Buffs’ brass happy with direction of athletics

The past 12 months have been a hectic ride, but the University of Colorado athletic department has rolled with it.

Since the chancellor and the board of regents made the decision to opt out of the Big 12 Conference a year early and join the Pacific-10 Conference, now Pac-12, several things have happened and the Buffaloes are riding the momentum into the conference and new territory.

Colorado Athletic Director Mike Bohn, assistant football coach Darian Hagan and assistant men’s basketball coach Mike Rohn stopped by The Daily Sentinel on Wednesday to expand on the transition during their statewide tour.

“It’s really a tribute to our chancellor and the leadership on campus that helped us facilitate that move early,” Bohn said. “It was important to keep some momentum going, because that allowed the Pac-12 Conference championship football game and continued momentum into the record-setting multi-media rights agreement that (Pac-12 Conference Commissioner) Larry Scott and his team pulled together. It’s been a terrific ride of momentum.”

Since the announcement of the move to the Pac-12, Bohn hired former CU tight end Jon Embree to coach the football team, Tad Boyle took over the men’s basketball team and led them to the National Invitational Tournament Final Four, Linda Lappe has redirected the women’s basketball program and the skiing team won the national championship.

“The record-setting year for men’s basketball was a huge shot in the arm really galvanized our fans and to have five sellouts when we’ve never had more than two in any give year’s history of the school, that was a huge sense of feeling the momentum going into the Pac-12.”

That momentum is needed as the Buffaloes begin play in arguably the best conference in NCAA Division I sports.

The Pac-10 Conference won its 400th national championship on Tuesday with Arizona State University winning the softball title, giving the conference twice as many national championships as any other conference in the nation.

“It will be a formidable task for us, which is why we need to continue to invest in facilities,” Bohn said. “We need to rally our constituents to pull together upgrades for the football program. There is tremendous momentum across the board. We are very excited in Boulder, but yet this is the University of Colorado and the Western Slope is very important to us. With our rivalry with Utah, this fan base here will help us with the game with the Utes. I believe you’ll see us more often.”

Colorado and Utah have agreed to play its conference game each year the day after Thanksgiving, continuing a tradition the Buffaloes had with former Big 12 rival Nebraska, which joined the Big 10 Conference.

Bohn, Hagan and Rohn discussed more about the move to the Pac-12, the recently announced television contract, possibly adding other athletic programs and the direction of the football and basketball programs with the Sentinel.

A story on that will come later this week.


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