Dec. 1, 2011
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FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Colorado State University today announced that John C. "Jack" Graham, a successful business leader and former Rams quarterback, will be the university's new athletic director. He replaces Paul Kowalczyk, who was removed after CSU President Tony Frank decided to make a change in athletics leadership.
"In Jack Graham, we have the perfect combination of dedicated Ram fan, stand-out athlete and experienced business leader with the skills and business acumen to energize and advance our overall athletics program," Frank said. "I am excited about the enthusiasm he will generate among our students, coaches, alumni, donors and fans. He brings high standards, high expectations and a passion for winning that is infectious."
CSU's athletics department supports nearly 400 student-athletes competing in 16 varsity sports, including football, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, track and field, tennis and water polo.
Graham, who played quarterback for the Rams from 1973-74, will take on the duties of athletic director effective immediately. His first major initiative will be to conduct a thorough evaluation of all athletic programs and to engage with donors and supporters about their goals for CSU athletics.
Graham graduated from CSU in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in U.S. history. After playing football for CSU, he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins. He went on to a successful 30-year career in the international insurance and reinsurance markets, where he was known as an innovator and effective leader. In 1998, he founded ICAT Managers, a leader in catastrophic risk insurance products. He sold ICAT, including its Lloyd's of London business, in 2010 and remains on the company's board of directors. Graham also sits on the advisory board of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
"We have the same expectations for excellence in our sports program that we have for all areas of the university," Frank said. "With Jack's leadership, I see no reason why CSU athletics cannot and should not compete at the highest level. To get there, we have to dream big, work hard and settle for nothing less than excellence."
"Athletics play a critical role at CSU," Graham said. "Our teams can and should be leaders in defining our university's traditions, and they can be catalysts that unite our students and community. I am honored to return to CSU and believe our success in athletics can and will send a signal about the overall quality of CSU's leadership, our standards and our talent. We are committed to winning while maintaining the highest level of integrity and student success."
Kowalczyk joined CSU in 2006. During his tenure, CSU's athletic program continued to reflect the broader university's priorities of academic excellence and integrity. CSU is one of 17 universities nationally never to have had a major NCAA violation, and the institution's student-athlete graduation rate exceeds that of CSU's general student population.
"Paul has brought high standards, integrity and immense commitment to the Rams athletic program, and we're very grateful to him for his service and leadership during his years at Colorado State," Frank said.