Athletic department exceeds national averages, football team ranks 21st in nation
Paul Kowalczyk at a glance...
Bachelor of Business Administration, Accounting; Kent State University; 1980
Master of Arts, Sports Administration; Kent State University; 1986
Athletics Administrative Experience:
2000-06: Southern Illinois University; Director of Athletics
1995-2000: Northwestern University; Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs
1991-95: Northwestern University; Assistant Athletics Director/Business Manager-Finance and Personnel
1988-91: Kansas State University; Assistant Athletics Director for Business Operations
1987-88: Portland State University; Athletics Business Manager
1986-87: Youngstown State University; Assistant to the Athletics Director, Marketing
1985-86: Kent State University; Assistant to the Associate Athletics Director, Fundraising
Born: Feb. 17, 1958
Birthplace: Warren, Ohio
Family: Married to Peg Lynch Kowalczyk
Last name is pronounced kuh-WALL-check
Director of Athletics Paul Kowalczyk has placed Colorado State's program on an ambitious path toward national prominence with his insightful and visionary leadership.
Kowalczyk is in his sixth year leading CSU's program, demonstrating an unmistakable commitment to the university after signing in 2010 a five-year contract extension, through 2015. From the moment he arrived on campus in 2006, he has shown a leadership style that is steady and consistent with ambitious goals clearly established. Under his watchful eye, a foundation has been built to cultivate long-term success throughout the program. With the foundation firmly in place, Colorado State's program stands on the threshold of taking a bold step forward nationally to reach "stretch goals" established by the Board of Governors when Kowalczyk arrived.
Perhaps nothing better illustrates the progress toward prominence that CSU's program has made during Kowalczyk's tenure than the altered skyline surrounding Moby Arena and the McGraw Athletic Center, both of which serve as centerpieces of the athletics department.
During the summer of 2009, CSU opened two state-of-the-art athletics facilities that are visually prominent to any avid Rams fan upon arriving on campus.
A training facility includes an indoor football practice field plus basketball and volleyball practice courts, adjacent to Moby Arena. Also, a new academic and strength and conditioning center is next to the McGraw Athletic Center.
Over the last year-plus, Kowalczyk also has stewarded significant upgrades to Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, including a $2.5 million landscaping initiative following the 2010 season that will make the venue's grounds at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills even more attractive. Additionally in recent years, Kowalczyk oversaw improvements to several CSU team locker rooms, and in fall 2010 spearheaded a $1 million project that furnished Moby Arena with new state-of-the-art video boards. Also in the fall of 2010, the Rams opened a $2 million tennis facility.
The two new buildings, along with upgrades to CSU's stadium, arena and McGraw Athletic Center offices, make CSU's resources among the finest in the nation. Those additions and improvements also have made CSU competitive nationally while enhancing the institution's image across a broad spectrum. The facilities represent one of Kowalczyk's primary goals when he was appointed to his position at CSU. Almost immediately upon his arrival, he worked closely with campus leaders to develop the facilities initiative.
"These buildings show that Colorado State is unmistakably serious about achieving its stretch goals," Kowalczyk said. "Combined with the recent renovations at our football stadium, this puts us where we need to be in terms of offering quality, state-of-the-art facilities for our coaches and student-athletes, those who are here now and those who are thinking about coming here."
The facilities, along with recent contracts he negotiated with Russell Athletic (apparel and uniforms), Under Armour (footwear), and a deal with the University of Colorado to keep the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Invesco Field for the long-term future, also reflect Kowalczyk's commitment to excellence throughout the program.
"Average is simply not good enough," he said. "We must continually find ways to improve every aspect of our program while meeting the needs of our student-athletes and providing resources for our coaches -- not just to compete, but to win, and do it while serving the university, the community and the region."
Soon after Kowalczyk's arrival in Fort Collins, he worked closely with the Board of Governors of the Colorado State University System and the university leadership to set in place a set of "stretch goals." "The support of the board and campus administration, which was there every step of the way, was critical," Kowalczyk said. "We have leadership on this campus that not only recognizes the importance of investing in athletics, but also what a successful athletics department can do for the university."
Colorado State's stretch goals include:
Achieve a No. 1 ranking in the Director's Cup, a ranking system that reflects overall program success;
Annual Bowl Championship Series inclusion;
NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament participation.
While the entire program under Kowalczyk's guidance has moved forward with the completion of the facilities, he readily admits there are more challenges that lie ahead.
"We will never stand still. We will continue to move forward. As a program, we will strive for excellence in every area, just as we challenge our student-athletes in competition and in the classroom.
"Our efforts will always include continually and diligently working to expand our ticket and Ram Club donor base as a means to generate additional revenue and scholarship fund support."
Colorado State's expected emergence nationally has provided followers of the program optimism and excitement.
Kowalczyk brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to Fort Collins when he was named the school's 16th Director of Athletics on April 11, 2006, after having served for six successful years in the same capacity at Southern Illinois University.
In the spring of 2008, he was named to the prestigious NCAA Division I Leadership Council, an advisory body to the Division I Board of Directors. The council identifies issues important to the future of Division I and offers its expertise in defining appropriate action items. Reappointed in June 2010, his current term expires in 2014.
Kowalczyk also remains involved in NCAA, NACDA and MW activities.
During his tenure at SIU, he led the Salukis' emergence into a successful, nationally renowned athletics program, including 15 conference championships in seven sport programs.
Before his tenures at CSU and SIU, he was senior administrator at Northwestern University during a time in which the Wildcats program enjoyed national success. He also served as assistant athletics director for business operations at Kansas State, business manager for athletics at Portland State, and assistant to the associate athletics director at Kent State.
Kowalczyk holds a master's degree in sports administration and a bachelor's of business administration in accounting from Kent State University.
A native of Warren Ohio, Kowalczyk was inducted into the Warren High School Distinguished Hall of Fame. The award recognizes and honors individuals for their achievements and performance. In 2004, he received the National Football Foundation's Gen. Robert R. Neyland Outstanding A.D. Award, and in 2006 was named the Athletic Director of the Year for the Division I-AA Central Division. Kowalczyk in 2010 concluded a four-year term on the NACDA Executive Council, representing District 7. He now sits on the NACDA committee that determines the annual Learfield Director's Cup for overall athletic department excellence.