LARAMIE — Citing successes in coach hiring, academics and fundraising, University of Wyoming President Richard McGinity has extended the contract of UW Athletics Director Tom Burman by one year, through June 2019.
“From the time Tom was named athletics director in October 2006, Cowboy and Cowgirl athletics have enjoyed some of the most memorable moments in school history,” McGinity says. “He has hired some of the most accomplished head coaches in UW history, and fundraising efforts during his time as athletics director have been unmatched. And I’m particularly impressed with the academic achievements of our student-athletes under his leadership, both on an absolute basis and also relative to other Mountain West Conference institutions where UW is setting a high standard.”
McGinity also commended Burman’s leadership in preparing UW’s athletics programs to remain competitive following expected changes in NCAA regulations regarding student-athlete scholarships and benefits.
“This period of significant change in the national intercollegiate athletics landscape poses serious challenges for all but the most highly funded institutions. Tom’s leadership has been crucial in UW navigating this uncharted territory,” McGinity says. “I’m confident that he has positioned us to achieve at an even higher level on the field, while continuing excellence in the classroom, after all of the expected changes shake out.”
At the conclusion of the 2014 spring semester, UW student-athletes had achieved a combined grade-point average of over 3.0 for the semester and achieved a combined cumulative GPA for their careers above 3.0. UW has about 350 student-athletes.
UW student-athletes continue to set records in the NCAA academic progress rate (APR) with Burman at the helm. At the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year, four sport programs (including football and men’s basketball) saw all-time high APR scores. During the 2013-14 academic year, a total of 108 UW student-athletes earned Academic All-Mountain West Conference honors. In addition, 48 student-athletes earned Mountain West Conference Scholar-Athlete honors.
Burman serves on the NCAA Academic Cabinet as the representative from the Mountain West Conference.
“It is an honor to serve in this role at the University of Wyoming,” Burman says. “I work hard every day to build a program that the people of Wyoming can be proud of. The primary focus for all of our coaches and staff is to support our student-athletes in their goals to become graduates of the University of Wyoming and champions in their respective sports.
“We still have lots of work to do but, with the support we are experiencing from the leadership of the university and state of Wyoming, I feel very confident great things are coming for Poke Nation.”
Among the nationally successful head coaches Burman has hired is his most recent hire, head football Coach Craig Bohl, in December 2013. Bohl led North Dakota State to three consecutive FCS national championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and was named national coach of the year in 2012 and 2013. Bohl also was part of two FBS national championships as an assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska, in 1995 and 1997.
Other nationally successful coaches Burman has hired include head men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt, who was part of two NCAA national championships in 2006 and 2007 as associate head coach at the University of Florida.
Burman hired head wrestling coach Mark Branch, who was part of four NCAA championships as associate head coach at his alma mater, Oklahoma State University (OSU), and won two individual NCAA titles as a competitor at OSU in 1994 and 1997.
Current track and field coach Bryan Berryhill is a fourth UW head coach who has achieved an NCAA national title and was hired by Burman. Berryhill captured individual NCAA national championships in the indoor 1-mile run and outdoor 1,500-meter run in 2001 at Colorado State University.
Memorable moments that have occurred during Burman’s tenure include: the Wyoming football team’s dramatic, double-overtime victory in the 2009 New Mexico Bowl and appearance in the 2011 New Mexico Bowl; the Wyoming Cowgirl basketball team capturing the WNIT championship in 2007; the UW men’s basketball team defeating fifth-ranked San Diego State in 2014; and the Cowboy wrestling team’s success in multiple NCAA tournaments.
Fundraising and season-ticket sales have reached record levels in Burman’s seven-plus years directing the UW Athletics Department. Cowboy Joe Club revenue grew from $2.1 million in 2006 to $4.5 million as of the end of the 2013 fiscal year. Ticket revenue has dramatically grown, including a 63 percent growth in football season ticket revenue since 2007.
Burman has spearheaded more than $50 million in facilities projects, including construction of a new $11 million Indoor Practice Facility; construction of the Wildcatter Stadium Club and Suites addition to War Memorial Stadium; extensive renovations to the east side of War Memorial Stadium; significant upgrades to the UniWyo Sports Complex for volleyball and wrestling; and completion of a new $3 million Indoor Tennis Facility that opened in spring 2011.
In 2012-13, Wyoming Athletics began the third phase of its Athletics Facility Master Plan. As a part of that third phase, fundraising and construction began for a $30 million Arena-Auditorium renovation project. The first phase of the A-A renovation will be completed this fall. Also, in 2014, a new $1.2 million golf practice facility was completed.
Before becoming athletics director at Wyoming, Burman served as an associate athletics director at UW from 1995-2000. His first position at his alma mater was as associate athletics director for development, serving as executive director of the Cowboy Joe Club from 1995-97. From 1997-2000, Burman was Wyoming’s associate athletics director for external affairs. He served as athletics director at Portland State University from September 2000 to March 2006. Burman returned to UW in March 2006 as associate vice president for institutional advancement with the UW Foundation, before being tabbed as the eighth athletics director in UW history in October 2006.
He began his intercollegiate athletics career as director of marketing and promotions (1993-95) at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. Before entering a career in college athletics, Burman worked as a project manager for the sports management company DeWilber and Associates in McLean, Va., from 1990-92.
Burman earned a bachelor of science degree from UW in 1988 and a master’s in business administration from Robert Morris University in Coraopolis, Pa., in 1991.