CSU athletic director Joe Parker signs five-year extension, school announces

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Joe Parker’s stay in Fort Collins just got extended.

The Colorado State athletic director signed a five-year extension to remain as the school’s top athletic administrator through 2027, CSU interim president Rick Miranda announced Thursday morning. Terms of the agreement were not immediately released.

“Joe Parker places the highest priority on the success of our student athletes – and on building a solid foundation for the long-term success of our programs overall,” Miranda said in a news release announcing the extension. “CSU Athletics is on a great trajectory, with record numbers of fans in the stands, strong leadership across the department, and students who are thriving academically, personally, and athletically. We’re happy to keep building on that momentum with Joe as Director of Athletics.”

Parker will soon begin his eighth season leading the CSU athletic department in 2022-23 — a tenure that’s been marked by 21 Mountain West championships, including a conference-best 15 for the women’s programs, and academic excellence. There have also been multiple allegations of abuse made against former staffers.

“I would like to thank the Board of Governors, Chancellor Tony Frank, and Interim President Miranda for their continued trust in me leading this department,” Parker said in the release. “We are at a pivotal moment in college athletics, and I believe Colorado State Athletics is poised to play a significant part in the future of the development of student-athletes. We serve a world-class University, provide an incredible college experience, and strive to have a championship culture in everything we do. I could not be more energized and excited to continue to work alongside the fantastic student-athletes, coaches, and support staff we have assembled here in Fort Collins.”

The Rams have claimed the second-most Mountain West conference titles while Parker has served as AD. Yet none of those have come in the school’s two largest revenue sports — football and men’s basketball.

While the latter ended a nine-year NCAA Tournament drought last March as part of a 25-6 season, the former has gone through two coaching changes in the past three years. The first was the hiring of Steve Addazio following a coaching search that saw Addazio’s former boss Urban Meyer serve as a consultant. The second came when the CSU hired Jay Norvell to replace Addazio after back-to-back losing seasons (4-12 overall).

In addition to head-scratching losses and press conferences, Addazio’s brief stint as CSU football coach was  tainted by allegations of coronavirus protocol violations, as well as abusive and racist behavior from staff.

The Kansas City law firm of Husch Blackwell investigated those allegations, coming from mostly anonymous sources in reports from ESPN and the Fort Collins Coloradoan, and issued a report that largely absolved Addazio of most of the accusations.

This was not the only controversy to arise during Parker’s time as head of athletics.

Larry Eustachy’s six years as Rams men’s basketball coach was marked by accusations of abusive behavior toward players and staff, culminating with his resignation in February 2018. He was replaced by current coach Niko Medved, who’s successfully turned around the program since, posting three consecutive seasons of 20-plus wins and last year’s NCAA Tournament trip.

The story will be updated.

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