Former University of Minnesota Duluth Athletic Director Josh Berlo was officially introduced as the University of Denver’s new AD at a press conference in the Gottesfeld Room at the Ritchie Center Thursday morning. His hire becomes effective July 15th after his nine-year run with the Bulldogs.
Berlo was introduced by Chancellor Jeremy Haefner who cited the incoming AD’s 20-year career in athletics which included time at Notre Dame in event marketing through his rise as Athletic Director at UMD. During his tenure at Duluth, Haefner cited student-athlete achievement in academics as well as athletics success in a multitude of sports by the Bulldogs including their obvious on-ice success in recent years which included two men’s national championships and two women’s Frozen Fours. Finally, Haefner noted the important role fundraising will play in the new AD’s responsibilities in supporting DU athletics going forward.
Berlo spoke briefly, recognizing his family support and local ties to the Denver region. Berlo sees athletics as the ‘front porch’ to the broader Denver community and a rallying point for alumni and friends. He further emphasized the value of athletics in uniting alumni, particularly during NCAA tournaments and championship runs. Ultimately, he believed it was a ‘culture fit’ that drove him to pursue the Denver Athletic Director job.
He has strong connections to the NCHC and noted his work with Josh Fenton, current Summit League Commissioner, in the past. Following the formal presentation, Berlo addressed conference affiliation and noted that DU must continue to work positively within the Summit League. He did, however, emphasize the need to participate in a strong conference that allows the University of Denver to win and be competitively hardened to successfully compete in regional NCAA tournaments in all sports. Reading between the lines, Berlo acknowledged the volatile nature of Division I athletics and values conference flexibility and fit. So maybe, just maybe, Denver will consider a new conference affiliation in the (near?) future.
As we have stated many times before on this site, the elephant in the room is the changing and uncertain financial landscape in this new era of NIL and DI athletics. The cost to play in terms of facilities, conferences and staff is on the rise. Nearly all the dreams and hopes of Pioneer fans reside with the ability of Berlo and his team to identify and secure DU’s next major donors and partners, outside of Dan Ritchie and Joy Burns. That, ultimately, impacts everything for DU athletics, staff, coaches, student-athletes and fans.
For that reason alone, we throw our full support behind Berlo.