Four months into his tenure as CSU’s athletic director, Mark
Driscoll still needs time to settle in.
The state budget crisis, possible Mountain West Conference
expansion and picking a new varsity sport for CSU are just a few of
the issues Driscoll has already had to face in his first year on
He also has the pressure of continuing to get big donations
despite the downturn in the nationwide economy. In May, Pat
Stryker, president of the Bohemian Foundation, a non-profit
community organization, gave the department a $15.2 million
donation to improve football facilities, the largest donation in
Even though Driscoll knew he would face many challenges as AD
and had a good job as president of First National Bank, he did not
hesitate in taking the job.
“To say I’m excited is an understatement,” Driscoll said in a
release after being named the AD on Aug. 8. “To be able to come
back to my alma mater — and to use some of the knowledge and
skills I’ve acquired over the years in the business community to
serve the athletic program — is the opportunity of a
But if reviews by his peers and predecessors are any indication,
he could have a long and successful tenure atop a rising athletic
“I think Mark Driscoll is going to be the next Fum McGraw for
CSU,” said Jeff Hathaway, AD at the University of Connecticut and
Driscoll’s predecessor at CSU.
Driscoll will have a long way to go to reach the status of
McGraw, who was AD at CSU from 1976 to 1986 and a legendary
football player. The McGraw Athletic Center, which was constructed
in 1997, is named in his honor.
But like McGraw, Driscoll has been a lifelong member and
supporter of the CSU and Fort Collins communities. Formerly the
president of Fort Collins-based First National Bank, Driscoll led
the nation in passing as a quarterback for the Rams in 1974 and
earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from CSU.
For a program that has had six different ADs since 1991,
Driscoll said he hopes to bring stability and stay for the long
“The institution is bigger than any individual,” Driscoll said.
“I want CSU to be a national powerhouse in every one of our
The biggest decision he has made since becoming AD was adding
women’s water polo as the school’s 16th varsity sport. The NCAA
mandated that all schools with Division I-A football teams have 16
varsity sports by Aug. 1, 2004.
Driscoll said he chose water polo primarily because it would
have the least financial impact on the department and other sports.
Facilities would not have to be changed, CSU’s women’s swimming and
diving coach John Mattos will double as water polo coach and some
students on swimming scholarships could also play on the water polo
However, CSU will have to get a waiver to play matches at Moby
Pool because it is not regulation size. Many were surprised
Driscoll did not pick a sport that is played more in Colorado, like
“We were very shocked to hear that women’s water polo was
chosen,” said Sara Colorosa, a club sports coordinator, on Oct.
“I’ve been working in club sports for a few years now and I
always expected (the next varsity sport) to be women’s soccer.
Although it is a great change and a new avenue for the sport as
well, we are all just pretty shocked. Ultimately flabbergasted and
Coaches and players under Driscoll certainly think he is the
right man for the job.
“He’s an amazing man,” said Ben Stratton, a sophomore cornerback
for the football team. “We’re going to do some great things with
him as our leader I think.”
While Driscoll is still adjusting to certain parts of the job,
he said he should be pretty well off when it comes to fundraising.
As a prominent businessman in Fort Collins with his past
connections to CSU, Driscoll said finding the donations won’t be as
hard as it would be for someone who came from out of town.
“I really know the (donors) already,” Driscoll said.
Head football coach Sonny Lubick said he is excited about the
Driscoll’s prospects but warned it’s going to take some time.
“It’s just a matter of him figuring out where the funds are and
what we do have to make sure all the programs are going forward and
not staying in the status quo,” Lubick said.