Dec 082011
Authors: Matt Miller

Amid concerns about the lack of student and faculty involvement in the hiring of CSU’s new Athletic Director Jack Graham, President Tony Frank said all blame, good or bad, lands on him.

“You only have yourself to look at in the mirror,” Frank said of his hiring of Graham without the use of a search committee. Last week, Frank hired Graham, a CSU alumnus with no experience in the field, after considering no other candidates for the position.

“When hiring someone without a search committee, you need to be really comfortable with that person,” Frank said.

A search committee normally consists of a group of university administrators, along with faculty members and students who help to choose from applicants for the position.

The hiring process of Graham began about three weeks before CSU announced his position as the new athletic director, Frank said. Graham had been approached to donate money to the $4.5 million Moby renovation.

Graham then scheduled a meeting with Frank where he voiced concerns about the Moby project not looking toward the bigger picture. In this meeting, Graham also brought up his interest in raising money for a $100 million on-campus football stadium.

After the conversation, Frank said he realized Graham had the qualities needed to be CSU’s athletic director.

“If I had laid the same sort of algorithm in front of a search committee, he would have been a very competitive candidate,” Frank said.

Frank said even though hiring without a search committee happens the minority of the time, it’s more common with an athletic director hire.

“It doesn’t seem strange to me in any way shape or form,” Graham said of the hiring process. “One of the most difficult things to find in business…is strong talent and strong leadership. When you see that kind of talent, you tend to work very, very hard to recruit it into your institution.”

However, other universities in Colorado have approached the hiring process differently in the past.

When the University of Colorado needed a new athletic director in 2004, the process took about five months, said university spokesman Bronson Hilliard. Their interim athletic director was named on Nov. 30, 2004, and on Dec. 9 a search committee of students and faculty was formed. On April 13, 2005 a new athletic director had been found.

University of Northern Colorado Spokesman Nate Haas described a similar process.

According to Haas, the last time UNC had an athletic director opening a hiring committee conducted a national search.

He added that although all universities function differently, directly appointing deans and administrators at UNC is uncommon.

“With the exception of a former provost who was appointed to an interim role before eventually being promoted, we have not had any direct appointments for positions of deans and above in the past 10 years,” Haas said.

At Boise State University, where a new athletic director was announced last week, a national search committee was also used, said Director of Communication Frank Zang.

Zang said the search took a total of three months, and the new athletic director will start the first week of January 2012.

Former CSU Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk was hired April 11, 2006 by a 14-member board that included two students and one athlete. The search for Kowalczyk lasted about three months. He was chosen from 60 to 100 candidates.

“I think the athletic director position should have been handled like any other high-profile position at CSU and should have involved students,” said ASCSU Director of Student Services Tim Brogdon.

He said students and faculty have been involved with finding a new chancellor and new deans.

“That’s how the university has always done it and that’s how it should be done,” Brogdon said. “We’re the university’s customers. We’re pretty big shareholders in what goes on.”

_News Editor Matt Miller can be reached at

Sports Editor Cris Tiller contributed to this report._

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