BOULDER—Headlined by head coaches Tad Boyle and Jon Embree, the University of Colorado spent two days earlier this week visiting sponsors and donors in the Denver area, taking some special time to mix, mingle and lunch with some key constituents in two days packed full of private tours and meet and greets.
After a reception and lunch at the Denver Country Club, the caravan headed west to Golden were the Buffs were hosted to a VIP tour at the Coors Brewery.
Tuesday was chalk full of action, with four key stops for the staff, beginning with a trip to downtown Denver to visit the President’s Office where CU President Bruce Benson provided the building’s staff with breakfast. Coaches Boyle and Embree both spoke to the crowd and answered questions.
Boyle specifically thanked Bohn and CU’s administration, President Benson and Chancellor Phil DiStefano in particular, for the support shown the men’s basketball team’s run through March.
“There’s no tomorrow that time of year,” Boyle said. “And you cannot win championships and you cannot have success without an administration that is supportive of what you do.”
Embree had a similar message for the group, saying the football team has had the best year on record in the history of CU football in the classroom, and it couldn’t happen without the personnel in the room supporting all aspects of athletics.
The two marquee coaches answered questions and both mentioned the other’s success as a key component to landing the recruits needed to win in the Pac-12, including the advantages of being able to tell recruits in the Pac-12 footprint they can return home at least once a year.
“Last year we got Spencer Dinwiddie and Askia Booker out of L.A.,” Boyle said. “This year we signed two more. If we were in the Big 12, we maybe would not have landed all four of those players.”
“We signed 10 guys out of California,” Embree added. “We anticipate signing at least another half-dozen in this next class. It’s big for the guys in L.A. to be able to tell them we’ll be back once a year playing either UCLA or USC.”
CU’s two-time national champion mascot Chip was also in attendance and CU’s two coaches, Bohn and President Benson all posed for photos with all the staff in the building and it allowed the system employees to get some one-on-one time with the coaches and staff.
Afterwards, it was on to the Cherry Hills Country Club, where it was lunch with current and perspective donors before heading out near the airport for a stop a the Frontier Airlines headquarters. With no formal speeches given, the staff posed with photos and mingled with the Frontier staff.
The day-and-a-half worth events concluded with a visit to Ball Corporation in Broomfield. Currently there are more than 60 CU donors who work for Ball and inside one of the company’s board rooms, Embree opened first talking about the Buffs accomplishing their goal last year of ending the road losing streak, even if it did take until the final opportunity doing so at Utah.
“And now that we did that, we can talk about going to a bowl game,” Embree said. “We’re looking forward to this season. We’re going to be a young team, we had a great recruiting class. We’re excited to get them all in. We’ll have talent, but it will be a little young. We’ll have more speed, it may go left when it’s supposed to go right, but it will go fast. As we continue to build this program, we’ll get the right kids in here.”
Embree then introduced Boyle and commended his team for winning the Pac-12 Championship after being picked 11th in the preseason and going against the likes of historic powerhouses like UCLA and Arizona.
“It was great having the basketball team going on a run in March,” Embree said. “It was great seeing our guys after spring practice run up the hill to make sure they got to watch all the games.”
Boyle talked about comparisons with the Buffs and Ball Corporation.
“What we do and where we work, we live in a great part of the United States, a great community,” he said. “What makes Boulder unique, somewhat like the Ball Corporation, we draw from a lot of communities for our fan base.
“One of the things we want to do is make Boulder a destination spot for college entertainment, whether it’s a college football game on a Saturday afternoon at Folsom Field or a Coors Events Center in the winter, or one of our other sports that competes,” Boyle continued. “Our women’s golf team, I’m so proud of what they did this weekend, going from ninth place to fourth place in one day, all five players under par, it says a lot of what Anne Kelly is all about and the program she has built. It’s not just about football and basketball; it’s about the entire organization. Like you’ve been able to build at Ball, the team that’s together here, there are a lot of moving parts.”
Boyle then talked about his team’s outlook for next year, and like the football Buffs the basketball version will be young and Boyle said the starting line-up could consist of one junior, two sophomores and two freshmen.
“We are the University of Colorado, we are the flagship University of this state,” Boyle concluded. “One thing we talk to our players a lot is who we represent and who we represent them. To me we represent this entire state. Ball Corporation is a flagship corporation in this state, and we respect you for that. We’re all in this together, we’re all Buffs, we have a great partnership going, and I just want to keep this train going.”