Category Archives: Men’s Sports

Puck Swami’s Rapid Reaction: DU’s Choice of Maine AD Karlton Creech is a “Safe Hire”

The hiring of University of Maine Athletic Director Karlton Creech as DU’s new Vice Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation looks to be a ‘safe’ hire for the University of Denver, likely to build incrementally on the legacy of the retiring Peg Bradley-Doppes, who spent the last 13 years in the position. Creech begins at DU on May 1, 2018.

DU wanted to hire a “sitting” AD and did just that. Creech will inherit a DU athletic program that is flying high as the best non-football athletic department in the country, but still faces many challenges going forward.

In the world of D-I college athletics, a sitting AD moving from Maine to Denver is seen as something of a lateral move. Creech’s stated leadership style is to put athletes and coaches ahead of himself, and that leadership style was likely very attractive to DU, where current athletic leadership also shares that low-key management style. As Creech has been working at state schools for his entire career, he will certainly understand budget restrictions. That said, DU is a richer school (with a $700+ million endowment in 2018, compared to around $300 million for Maine) that does not have some of the location disadvantages that Orono, Maine must cope with as a rural university in a rural state. DU is also a more successful school athletically than Maine, and Creech won’t have to worry about a money-sucking football program here in Denver.

Creech, who joined Maine as AD in 2014 after 10 years in senior athletic positions at the University of North Carolina, checks many of the key sport boxes that Pioneer fans will care about.  Maine has a very proud tradition in men’s ice hockey (that is on the way up again after a period of stagnation), and Creech’s experience at the school that produced current DU hockey coach Jim Montgomery should be a relief for those DU hockey fans who feared DU might select a new Athletic Director who would not understand hockey’s unique primacy and tradition at DU.

Creech also spent 10 years at the University of North Carolina from 2004-2014, which has recent NCAA basketball and lacrosse championships, a fact that will no doubt be attractive to DU fans who wanted an AD who understands basketball and lacrosse at a high level. Peg Bradley-Doppes also spent time at North Carolina, so I am sure that connection will be a helpful bridge in the transition period. Creech also has a major soft spot for the sport of golf, as his wife was a golfer at UNC, and he also avidly plays the sport himself.

Creech earned his bachelor’s degree at North Carolina State University in 1995, and his master’s degree at Liberty University in Virginia in 2014.

While financial terms for Creech’s DU deal were not disclosed, the DU job will likely be a large pay upgrade for Creech, who was on year two of a four-year deal at Maine, where he had a base salary of $183,855 plus a donor-provided yearly supplement of $25,000 for an annual total salary of $208,855.  At DU, Peg Bradley-Doppes earned about $370,000 in salary and other DU income in 2014, according to DU’s most recently available 2014 form 990. We believe Creech signed a five-year deal at DU.

I look at this hire as a good one — perhaps not transformational or game-changing, but certainly one where we can expect competence and progression. The biggest areas of concern I have from a sports perspective are primarily around Maine’s dreadful basketball performance in the 2014-2018 period, when Creech was there.  DU must improve its basketball program and that is where his attention needs to be. I also have some concerns from a marketing perspective, as Creech does not have experience working with schools in large urban markets. If we were expecting the new AD to fill seats here, it will probably not happen with marketing genius or spending, but rather with winning teams and community engagement.

Peg Bradley-Doppes was certainly the best AD DU has ever had, and her shoes are big ones to fill. She has done much of the heavy lifting already in terms of hiring great coaches (her specialty), facilities, team performance, graduation rates and departmental GPA.  DU still has big work to do in terms of future conference affiliation, creating national basketball relevance and gaining more traction in our own city. The athletic department also faces a punishing financial climate in which DU must compete with schools with many more resources.

Finally, Creech will need to deal with a central DU administration under Chancellor Chopp that has been uneven in how it treats athletics. The Chancellor appears to know the benefits of athletics and supports it in her public words.  But in her budgets, in her antipathy toward DU’s mascot (and possibly DU’s nickname as well) and in her treatment of some within DU athletics, it is clear that more work needs to be done. We hope Creech is up for it, and we’re here to support him!

Puck Swami is the Internet moniker of a longtime DU fan and alumnus. He shares his views here periodically at LetsGoDU. Photo Credit: University of Denver

BREAKING: Karlton Creech named DU Athletic Director

Photo:Courtesy of Bangor Daily News

Karlton Creech, Director of Athletics at the University of Maine, has been named as the University of Denver’s new Vice-Chancellor for Athletics and Recreation. Creech will replace Peg Bradley-Doppes, who had already announced her impending retirement in June of 2018, after building the University of Denver into the top non-football athletic department in the nation in the 13 years since her arrival at DU in 2005. Continue reading BREAKING: Karlton Creech named DU Athletic Director

Denver Seniors Lead Pioneers Past Oral Roberts, 66-65

After losing to South Dakota State on February 8, Coach Rodney Billups made it clear that despite having lost two in a row, he felt good about the next four games and thought that Denver could win them all – they’re 3/4 of the way there after today’s 66-65 victory over Oral Roberts. It’s a game that gets Denver to 7-6 in the conference and keeps them in third place behind South Dakota State and South Dakota. It’s been an impressive streak and I asked Coach Billups how his confidence affected the run. “I hope that it’s infectious. We still practice hrd, we play hard, we try different lineups, and our guys believe in each other, which is great to see. But it’s one thing when I’m playing and another when I’m coaching. I hope my atittude and energy help them win games.”

Continue reading Denver Seniors Lead Pioneers Past Oral Roberts, 66-65

Alex Leclerc pitches shutout as Denver’s unbeaten streak against Colorado College ends

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

A night after scoring five goals on one of the most talented goalies in the country, the #2 University of Denver Pioneers couldn’t get a marker past the Colorado College Tigers’ goaltender, Alex Leclerc despite sending 40 shots at him. The Tigers were only able to score once on Denver’s own stalwart goalie Tanner Jaillet, but it was enough and Denver’s unbeaten streak against CC ended at 17 games. Continue reading Alex Leclerc pitches shutout as Denver’s unbeaten streak against Colorado College ends

Pioneers outclass Tigers in Colorado Springs en route to fourth straight Gold Pan

Photo courtesy DU Athletics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The #2 University of Denver Pioneers will hold onto the Gold Pan for at least one more year. Thanks to a dominant 5-1 victory over their archrival, the Colorado College Tigers, at the Broadmoor World Arena, the Pios clinched the trophy that is awarded annually to the winner of the intrastate rivalry for the fourth straight year. This was the first time in years, however, that it took the second series between the Pios and Tigers to determine who took home the trophy. Continue reading Pioneers outclass Tigers in Colorado Springs en route to fourth straight Gold Pan

Denver Hockey Series Preview: Colorado College

Photo courtesy of the Colorado Springs Gazette

The Pioneers are back in action this weekend when they play their final series with rival Colorado College

After a week off from games, the Denver Pioneers are back on the ice this weekend when they play another home-and-home series with the Colorado College Tigers.  Since the Pios last played a couple things have happened.  Troy Terry left to play for Team USA in the Winter Olympics and his teammates have been cheering him on from Colorado.  After watching him play, NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire compared Terry to Milan Hejduk. Continue reading Denver Hockey Series Preview: Colorado College

DU vs. CC: Puck Swami’s Updated Rivalry Primer

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In 2016, DU beat CC 4-1. before 35,000 fans at Coors Field in Denver. Photo: LetsGoDU

Puck Swami, the Internet moniker of a longtime DU fan and alumnus, has previously offered this basic compendium of DU/CC rivalry thoughts back in 2016 and 2017.  He has updated the story here to reflect the current season, as a prelude to this weekend’s Gold Pan series.

The DU vs. CC rivalry is one of the very best athletic rivalries in the state, and one of the top five in the sport of college hockey. This year, the final two games of the series take on increased meaning, as the Pioneers can retain the Gold Pan trophy for the fifth year in a row with a win in either game or two ties this weekend against an improved CC team, which tied the Pios twice back in December of 2017.   Continue reading DU vs. CC: Puck Swami’s Updated Rivalry Primer

When a tie is a ‘win’ – Colorado College has Company

Colorado College tied the University of Denver twice earlier this season (4-4, 1-1) at Magness Arena and the World Arena. Their results, specifically their three-on-three overtime “victory” at Magness Arena, were widely hailed as ‘wins’ by the Colorado Springs faithful – especially after dropping 14 straight to the Pioneers heading into the series.

Video: Jeopardy used to allow for multiple winners with a tie but added a tie-breaker in 2016 to select a single winner to advance to the next show. Continue reading When a tie is a ‘win’ – Colorado College has Company

Rosga and Amigo Lead Denver Past North Dakota State, 66-63

After a close loss to South Dakota State on Thursday, Denver was in desperate need of a home win to keep them in the running for a third place finish in the Summit League. Things looked a little iffy at the beginning, and North Dakota State made a huge run that Denver had to fight off late, but they ended up coming away with a 66-63 victory. This gets them to 5-6 in the Summit League, and depending on the result of tonight’s Fort Wayne/Omaha game, the Pios will either be in third place or a game back in fourth place at the end of the day.

Continue reading Rosga and Amigo Lead Denver Past North Dakota State, 66-63

Denver vs. Air Force: Mutual respect the name of the game in western-most rivalry

Photo courtesy of Denver Athletics

After graduating from Loyola College as a four-year starter on defense, Bill Wilson, a Syracuse, N.Y. native, began his college lacrosse coaching career at Princeton University in 1995 under then head coach Bill Tierney.

15 years later, the former mentor and mentee would find themselves across the field in Colorado, both with their respective western-most programs. Wilson and the No. 17 Air Force Falcons will face Tierney and the No. 4 University of Denver Pioneers on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m., since the program announced that Wilson would be the interim head coach. Continue reading Denver vs. Air Force: Mutual respect the name of the game in western-most rivalry