After just four years CSU decided it needed new life in its athletic department, starting at the top.
CSU President Tony Frank placed his hopes for rejuvenation in 59-year-old John C. â€œJackâ€ Graham, a former football player for the university and business owner.
â€œI was interested in finding someone who really treasured and valued CSU and was connected to our values and our ethics as an institution,â€ said Frank during a press conference Thursday. â€œI think I found that man in Jack Graham.â€
Graham played quarterback for the Rams from 1973-74 and graduated in 1975 with a degree in U.S. history. He went on to the NFL after getting drafted by the Miami Dolphins before starting a 30-year career in international insurance and reinsurance markets.
He credited his education and time at CSU as a primary reason for his success after college.
â€œI personally got a great education (at CSU), and when I left CSU in 1975, I was well equipped to go into the workforce,â€ Graham said. â€œI have personal experiences that have substantiated just how great an institution Colorado State University is.â€
In 1998, Graham started ICAT Managers involved in catastrophic-risk insurance products and sold the company, including its Lloydâ€™s of London business, in 2010. He remains on the board of directors for ICAT as well as sitting on the advisory board of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Grahamâ€™s background in business instills confidence in Frank that heâ€™s the man to turn CSU athletics around.
â€œIn Jack Graham, we have the perfect combination of dedicated Ram-fan, stand-out athlete and experienced business leader with the skills and business acumen to energize and advance our overall athletics program,â€ Frank said in a statement released by the media relations department.
Graham does have one dirty little secret â€” a secret he was not proud to admit.
â€œI live in Boulder, and I apologize for that,â€ Graham said. â€œI selected Boulder for a variety of reasons, none of which turned out to be very good; I really should have picked Fort Collins.â€
Graham tried his hand at retirement, enjoying mornings with his wife and dog and relaxing in his country home, complete with horses. He even gave golf a go, but the opportunity to return to CSU was too great.
â€œI am so passionate about college athleticsâ€¦and Iâ€™m pretty well versed in it as well,â€ Graham said. â€œIâ€™m really excited by the challenge and opportunity. At 59, Iâ€™m not ready to check out.â€
Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.