s what the donors feel. As a development professional, it would scare me that the donors would run the asylum.”
Packard said she’s heard “grumblings” from donors at the $100 level, so she said she imagines donors with thousands or millions to contribute might feel the same way.
On Tuesday, many fans commended Bohn for hiring head basketball coach Tad Boyle, for helping Colorado join the Pac-12 Conference and for rebuilding the women’s basketball program.
Fellow Pac-12 member and University of Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted Tuesday, “Sorry to hear about Mike Bohn’s tenure coming to an end at CU. Good guy & will always be a good friend.”
Soon-to-be CU senior Jesse Frank said he had “mixed feelings” about Bohn because of his support of Colorado’s basketball programs and the accompanying student section, the “C-Unit,” but the athletic director only experienced one winning football season during his eight years in Boulder. Bohn’s first season on the job was in 2005.
Bohn hired ex-football coach Dan Hawkins, followed by Jon Embree, but neither produced a winning program.
During a press conference announcing Embree’s firing in November, the former coach fought back tears, while many of his assistants and athletes stood in the back of the room showing support for Embree and their disagreement with Bohn’s decision.
Mateo Martinez, a 2005 CU graduate who now lives in northwest Denver, said the press conference showed the disorganization of CU’s leadership.
“It was a trash fire,” Martinez, 34, said. “It was a complete mockery. It just wasn’t really thought out. Everything has been completely mismanaged.”
Some Buffs fans are still fuming over Embree’s firing itself, and said Tuesday that Bohn should have given Embree at least four years to develop players he recruited.
Embree was fired after two losing seasons at Colorado.
“He put him in a no-win situation,” said CU fan Nick Trombetta. “Eventually it can’t be the coach’s fault every time.”
–Follow Sarah Kuta on Twitter: @SarahKuta.