Football notes: CU president Mark Kennedy impressed with Buffs coach Mel Tucker

Kennedy: ‘I do believe that sports serve as the front door to the university.’

Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer
CU president Mark Kennedy was a multi-sport letterman in high school and graduated from St. John’s (Minn.) University.
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Mark Kennedy hasn’t been on the job very long, but the new president of the University of Colorado is already impressed with the Buffaloes’ first year head football coach, Mel Tucker.

“I think Mel has shown to be a great face (of the university),” Kennedy said Friday after the 31st annual Boulder Chamber kickoff luncheon at Balch Fieldhouse. “He’s committed to establishing a program that wins, not just a season, but consistently. I’ve been familiar with that type of attitude.”

Kennedy, who started his job with CU in July, was a multi-sport letterman in high school and graduated from St. John’s (Minn.) University, one of the top Division III football program in the country. In fact, St. John’s won a national title during Kennedy’s years at the school.

Kennedy was also a graduate student at Michigan during the Bo Schembechler years and has sent his own children to Michigan and Notre Dame. Prior to CU, Kennedy spent three years as the president of the University of North Dakota, which won a men’s hockey national title shortly after he was hired in 2016.

Kennedy’s history has shown him the importance of athletics to a university.

“I do believe that sports serve as the front door to the university,” he said. “It attracts a lot of (youth) to fall in love with the university and then later on look inside and see the great things we offer from academics and other offerings.”

At CU, Kennedy has been impressed with what he’s seen so far in athletics.

“I toured the facilities and the facilities are first class,” he said. “We have every building block we need to build a consistently good sports program.”

That includes football, and Kennedy said he’s excited for his first year of games at Folsom Field.

“I’m very much looking forward to it,” he said.

Ticket sales update

As of Friday, CU has sold 19,941 season tickets for football, 657 more than the 2018 final number of 19,284.

The Buffs have been sold out of single-game tickets for the Sept. 7 home opener against Nebraska since May, but there are still some tickets available through three-game packages.

Tickets sales for the Rocky Mountain Showdown against Colorado State on Aug. 30 are trending similar to last year, when the Buffs sold close to 27,000 non-student tickets for the game.  CU sold 11,440 student tickets for the Showdown last year and is ahead of that pace this year.

Ready for rivalries

During a media event in Denver on Thursday, Buffs quarterback Steven Montez said the team is looking forward to getting rolling with the season, especially with two rivalry games, against CSU and Nebraska, right out of the gates.

“From (the players’) perspective, it kind of is just another game, in how we prepare for the game,” he said. “We don’t do anything special. We stick to the meat and potatoes and we go about our week exactly how we would go about our week if we were playing anybody else in the nation. But, I understand (the CSU game) is in-state and that brings a little bit more excitement to it. I think it’s going to be a very fun game; it always is.

“I can say the same thing about Nebraska. I get everyone is excited about it. Everyone gets pumped for those games and we’re excited about them, too. We’re ready to go. We’re ready to play.”

Notable

Tucker spoke for several minutes during Friday’s luncheon, giving fans in attendance a preview of the upcoming season. He praised the work that the players and coaching staff have done all offseason to get ready for the year. … The Buffs will take the day off Saturday and start game-week preparations with a practice on Sunday.