Citing continued and improving success by student athletes in both competition and in the classroom, as well as high staff morale and unprecedented revenue results, Colorado State University today announced it has signed Joe Parker to a new five-year contract as Director of Athletics.
“Joe has done a terrific job of focusing on building an environment where our student athletes are able to compete and win the right way, while always remembering they are students first,” said Tony Frank, president of Colorado State University. “At the same time, he has built a sense of shared commitment to excellence and to the university community among the coaches, staff and student athletes. The multiple successes in athletics have been driven by Joe’s thoughtful and focused leadership. The atmosphere Joe creates produces impressive results for the university to be proud of.”
Frank cited a series of successes that prompted a new five-year contract for Parker:
Student athlete success in the classroom
CSU’s student athlete graduation rate of 65 percent matches the university’s overall graduation rate, and is three points higher than the average of athletes across the Mountain West Conference, and a full nine percentage points higher than the average graduation rate of all students in the MWC. These graduation figures place CSU athletes second out of all schools in the Mountain West, and higher than peer institutions such as Iowa State, Kansas State, Tennessee and Washington State
As part of this ongoing academic success, in 2016-17 a record number of Rams – 152 – earned Academic All-MW recognition for achieving a grade-point average of 3.0 or better and competing in at least 50 percent of the team’s varsity contests during the year.
Rams’ success on the field
CSU’s impressive three-year winning percentage of 74.63 among the four revenue sports ranks third in the nation, surpassing storied programs including Stanford, North Carolina, Duke and Ohio State. Since 2015 the Rams have posted 250 wins and only 85 losses when combining results of football, volleyball, and men’s and women’s basketball.
The Rams were represented in 10 NCAA postseason competitions in 2016-17, and 13 of the 16 CSU athletic programs wrapped up their year in postseason events.
CSU’s volleyball and women’s basketball programs both went undefeated in their 18 Mountain West contests during the 2015-16 academic year, making CSU just the fourth school in NCAA history to have dual undefeated conference seasons – a first in school history. In addition, the CSU football team has qualified for its third, fourth and fifth consecutive bowl games since Parker’s hire, and the Rams have claimed 10 total MW championships from April 2015 to December 2017 under his leadership.
Opening of new on-campus stadium
Parker oversaw the completion and opening of CSU’s new 41,000-capacity on-campus stadium to rave reviews among the fans and media. Its financial performance has exceeded even the most optimistic revenue projections.
Premium seating including suites, loge boxes, and indoor and outdoor club areas sold out 11 months before the team’s first game in the new facility. As excitement built, inaugural season ticket sales reached an all-time record of 15,500. The naming of Sonny Lubick Field, thanks to a $20 million gift, allowed the continuation of honoring one of CSU’s all-time coaching greats.
The new stadium also includes premium amenities found at no other college venue, such as the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies Field Club and the New Belgium Porch, which both sold out for the inaugural season. Parker’s success building on successful partnerships with prominent Fort Collins companies demonstrates the newly strengthened connections between the university and the community, and the great enthusiasm for partnering with Colorado State and investing in its future.
In addition, Parker is overseeing the effort to renovate and overhaul existing facilities inside Moby Arena – including locker room renovations for several of the University’s 16 intercollegiate sport teams – as well as repurposing space inside the McGraw Center for the athletic department staff.
Significantly improved deals with Under Armour and multimedia partner Learfield
During his tenure, Parker has renegotiated and significantly improved Colorado State’s multi-year agreement with Under Armour, worth more than $11 million, to be CSU’s official apparel provider through 2021. This negotiation not only brought in the highest-ever revenue total for the university, the deal also calls for Under Armor to provide uniforms, shoes and equipment, saving the university as much as $1 million annually. All told, the new Under Armor deal is valued at $10 million more than the previous contract. Parker also signed an enhanced long-term multimedia rights partnership with Learfield which, along with the Under Armour deal, positions Colorado State for continued growth in its profile and stature nationally.
Compensation consistent with other top-performing ADs
Under the new five-year agreement, which runs through Dec. 31, 2022, Parker will earn a base salary of $400,000, an increase of $50,000, while other terms of the agreement remain the same. His compensation, consistent with other top-performing athletics directors, is the third highest in the Mountain West and in the top quarter among the Group of 5 institutions.
“Joe Parker leads with humility while striving for excellence every single day. His leadership in helping to make the new stadium a reality was a key reason for the success of that important project,” said Rico Munn, chair of the CSU System Board of Governors. “As a board, we couldn’t be more pleased with the success and the genuine leadership Joe Parker brings to all aspects of athletics at CSU and to our community, and we are excited to see him continue building on this outstanding momentum.”
“Colorado State University is a special place and it is very gratifying to have the confidence of President Frank and the Board of Governors,” Parker said. “We have a great team of professionals in our athletics department, and together we are setting an ambitious course to support our students in the classroom and in competition, and we are seeing great results. As we look to the future, we have the right foundation, the right institutional support, the right coaches and a fantastic group of students competing on behalf of CSU. We’re excited about what is ahead, and are optimistic the future is bright.”