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Football program under the microscope

12/1/2004 - Colorado Buffaloes

BOULDER, Colo. -- Colorado's interim athletic director says
he will review the struggles of the school's troubled football team
but probably won't make any major decisions regarding its future.

Jack Lengyel, a former Navy athletic director who has recently
taken short-term work for many troubled athletic departments, took
over Wednesday for longtime AD Dick Tharp.

Tharp's last day was Tuesday after he resigned under pressure.

Lengyel is expected to keep the job for about six months, at
$16,000 a month, while Colorado searches for a permanent AD.
Lengyel, who just bought a house in Phoenix, said he is not a
candidate for the job.

And while he said he "probably wouldn't make a significant
contribution other than an observer" to the football program, he
did add a disclaimer.

"I will not be a caretaker AD," he said. "I intend to make
decisions, move forward, do what's necessary, affect change where
possible and where necessary."

A selection committee represented by faculty, the academics
policy board, the athletics department and students will be formed
shortly to help find a permanent replacement for Tharp.

"We are looking at a committee of between seven and 10 people
and we will be hiring a consultant," provost Phil DiStefano said.

The most noted consultant in these kind of searches is
Boulder-based Neinas Sports Services.

While the search progresses, Lengyel said he looks forward to
facing the challenges ahead for Colorado.

In addition to the sex and recruiting scandal that contributed
to Tharp's departure, just last week, the school reported possible
violations to the NCAA in connection with a small booster club that
bought equipment for the athletic department without being audited
under university auspices.

CU must also soon decide whether to extend coach Gary Barnett's
contract. Barnett has two years left on the deal. He has led the
Buffs to the Big 12 title game this season and on Tuesday was named
Associated Press Coach of the Year by a panel of writers.

"I intend to ... start to develop the cultural change and the
trust and the confidence that's necessary to turn the program back
to where it was when we hit these bumps in the road," Lengyel
said. "And hopefully affect a smooth handoff or transition to the
new athletic director."