The end of another eventful year in sports in Boulder County is nearly here. We've covered hundreds of games, races, events and changes from preps to pros in the pages of our newspapers and on our websites in 2013.

Joy and heartbreak and sometimes both have flowed through those stories and it has been our pleasure to share them with you in the most complete, accurate and fair way possible. We hope we have met that standard in your eyes this year and we'll strive to do even better in the year to come.

We won't attempt to rank the most significant sports stories of the year in terms of importance, but when we think of 2013, we'll remember the year for these sports stories.

Colorado hired Rick George  as its athletic director in July, two months after firing Mike Bohn.
Colorado hired Rick George as its athletic director in July, two months after firing Mike Bohn. (Michael Wilson/Special to the Times)

Mike Bohn fired - The biggest surprise of the year at the University of Colorado was the decision to fire former athletic director Mike Bohn in May. Bohn, who grew up in Boulder and worked in Folsom Field selling soft drinks as a boy, served the school as athletic director for eight years.

Opinions varied on his success or lack thereof. CU fans were frustrated by his inability to get the football program turned around and his coaching hires. His bosses ultimately lost patience when the department fell more than $20 million in debt.

Bohn might have finally found the right football coach when he hired Mike MacIntyre who won four games in his first season. He seemed to leave most of the other programs in good shape as you will see.

Rick George hired - George was officially hired to replace Bohn in July. The fact that CU officials were targeting George might have been the worst kept secret of the year. George left his role as president of business operations with the Texas Rangers to return to Boulder where he had served as director of football operations under former coach Bill McCartney in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Wide receiver Paul Richardson  announced he is leaving Colorado early to enter the NFL draft.
Wide receiver Paul Richardson announced he is leaving Colorado early to enter the NFL draft. (Jeremy Papasso)

George became the highest paid administrator in the history of the entire CU system when he agreed to a contract that pays him more than $700,000 a year with incentives for more. His first day was Aug. 12.

Facilities plan approved - George's first big success was receiving approval from the Board of Regents in early December for his plan for $143 million in athletics facilities upgrades around Folsom Field with construction set to begin as soon as George raises the first $47 million. George says he believes shovels could be in the ground as soon as next summer and he hopes the improvements will be mostly completed by the beginning of the fall semester 2015.

Bill McCartney enshrined - The coach who led the Buffs to their only national championship on the gridiron in 1990 was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in May and inducted earlier this month. It was a bittersweet achievement for McCartney because his wife, Lyndi, died in mid-March.

McCartney remains the winningest coach in CU football history and maintains ties with the program through his relationship with MacIntyre and his two grandsons. One is a graduate assistant and the other will be a redshirt freshman defensive lineman next season.

Fairview comes oh so close - The Knights advanced to the Class 5A state championship game in football for the first time since 2002, but didn't have quite enough firepower to overcome Valor Christian, a private school in Highlands Ranch.

Quarterback Anders Hill and wide receiver Sam Martin helped the Knights average 45 points a game and pass for nearly 4,000 yards.

Prep team success - Boulder County is filled with competitive high school programs in all sports. So it's no surprise that some of those teams occasionally win state titles and some even win several championships in a row such as the Monarch girls cross country team winning its third straight in Class 5A and the Peak to Peak girls soccer team winning its second straight 3A championship.

Other notable team championships came from Broomfield in 4A boy's cross country, Holy Family in 3A girl's basketball and in baseball, Lyons in 2A track and boy's cross country and Niwot in 4A girl's track. 

Notable prep individual performers - It would be hard to top the overall body of work produced in 2013 by Niwot's Elise Cranny. She won three individual state titles in track in the spring while leading her team to the team title.

It was a fitting end to a special spring in which Cranny broke a 22-year-old state record in the 1,600-meter run formerly held by Boulder's Melody Fairchild. Cranny ran it in 4 minutes, 47.56 seconds at the Boulder County Invitational.

Cranny went on to capture her second straight 4A cross country title this fall setting a new 3.2 mile course record by more than 8 seconds. She finished in 18:07.8.

Broomfield's Phil Downing also had an impressive year winning his third consecutive state title in wrestling at 145 pounds and helping deliver a third state title for Broomfield as a team.

CU skiers notch another title - The Buffs won their 19th national championship in skiing in March, the seventh under head coach Richard Rokos. It was the seventh co-ed national title for the program to go along with one women's title and 11 from the men.

CU men's cross country wins national title - Coach Mark Wetmore was named national Coach of the Year in men's cross country after guiding the CU men's team to its fourth national title. Along with two women's titles, Wetmore has produced six national championships in cross country in his time leading the program.

Ben Saarel, Morgan Pearson, Blake Theroux and Pierce Murphy earned All-America honors for finishing in the top 40. It was the second All-America honor for Theroux.

CU basketball wins but loses in Tucson - Perhaps the most controversial moment in Boulder sports in 2013 came on the third day of the year when the CU men's basketball team was robbed of a win on the road at No. 3 Arizona.

CU senior Sabatino Chen made a 3-point shot in the final second that should have given the Buffs a victory but officials waived it off saying the ball was still in Chen's hand as time expired. The Buffs lost in overtime.

Tourney time - The CU men's and women's basketball teams made it to the NCAA Tournament in the same season for the first time since 2003. Tad Boyle's men's team lost in the first round to Illinois and Linda Lappe's women's team also bowed out early as a No. 5 seed, losing on its home floor to 12th-seeded Kansas in the first round.

CU volleyball and soccer rise - CU volleyball advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and produced an 18-14 overall record under coach Liz Kritza. It is the most wins in volleyball for the Buffs since 2003 when the program won 21 times.

Not to be outdone, the women's soccer program returned to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history before losing to No. 3 Florida State. The Buffs finished 14-7-2, just the fifth time they have won at least 14 games.

Turning pro - CU said goodbye to former standouts Andre Roberson and Paul Richardson a year earlier than planned. Roberson opted to head to the NBA instead of returning for his senior season. It worked out well for him. He became a first-round draft pick and has been earning playing time with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Richardson established numerous receiving records for the CU football team this fall and decided to declare for the NFL draft in April.

We'll find out if Richardson made the right choice at some point in 2014. We're also expecting another strong year from many of the people and teams listed here and others who are not. Maybe 2014 will be the year the CU football program finally gets back to a bowl game.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.

Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at or