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Letter from Rick George (June 17, 2016)

Discussion in 'Colorado Football Message Board' started by Buffnik, Jun 17, 2016.

  1. Buffnik

    Buffnik Real name isn't Nik Club Member Junta Member

    Mar 20, 2009
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    Dear Buffs Fan,

    The 2015-16 academic and athletic years are now complete for us at CU, and we enjoyed quite a bit of success throughout our program.
    The crowning achievement was the completion of our Athletics Complex Expansion, a three-phase project that broke ground in May 2014 and was essentially finished with the sodding of Franklin Field earlier this month, where the football team will practice outdoors later this summer. Only some minor landscaping tweaks remain here and there at this time for the project to be fully completed, but all major construction and installations are finished.

    In May, we celebrated the graduation of 50 of our student-athletes across all 17 of our varsity sports, which was followed by another terrific academic summary: the cumulative grade point average of our 339 young men and women was 2.92 (and 2.91 for the semester). It was the fourth straight semester over a 2.9, impressive since we’ve had five total since we started tracking this information 20 years ago. Overall, 11 teams had GPAs in excess of 3.0, topped by a 3.562 by our women’s ski team. Kris Livingston and her Herbst Academic team continue to do a great job in working to improve the performance of our student-athletes.

    Our women’s outdoor track team posted their best finish in the Pac-12 Championships, finishing sixth in Seattle last month (and missed fifth by 1 point); the men’s seventh place effort tied their second-best performance in the event. We had a record 26 athletes qualify for the NCAA regionals – 14 women, 12 men – with nine advancing to the finals (six women). At the NCAA Championships in Eugene, five of those performers earned All-America honors, led by senior Pierce Murphy, as his fourth place finish in the 10,000-meter run rewarded him with first-team honors (all others were second-team, three by the women).

    The men’s golf team wrapped up its 10th season under Roy Edwards with an eighth place finish in the Tuscaloosa Regional. Jeremy Paul finished his junior season at CU by setting numerous records, most notably the single-season record for stroke average (70.7) in being named All-West Region (the All-America teams will be announced later this month). Senior Philip Juel-Berg capped a stellar career by playing in all 51 major tournaments CU scheduled during his career, and he finished as second on our all-time stroke average list (73.4).

    We will host the men’s Pac-12 Golf Championships next April 28-30 at Boulder Country Club, the first time CU will host a league title meet in 45 years. If you didn’t already know, Pac-12 schools swept the NCAA golf titles, Washington winning the women’s championship and Oregon the men’s crown.

    As for our women, their season was completed over a month ago, but junior Esther Lee earned second-team All-America honors for the second straight year, and in the process became our first two-time All-American in women’s golf.

    Our final record for all sports against Division I competition was 569-250-6, or a 69.3 winning percentage; that was a slight improvement over 2014-15 (an even 67 percent). We are currently ranked 42nd in the Learfield Director’s Cup Standings, with the final ones to come out after the College World Series (all other NCAA championships are complete). Incidentally, Pac-12 schools won 10 national championships this year, twice as many as any other conference (six of our league colleagues are in the Director’s Cup top 13).

    Congratulations are in order for junior Nuria Ormeno Ruiz, who was the recipient of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award for the Mountain Region. The award is given to a student-athlete “who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team, which has enhanced her team’s performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis.”

    And yet another CU student-athlete has earned the privilege of playing overseas this summer, as senior Wesley Gordon will be on the Pac-12’s All-Star Men's Basketball Team which will travel to Melbourne, Australia for a series of cultural experiences and exhibition games against the Australia Men's National Team in July.

    In volleyball, Cierra Simpson was added to the USA Volleyball Collegiate National Training Team, joining teammate Taylor Joachim who named to the squad earlier. That’s four players now on a USAV national training team this summer, or one-fourth of the roster. Gabby Simpson was named to the USAV CNT-Europe tour, while Alexa Smith was selected to the USAV CNT-China program.

    On May 9, two weeks after both houses of Congress approved the bill, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act into law, which declared the bison (or buffalo) as the national mammal of the United States. The bill recognizes the bison for its historical and cultural significance, including the fact that it is the mascot of several athletic teams. The only disappointment with this is that our beloved “Ralphie” was not singled out for mention!

    May 9 also happened to be my 1,000th day as your athletic director; our own Neill Woelk sat down with me and this piece ran on CUBuffs.com if you missed it. We spoke about what we have accomplished and what we’re still looking to improve upon; click the link.

    Our Olympian steeplechasers, Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp, were selected to the Pac-12 Track & Field All-Century team. Though CU was just a fledgling member of the conference at the time they competed, their accomplishments merited membership on the team. Emma then went out two weeks later and set the American record in the steeplechase and hopes to contend for the gold in the Rio Olympics later this summer.

    Speaking of the Olympics, we have several athletes with CU ties competing in the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials, most coached by head coach Mark Wetmore (who once again was named the Pac-12 Cross Country Coach of the Century last fall) and assistant coach Heather Burroughs. Sophomore Erin Clark qualified for the trials when she won the Pac-12 title in the steeplechase, and she’ll join former Buffs Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp in the event. Other former athletes who have qualified include Jenny Barringer Simpson and Sara Sutherland (1,500-meters), Jessica Tebo (5,000) and Sara Gorton Slattery and Laura Thweat (10,000). Those who have qualified on a provisional basis (they’ll know at the end of June) include junior Ben Saarel (1,500) and throws coach Casey Malone (discus), along with former Buffs Aric Van Halen (steeplechase), Emily Hunsucker (hammer throw) and Sara Vaughn (1,500).

    We were fortunate to have two student-athletes (among only 200 selected from across the nation) that participated in the annual NCAA Careers in Sports Forum in Indianapolis earlier this month. Kelsey English (volleyball/track & field) and Lucy May (cross country/track) attended the event, which is designed to help student-athletes begin to chart their career paths, among other opportunities. Read all about their experience here.

    It was good to see former Buff Vincent “Bam Bam” Smith named the new head football coach at Boulder High School. I helped recruit him along with Darian Hagan back in 1987 from Locke High School in Los Angeles and he spent a year with us before transferring closer to home.

    Getting back to our expansion project, most know that we also added the Folsom Street Parking Garage (Lot 391) on the northeast side of the stadium. There are over 550 spaces on the three levels, all of which will be permit parking on game days, with the top level reserved for those who plan on (and reserve sports for) tailgating. With Franklin Field now set for practice use, vehicles no longer will be allowed to park there, but tailgating spaces will be set up all around the perimeter. Our Buff Club staff will be working with those interested on an individual basis to make it a great experience.

    One change that is coming up later this month, sometime during the week of June 27 but by July 1 for certain, and that is a migration of our website, CUBuffs.com, to a new host company, SideArm Sports. It will have an entirely new look and will be a bit easier to navigate in several areas.

    In the coming days and weeks, stay tuned to the website to look for announcements regarding some additions to our future football schedules and the revealing of our 2016 CU Athletic Hall of Fame class. And on July 2 and 3, the first concerts in 15 years will be held at Folsom Field with the appearance of Dead & Company.

    A friendly reminder that if you are a season ticket holder in men’s or women’s basketball, volleyball or soccer, ticket renewals are due today (Friday, June 17). We also are continuing to raise funds for “The Drive to 105,” as we are closing in on $95 million raised for our SEI (Sustainable Excellence Initiative). As always for more information, please visit http://www.cusustainableexcellence.com, and for all ways to support the program, please visit www.cubuffclub.com (or phone the Buff Club at 303-492-2200).

    Our fiscal year comes to an end on June 30, and we will have a balanced budget, with a small surplus, for the second straight year. With that, we’ll all take a bit of a breather in July and come back refreshed as we try to attain some new heights in the 2016-17.

    Have a great summer and go Buffs!

    Collaboration and Unity,


    Rick George
    Athletic Director

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