SBD/May 31, 2013/Colleges

Mike Bohn Holds Press Conference, Staunchly Defends Tenure As Colorado AD

Bohn was adamant that he had a viable fundraising plan in order while at Colorado
Former Colorado AD Mike Bohn on Thursday "defended his fundraising record and his management of the athletic department in his eight years at CU," according to Christopher Dempsey of the DENVER POST. Bohn's comments came one day after CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano "had his say about why the university abruptly decided" to let Bohn go last week. Bohn said, "The insinuation that we don't have a (fundraising) plan is offensive at best. 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?" Bohn highlighted the "fact that the athletic department was the No. 1 fundraising unit on campus," and "trumpeted big increases in luxury suite sales and donations." He said that the suite sales and donations are "up 26 percent from last year." Bohn: "We've got some nice donations in the queue. Just because we haven't announced them all ... I had six $1 million gifts under my watch. I'm proud of that. Those are relationships. I think that it takes some time to build those." He said that he "did run the department like a business." CU data indicated that athletic department donations rose from $7.6M in '11 to $11.8M in '12 "during what was a tough fundraising environment." Bohn added, "Up until last year, we balanced the budget every single year" (DENVER POST, 5/31). The AP's Pat Graham noted Bohn during his 45-minute press conference delivered "a seven-page handout detailing accomplishments, fundraising numbers, community involvement and facility investments." Bohn, when asked why he is no longer AD, said, "I don't know" (AP, 5/30).

RIGHT DECISION? In Boulder, Kyle Ringo notes Bohn was introduced at the press conference by former CU Regent Pete Steinhauer, "who served on the board and the CU search committee eight years ago when Bohn was hired." Steinhauer "stopped short of saying the school had made a mistake by parting ways with Bohn but he said he didn't understand the decision." Bohn noted that the CU department is "expected to come up short of its revenue goals again next year mostly because there won't be a distribution from the Pac-12 Network once again." Startup costs for the network and an inability to sign a deal with DirecTV has "slowed the expected growth of the network's revenues." Bohn: "We knew it was going to be a two-year tough window and campus knew that" (Boulder DAILY CAMERA, 5/31). Also in Boulder, Brian Howell writes Bohn "took some heat -- and rightfully so -- during his tenure." But he also "did a lot of good things." Bohn's "biggest failure came on the football field." Only "once in eight years -- Bohn's first year in 2005 -- did the football team produce a winning record." Bohn also "fired three head football coaches, causing the school to shell out" more than $7M in buyout costs. DiStefano "didn't give Bohn an opportunity to finally get things right on the football field," but time may "prove that Bohn finally did get it right" (Boulder DAILY CAMERA, 5/31).
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