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Rick George pressing all the right buttons at Colorado

Ryan Koenigsberg Avatar
July 15, 2015

 

Saturday, Septermber 7th, 2013, one week removed from a 41-27 victory over Colorado State, it’s Rick George’s first true home game as the Athletic Director of the University of Colorado.

I’m sitting with family and friends at my parents tailgate party, I usually stop by before heading up to the press-box, there’s better food there (Not to say I don’t usually get some more food when I do get to the press-box). Anyway, we’re talking about the CSU game, and my stepdad blurts out his usual, “Don’t care that we won, glad I wasn’t there, can’t stand the stadium, can’t stand the Denver PD forcing us out five minutes after the game, can’t stand it. I’ll never go back to another game at that stadium.” He finishes his rant, chomps off a bite of his hot link, and washes it down with a Red Stripe.

Just then none other than Colorado’s new athletic director walks into our area.

“Mind if I grab a seat,” he asks.

The group obliges, of course.

“I couldn’t help but overhear you all talking about the CSU game in Denver,” he begins.

“Yeah, it’s a heap of BS,” my stepdad throws in, potentially not even knowing who he was talking to, his eyes on the grill.

“I’ve gotta say,” George told. “I’ve only been here a couple months, but that is the number one complaint I have heard from fans… I just want to let you guys know, I’m going to take care of that.”

The conversation went on for a few minutes more, but that was the part that stuck with me. I remember thinking, ‘Well that was a lot more refreshing than Mike Bohn walking around Franklin Field spitting out clichés like “It’s a great day to be a Buff!'”

At the time I took the actual statement with a grain of salt, I had associated athletic directors with politicians, but it was still a nice gesture from George.

Then the dominoes started to fall, new facilities break ground, beer, George tells CSU they’ll play the series on his terms or none at all, beer, massive facility actually sprouts out of the ground, brick campaign, rooftop deck… with beer. Now it’s become obvious, this guy gets it, he’s not a politician, he’s a business man.

The news today that Colorado and Air Force have agreed the renew their football series on the gridiron is just another bullet point on a long list of Rick George simply listening to the people that spend their hard earned money to support the athletic department he is in charge of.

Colorado fans have been wanting to renew this old rivalry for quite some time now. The Air Force Academy is right down the road, they have a cool stadium with a nice atmosphere, and the two fan bases seemingly have a mutual respect for each other. George just did what he always does, listened and acted. Was he also taking a slight jab at CSU? We’ll never know for sure, but the fans certainly don’t mind that possibility either.

CU’s AD, who was named to the job nearly two years ago today, has been able to find a great balance of listening to the fans when it also benefits the department finically. Remember when everyone was upset because he wasn’t going to send the “C-Unit” to Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament with the basketball team? He quelled that rage by submitting a balanced budget and showing fans that he knows where the finances need to be focused right now.

Sure it’s nice that the fans get what they want, but it’s even better when that turns directly into dollar signs. You don’t think there’s going to be a full house at Folsom Field on September, 12, 2020, when the Buffs play the Falcons for the first time since the 70’s? You don’t think the Buffs make more money playing a game at Folsom Field than they do in Denver? You don’t think beer, something, something, money?

This is all simply broken down into a nice equation:

Rick George finds better, cooler ways to take fans money (strong schedules, rooftops, beer, etc) = Happy fans = Happy fans straight up hand George more of their money = Better facilities, amenities = Success on the field = Even happier fans = Fans spend and give more money.

That’s right, Rick George has nearly reached God status in the eyes of Colorado fans by simply finding better ways to take their money, and the fans are completely aware of that.

It makes no sense, and all the sense at the same time.

What definitely makes sense is that Rick George has been an absolute home run hire for Colorado, and the benefits have only just begun to show.

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