Colorado at No. 24 WSU
When: Saturday, 8:45 p.m. MST.
Where: Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.
Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM.
The University of Illinois will always hold a special place in the heart of Rick George.
Right now, however, Boulder is where George calls home, and he isn't going anywhere.
Colorado's athletic director for the past 28 months, George has been rumored as a top candidate for the vacant AD job at Illinois, his alma mater.
On Thursday, George told the Daily Camera that he is not interested in leaving CU any time soon.
"I can honestly tell you that I'm planning on being at Colorado as the athletic director for the foreseeable future," George said. "Should Illinois contact me, that would be humbling and flattering, but I would decline because Colorado, and Boulder, is my home for the foreseeable future."
Illinois fired athletic director Mike Thomas on Nov. 9. Since then, there has been plenty of speculation about who would succeed him, and George, a 1982 graduate of Illinois and former Illini football player, was instantly part of the conversation.
For many Illinois fans, George was the top choice.
"I'm flattered by it that my name's been out there and been connected (to the job)," George said. "Obviously, I think it's due to me having played there and having some friends there and people that are pushing my name publicly.
"I've had a love for Illinois since I was a junior and senior in high school, and I played there. (George's wife) Nancy and I have a lot of fond memories of Illinois and I said earlier at one point that was an opportunity that I would have relished.
"But today, I'm happy where I'm at, my family is happy where we are, we're excited about what we're doing and the future and we have no plans to leave."
While George does have strong ties to Illinois, he also has strong ties to Boulder. He has family in Boulder, including his two daughters and a young granddaughter.
"Obviously, they're important to me and having them all together is important to me," George said.
Having unfinished business at CU is important, too.
George was hired by Colorado on July 17, 2013, and in that short time has accomplished plenty.
CU is in the middle of a $156 million project to upgrade the athletics facilities, and he has spearheaded the fundraising efforts for that project. In January, George kicked off the "Drive for $105 million" fundraising goal. As of late last month, $83.1 million of that had been raised.
George said he has no desire to leave an unfinished project.
"It's real important to me (to see it through), and I think it's important for the future of Colorado athletics," he said. "I think it's the most transformational thing we'll do in the next 25 years. We're not done with what we need to do with that facility and the fundraising, and I made a commitment that we would see it through, and we will."
George's contract runs through the summer of 2018, and he said he has not had any discussions with CU president Bruce Benson or chancellor Phil DiStefano about restructuring that deal.
"We shouldn't need to have a discussion about that," George said. "I've got a contract that lasts for 2 ½ more years, and hopefully the president and the chancellor are happy with the direction we're going, and I am. I don't need to have a discussion about my contract right now. The contract that we have in place I think is fair for both of us."
While George will not be moving back to Champaign, Ill., he said he will pay close attention to Illinois' search for a new AD.
"It's important to me, because obviously I want Illinois to be successful," he said. "That's where I went to school. I'm interested in it, but I have no say in it, and I'm hopeful that whomever the next person is that they bring the program to where they want it to be."