SBD/July 18, 2013/Colleges

CU Names MLB Rangers' Rick George AD As School Steps Up Fundraising Attempts

Incentives could raise George's salary to as much as $1.3M per year
The Univ. of Colorado yesterday named MLB Rangers President of Business Operations Rick George AD in a deal that makes him the "highest paid administrator in the history of the school and the CU system," according to a front-page piece by Kyle Ringo of the Boulder DAILY CAMERA. George's five-year contract calls for a $700,000 base salary, and he is "eligible to earn incentives for fundraising, sponsorship, licensing, academic achievement and other successes that could raise his compensation to as much as $1.3 million a year." The contract "must be approved by the Board of Regents next month, but that is expected to be a formality." He replaces Mike Bohn and will start at the school on Aug. 12. George, who worked as CU Dir of Football Operations from '87-91, "called the athletic director position his dream job." He said that it is one of a "small handful of jobs that were attractive enough to get him to leave his post" at the Rangers. He had been with the MLB team since '10. CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano said that George was the "sole finalist for the job, though he did talk with approximately six other people who had interest in the position." Ringo notes George "inherits an athletic department mired in debt caused by forfeiting nearly two years of conference revenue when it moved from the Big 12 to the Pac-12 , three football coaching changes in seven years and poor football ticket sales in 2012." DiStefano said that at the "outset of the search" he "wanted to hire a candidate who could run the athletic department more like a business and balance its budget every year" (Boulder DAILY CAMERA, 7/18). CU interim AD Ceal Barry will "return to her position as associate athletic director after nearly two months" (DENVER POST, 7/18).

BUILDING THE DONOR BASE: George said that he "plans to try to expand the departments donor base significantly by meeting with people face to face and selling them on a vision for what a successful athletic department can mean to the school and the community." He added, "I can go out and help get people excited about this university and help fill the stands and get people excited about it" (Boulder DAILY CAMERA, 7/18). In Denver, Mark Kiszla notes George "left a sweet gig" with the Rangers "because he loves CU." George said, "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we could compete in the highest level in all our sports. I'd have no interest in it if that wasn't our shared goal." George's first "major task will be to raise $50 million in private funds as a down payment for $170 million in facility upgrades." No matter how "savvy a business planner George proves to be or how slick his sales pitch, nothing sells like success." To "maximize fundraising, the Buffaloes need to win football games" (DENVER POST, 7/18).
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