05/30/2013 08:00 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mike Bohn: 'I Don't Know Why' CU-Boulder Wants New Athletic Director


BROOMFIELD -- The most successful fundraising athletic director in the history of the University of Colorado is no longer the athletic director because his bosses weren't happy with his fundraising and financial management of the department.

That picture has emerged over the past two days as each side held press conferences to address Mike Bohn's forced resignation Tuesday after eight years in the job.

It was Bohn's turn Thursday at the Omni Interlocken Hotel where he stood at a podium on a small stage with his family and other supporters in attendance and outlined his track record still using terms such as "we" and "us" in reference to both the past and future at the school.

"I will say this," Bohn said. "They have the right to pick who their athletic director is and I respect that. I built a solid foundation based on strong guiding principles. Again, I'm very proud of how we run a clean program and a bold vision for competitiveness in the Pac-12 Conference.

"I met virtually every expectation of all my incentives for eight years straight. I gave it my all. I carried the ball forward. The program is positioned well for a bright future. My heart knows the honest and passionate commitment that we have made."

He was introduced by former CU Regent Pete Steinhauer who served on the board and the CU search committee eight years ago when Bohn was hired. In an interview afterward, Steinhauer stopped short of saying the school had made a mistake by parting ways with Bohn but he said he didn't understand the decision.

In a seven-page handout Bohn provided, he detailed his accomplishments as CU's fifth full-time AD. He read from the handout for more than 20 minutes before taking questions.

Bohn, who recently became a grandfather, said he was never given a concrete answer for why Chancellor Phil DiStefano decided to change athletic directors but he did say that DiStefano mentioned wanting to increase fundraising by the department.

"I had no idea this was coming," Bohn said. "I was never informed there was an issue."

Among his fundraising highlights:

Six donations of $1 million or more.

Making the athletic department the No. 1 fundraising unit on the Boulder campus.

Successful implementation of the first donor seating program in history in basketball.

Creation of the Buff Club Cabinet, a group of 68 donors who give a minimum of $25,000 annually to the department.

Increasing corporate sponsorships to record levels of $4.1 million, including the largest sponsorship in history of nearly $1 million.

"I'm very proud of the fundraising efforts I was able to put together," Bohn said.

Bohn, who grew up in Boulder and at one time sold concessions in the stands during games, said he is proud of his complete track record.

"I am extremely proud as a Boulderite to know what we accomplished," Bohn said. "And when I say we, we're talking about all the people who helped us put it together."

A day earlier DiStefano noted he wanted to take the department to new levels of fundraising and run the program more like a business. Bohn clearly responded to that comment at one point Thursday when he said, "Lots of people talking about business," Bohn said. "Well. We do run this as a business, and I want you to know that from Day One we recognized we needed some help there. ... We've been working at this a long time."

Bohn said his department had a balanced budget for the first six years of his tenure but it fell short on the revenue side last year because of the move from the Big 12 Conference to the Pac-12.

He said the department fell short on the revenue side and failed to balance its budget again this year because of a $2.6 million shortfall in football ticket revenue caused by a 1-11 season in which the Buffs were blown out of most of their games. He said the fact that the Pac-12 Network is not yet profitable and won't distribute revenue to any of the conference schools this year or next year also contributed to the department's revenue shortfalls.

Bohn said the department is expected to come up short of its revenue goals again next year mostly because there won't be a distribution from the Pac-12 Network once again. Startup costs for the network and an inability to sign a deal with DirecTV has slowed the expected growth of the network's revenues.

"We knew it was going to be a two-year tough window and campus knew that," Bohn said.

Bohn said he does not believe there was one CU administrator and major donor who wanted to see him ousted from his job.

Bohn was asked if he was ever given any fundraising goals by university leaders that he could measure his performance against. He said there were no specific revenue goals in his initial contract, which was extended twice in his tenure.

"I believe I excelled there," he said. "And the new donors we brought in, the ones we have in the queue and the progress we were making there, I'll put record up against any of the previous athletic directors in the program. The fundraising culture at Colorado is a challenge and I feel like we were scratching at that and changing that."

Not long after Bohn's press conference ended, CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard issued a statement.

"The University leadership has always been appreciative of Mike Bohn's many contributions to CU athletics and to the CU-Boulder campus," Hilliard said. "The chancellor acknowledged those contributions in his media appearance on Wednesday. We wish Mike all the best, and we're focused now on moving ahead on our fundraising and organizational goals for intercollegiate athletics."

Follow Kyle on Twitter: @KyleRingo ___