Hired in spring 2005, Mike Bohn has had an eventful tenure as athletic director. He has brought in new head coaches in three of CU’s most prominent sports — football and men’s and women’s basketball — led CU’s move to the Pac-12 and received a contract extension through June 2016.
Do you consider orchestrating the move to the Pac-12 the accomplishment you’re most proud of at CU?
Well, it’s certainly one of them. But I’m very proud of a lot of things. For example, the teamwork that went into creating an incredible environment for our men’s track & field team to win the Big 12 Championship in 2008 was certainly very, very special. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done to help the basketball enterprise long-term with the practice facility that also helps volleyball.
I’m also proud of the partnership with Colorado National Golf Club that supports our men’s and women’s golf programs. And I’m proud of the Stampede [pep rally] tradition that we’ve started in downtown Boulder the evening before football games.
Since CU officially joined the Pac-12 during the summer, have you noticed a palpable excitement among the fans and in the department?
Everywhere you go people are excited. So it’s a big change for us — I don’t want to say a cataclysmic change but pretty close. And I think it’s exactly the boost we needed to build the intensity of interest in our program.
Has the move affected ticket sales or boosters kicking in more money?
It has. For example, before we joined the Pac-12, we had about 97 Buff Club members out of 23,000 alumni in California. And currently we’re at 500 with a goal of 3,000 in that state alone.
How much of a difference does the lucrative new Pac-12 media rights deal make for the CU athletic department?
It is significantly more revenue than we received in the Big 12. However, our season ticket sales, our donations and our sponsorships are all vital elements for us to continue to grow and meet the goals we have.
What are your biggest priorities looking ahead?
Our biggest priority right now is to improve our recruiting efforts and do everything we can to address the competitive nature of this league. It’s known as the conference of champions.
Is there any thought, at least long-term, of adding any sports?
We would love to add some sports. Again, it’s going to come down to the resources we have to put it together. I will say the first sport we add will be a women’s sport to help with our commitment to proportionality and the number of women participating.
Is there a sport you have in mind?
I think women’s lacrosse seems to be gaining a lot of momentum. A lot of people talk about baseball on the men’s side, and it would be wonderful to add baseball and some other sports, but it’s going to come down to that intensity of interest from our fan base and our donor base and our alumni to be able to fund those programs.
Whenever you speak to public groups, you always end by saying “Go Buffs.” Why is that important?
If you’re going to be a leader you’ve got to demonstrate a commitment and a passion. And that’s my way of saying that my passion and commitment to the program, to our community, to our campus and what the Buffs represent is intense.