Byyny Recommends Tharp As Athletic Director

Published: May 18, 1997

Richard A. Tharp, interim athletic director at the University of Colorado at Boulder since August 1996, will be recommended to the CU Board of Regents as the campus’ permanent director of intercollegiate athletics, according to Chancellor Richard L. Byyny.

Following an internal search, Tharp was a finalist for the job along with Theophilus D. Gregory, director of athletics at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

“We were extremely fortunate to have two such strong candidates within the CU system,” said Byyny. “That speaks well for the overall athletic programs on our respective campuses.”

Byyny said Tharp brings “outstanding experience and direct responsibility for managing a successful Division I program. He has played a leadership role in the world of intercollegiate athletics, both at CU and on a national level. I look forward to working with him to take our programs to another level of excellence.”

Tharp became interim athletic director in August 1996 following the resignation of former Director Bill Marolt.

As interim director, he has been responsible for managing the 17 men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports offered at CU-Boulder, as well as representing the campus in Big 12 Conference and NCAA matters. CU-Boulder’s athletic department includes a staff of about 130 and a budget of more than $20 million.

Tharp has held a number of positions at CU, including assistant university counsel (1973-76), acting university counsel (1976-83) and vice president and university counsel (1989-94). In these positions, he was involved with athletic issues, including NCAA relationships, conference alignment, TV contracts, coaches' employment and contracts, athletic policies and regulations, and compliance with Title IX.

Since 1976, Tharp has been involved in employment negotiations with CU-Boulder’s last four head football coaches, the last five head basketball coaches and the current women’s head basketball coach. From 1978-81, he led the university’s investigation and response to NCAA allegations of rules violations.

Tharp served as administrative liaison in the Office of the President to the athletic department from 1989-92, with responsibility for budgetary review and oversight. He has served as consultant to several major universities on NCAA matters, coaches' contracts, relationships with alumni organizations and contracts regarding bowl affiliations. In 1988-89, he was a finalist for the position of commissioner of the Big 10 athletic conference.

Tharp earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1970 from DePauw University in Indiana and a law degree from the CU School of Law in 1973.

His salary in the permanent athletic director position will be $145,000. His appointment is expected to come up for a vote by the Regents on June 4.