BOULDER, Colo. (AP) – Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn is resigning after eight years in charge of a Buffaloes program that struggled on the football field and soared in hoops.
In an email sent to his athletic staff and acquired by The Associated Press, Bohn wrote: “They want to go in a different direction and that is their prerogative. This is a very disappointing, troubling and shocking development as we have made so much progress together over the past 8 years.”
His resignation is effective June 3. The university announced late Tuesday night that former CU women’s basketball coach Ceal Barry will be the interim director of intercollegiate athletics upon Bohn’s departure.
Bohn also wrote in his email to the staff: “I want to ensure you know, as my official separation agreement states, that I have not engaged in any impropriety, NCAA rule violations, university policy violation or any immoral, dishonest, or other sort of misconduct.”
The Denver Post was the first to post the contents of Bohn’s email.
Chancellor Philip DiStefano said Tuesday in a written statement that he had accepted Bohn’s resignation. Precise reasons for the resignation weren’t disclosed.
“Mike Bohn led CU-Boulder athletics in a time of great transition and change,” DiStefano said. “We are grateful to him for his vision, passion and commitment, and for his key role in revitalizing men’s and women’s basketball, helping us to join the Pac-12 Conference, and in taking important steps to upgrade athletic facilities at CU-Boulder. We wish him well.”
DiStefano said he will appoint a committee in the coming days to conduct a national search for Bohn’s successor. He said the next athletic director should be someone who can focus on the key goals of fundraising, “building a dynamic organization, and creating long-term sustainability in the athletics mission.”
Bohn fired two football coaches and pushed a third out the door in his time at CU.
Gary Barnett, who was the incumbent coach when Bohn took over the department, reluctantly accepted a buyout in 2005 after going 49-38 in seven seasons marred by a sexual assault scandal.
Next was Dan Hawkins, hired in 2005 and fired in 2010 after going 19-39 in five seasons.
Bohn hired Jon Embree in 2010 and fired him last November after the Buffs went 4-21 in two seasons. Bohn replaced Embree in December with Mike MacIntyre, formerly of San Jose State.
The tenure of Bohn also included a dramatic turnaround on the basketball court. Bohn lured former Denver Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik from Air Force to coach the struggling men’s basketball team after Ricardo Patton said he would step down in 2007. When Bzdelik left for Wake Forest after three seasons, Bohn hired Tad Boyle from Northern Colorado in 2010. The Buffaloes went to the NIT in Boyle’s first season with the team and to the NCAA tournament the past two seasons.
In February, Colorado announced a $50 million fundraising campaign to anchor a $170 million multiyear upgrade of CU athletics facilities at Folsom Field and the Dal Ward Center and the development of an indoor practice facility.
“We are seeking a talented leader who can build on Mike’s vision and make it a reality,” DiStefano said in a news release after declining interview requests.
Bohn was an outsider when he was named athletic director April 13, 2005, after Dick Tharp resigned and Jack Lengyel became interim athletic director. Bohn had been the athletic director at San Diego State. Two years ago, the Colorado Board of Regents gave Bohn a contract extension into 2017.
He also has overseen the hiring of two women’s basketball coaches, a golf coach and volleyball coach.
Barry led the Buffs to 427 wins and 12 NCAA tournament appearances before retiring in 2005. She now serves as associate athletic director for student services.
“Ceal’s experience, leadership and credibility with our athletic staff and stakeholders make her an ideal person to assume this important role as we search for new leadership,” DiStefano said.
To close out his email to the staff, Bohn wrote: “I am so grateful of the entire Department of Athletics team we built together and I want you to know that I am proud and honored to have worked with you in growing our enterprise. I CARE deeply about each and every one of our terrific Coaches, Staff and Student-Athletes. We have made tremendous progress together and I urge you to continue to stand Shoulder to Shoulder in representing our institution with class and distinction.
“My family and I have given all of our hearts and soul to the program and I urge you to continue to do the same. Go Buffs!”
By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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