BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The pressure is on for the new athletic director at the University of Colorado.
Rick George has one month to produce $50 million in pledges from alumni and boosters in order to proceed with an ambitious plan unveiled late last year to expand the athletics complex on campus. The project’s overall price tag is $143 million.
George didn’t hold back with CBS4’s Vic Lombardi on Xfinity Monday Live when he was asked about where CU ranks in the Pac-12 Conference in terms of the quality of its current facilities.
“Dead last,” George told Lombardi. “I don’t think it’s close. We have a long way to go.”
If George is able to raise the funds, it’s expected to help a football program that has struggled for years. The plan would certainly help the coaching staff, but to him the focus is really on the student athletes.
“We have got to build them facilities that they can have more academic space in, more sports medicine space, more training space, more leadership development space, more locker room space … we need to provide that,” George said.
“Hopefully we’ll put a shovel in the ground in late spring and then hopefully have it all complete by 2015,” George said.
The Buffaloes under Coach Mike MacIntyre were 4-8 last season, so what are the chances they could qualify for a Bowl game this fall?
“I think it’s aspirational. I think it’s obtainable,” said George, who said he expects to have a greatly improved football team in MacIntyre’s second year.
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“We talked a lot about this as a staff. We have three things we want to do. We want to compete and win championships, we want to provide a great experience for our student athletes and we want to be fiscally responsible,” he said.
George’s athletic background is in recruiting. He was a great recruiter under Buffaloes coach Marc McCartney, and he says he thinks CU is the best program to play for in the country.
“There’s not a better backdrop in collegiate athletics than there is at CU. To look at the Flatirons and walk to class and see that, it’s terrific,” George said.
George, who resigned from his job as an executive with the Texas Rangers to take the AD job, said he decided early in his life that he wanted to be involved in a career in sports.
“I love all sports and love being around collegiate athletics and I’m glad to be back at CU,” George said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do all of my life.”
George said that since he’s taken the reins of the department he has been very pleased with the faculty and the community in Boulder.
Watch more video with Rick George in the Xfinity Monday Live section.