Feb 082010
 
Authors: Stephen Meyers

CSU Director of Athletics Paul Kowalczyk has signed a five-year contract extension worth almost $1.13 million, university officials announced Monday.

The extension takes effect July 1 and ends June 30, 2015. Kowalczyk will not receive a pay raise to his annual $225,000 base salary.

“We are very pleased Paul has agreed to lead Colorado State athletics for at least another five years,” said CSU President Tony Frank in a press release.

“Paul has accomplished a great deal as AD, and he has clearly proven you can win with class, while focusing foremost on educating student-athletes. He’s a person of character and integrity who represents Ram athletics well on campus, as well as nationally and within the conference.”

Hired in April 2006, Kowalczyk has improved the culture surrounding CSU athletics, Athletic leaders said, starting with the coaching hires in three of the program’s higher profile sports –– Tim Miles for men’s basketball, Steve Fairchild for football and Kristen Holt for women’s basketball.

He also helped convince volleyball coach Tom Hilbert to remain at CSU a year ago after CU-Boulder offered him a job, retaining the most successful coach in CSU volleyball history.

Under Kowalczyk’s leadership, CSU opened two state-of-the-art athletics facilities during the summer of 2009, marking the most extensive athletics facilities campaign at CSU in four decades. The facilities include the 66,267-sqaure-foot Indoor Practice Facility and the new Academic and Training Center.

Kowalczyk attributes the success of his first four years to the people he works with.

“The bottom line is people. We have really good support from the board and the president and donors in the community,” Kowalczyk told the Collegian.

But the accomplishment he’s most proud of thus far?

“Making it through these first four years,” he joked. “But really there are two: changing the culture of the university’s athletic program and putting together a coaching staff I believe will result in an extremely successful and special program.”

Kowalczyk has ambitious goals for the athletic department including a No. 1 ranking in the Director’s Cup, a ranking system that reflects overall program success; an annual Bowl Champion Series appearance by the football team and regular NCAA Tournament participation by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

“If those aren’t your goals as an athletic program, then I shouldn’t be working,” he said.

Kowalczyk said the most important part of building a first-class athletics program is ensuring the athletes succeed in the classroom.

“We have high expectations of success, including the academic success of our student-athletes,” Kowalczyk said. “We are proud of the achievements of our student-athletes in athletic competition and in the classroom and believe these experiences will prepare them well to be successful in life well beyond their time at CSU.”

Sport writer Stephen Meyers can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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