Football program under the microscope

Updated: December 1, 2004, 7:40 PM ET
Associated Press

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."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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