Sports facilities like Hughes Stadium, the Moby Arena, Jack Christiansen Track, Ram Intramural Fields, Fum McGraw Athletic Center and Harmony Golf Club all depend on the management of one 58-year-old who has spent more than 31 years of his life working for CSUâ€™s athletic department.
â€œItâ€™s been a wonderful treat to be a part of Colorado State,â€ said Doug Max, associate director of athletics in charge of Ram athletic facilities.
The Sioux City, Iowa native moved with his family to Colorado when he was 3 years old. He attended Greeley West High School and received a track scholarship to CSU in 1971. Graduating four years later, he went on to coach the sport at Western Kentucky University while obtaining a masterâ€™s degree.
Max started his career at CSU as head coach of the menâ€™s track team in 1980 â€“â€“ five years after graduating from the school.
â€œ(The track athletes) were two, three years younger than me,â€ he said. â€œI think those young athletes liked having a young coach.â€
He was named associate athletics director by CSUâ€™s famed Fum McGraw after â€œa successful run at directing our track program,â€ said University Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk.
â€œHeâ€™s made a mark here by overseeing some of the biggest changes that athletics has seen in its facilities,â€ Kowalczyk said. â€œWhether itâ€™s overseeing the Hughes stadium renovation, or the indoor practice facility and academic and training center construction, as well as the (Fum McGraw Athletic Center) â€¦ Heâ€™s done a phenomenal job overseeing everything.â€
Defining Max by his managerial skills alone, however, does little to describe who he really is.
â€œItâ€™s the way he handles business,â€ Kowalczyk added. â€œDougâ€™s not a guy to get easily ruffled. Heâ€™s assertive when he needs to be and lets others do their job.â€
Max recalls overseeing various university projects, but ones like the fundraising efforts to create the Jack Christiansen Memorial Track stand out.
Before Christiansen died, the track-in-progress was without a name. Max was there when that changed.
â€œJack Christensen was a great athlete at CSU. After he passed away, Fum McGraw, who was one of his teammates on the Detroit Lions, said you know, we need to look at naming the track,â€ he said.
Max also remembers bearing witness to the creation of the Fum McGraw athletic facility.
â€œIn 1997, we broke ground on the building. It was a highlight when I got to put the shovel in the ground and turn it over right next to him,â€ he said. â€œHereâ€™s a guy who had done so much for CSU …â€
Max stood next to McGraw upon the facilityâ€™s unveiling â€“â€“Â something he described as â€œvery powerful.â€
The building, where Max now has his office, was completed in 1999. McGraw died in 2000.
â€œHe was the most genuine man Iâ€™ve ever met, and he had a true love for Colorado State University,â€ he said. â€I worked for McGraw when he was the universityâ€™s athletics director for nine years, and he was awesome. He had a great understanding of athletics, and thatâ€™s what made him very special.â€
Ask Max what he thinks about CSUâ€™s tuition hikes and the stateâ€™s higher education crisis, and heâ€™ll show you the situationâ€™s silver lining.
â€œThereâ€™s always challenges, weâ€™re in some of our most interesting times in American history,â€ he said. â€œHopefully the state will begin to fund higher education better … But I think (students) should be encouraged and positive that people are trying to make things better for this university and for the right reasons.â€
Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.