Dec 012011
 
Authors: Cris Tiller

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. “Jack” Graham, a former football player for the university and business owner.

“I was interested in finding someone who really treasured and valued CSU and was connected to our values and our ethics as an institution,” said Frank during a press conference Thursday. “I think I found that man in Jack Graham.”

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.

“I personally got a great education (at CSU), and when I left CSU in 1975, I was well equipped to go into the workforce,” Graham said. “I have personal experiences that have substantiated just how great an institution Colorado State University is.”

In 1998, Graham started ICAT Managers involved in catastrophic-risk insurance products and sold the company, including its Lloyd’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.

Graham’s background in business instills confidence in Frank that he’s the man to turn CSU athletics around.

“In 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,” Frank said in a statement released by the media relations department.

Graham does have one dirty little secret — a secret he was not proud to admit.

“I live in Boulder, and I apologize for that,” Graham said. “I selected Boulder for a variety of reasons, none of which turned out to be very good; I really should have picked Fort Collins.”

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.

“I am so passionate about college athletics…and I’m pretty well versed in it as well,” Graham said. “I’m really excited by the challenge and opportunity. At 59, I’m not ready to check out.”

Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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