Tom Burman Named New UW Athletics Director

Oct. 9, 2006


Watch the press conference!

Tom Burman, associate vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Wyoming and former athletics director at Portland State University, has been named UW director of intercollegiate athletics by President Tom Buchanan.

Burman's appointment begins Thursday, Oct. 12. He succeeds Gary Barta, who left during the summer to become athletics director at University of Iowa.

"I'm a Wyoming guy," says Burman. "I grew up in Wyoming, got my undergraduate degree at UW, spent five years in the UW athletics department in development and fund raising, and returned to UW earlier this year to raise funds for the university through the UW Foundation. I care deeply about this university and the success of UW athletics and our student-athletes. We will build a program that wins conference championships and generates enthusiasm across this great state. The future starts now."

Burman, a 40-year-old native of Laramie, served between September 2000 and March 2006 as director of intercollegiate athletics at Portland State University. During that time the six-year graduation rate of PSU student athletes increased from 36 percent to 44 percent, 11 percent higher than the general university rate. Athletics successes included Big Sky Conference championships in men's basketball, women's soccer, softball and three championships in women's golf. Burman also hired coaches who were named conference coach of the year in soccer, golf, volleyball, and softball. Under Burman's leadership, annual giving to the Viking Athletic Fund for scholarships increased by more than 98 percent.

"The University of Wyoming Strategic Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics has two overarching goals. The first is to ensure that we operate our program with absolute integrity, which includes ensuring that our student-athletes earn a first-rate university education. The second is to be competitive in every sport within the Mountain West Conference," says Buchanan.

"Tom Burman is a Wyoming guy, and some UW fans will applaud his selection on this basis alone," says Buchanan. "That's not why I hired Tom. Of the five outstanding finalists for this position, Tom was clearly the best person for this position right now. "The University of Wyoming is poised for greatness in intercollegiate athletics, just as we are poised for academic greatness. Thanks to the vision of our political and institutional leaders - and the good fortune of high energy prices - we have the money, the facilities, and the people we need to be competitive," says Buchanan. "Now, with the hiring of Tom Burman, I believe we are ready to climb to the top of the Mountain West Conference. As athletics director at Portland State, he turned around an underachieving program in a matter of a few years."

Burman earned a bachelor of science degree from UW in 1988 and an M.B.A. in sports marketing and management from Robert Morris University, Coraopolis, Pa. From 1990-92, he worked as a project manager for the sports management company, DeWilber & Associates in McLean, Va., and from 1992-93 as regional events director for Triple Crown Sports in Ft. Collins, Colo.

He began his intercollegiate athletics career as director of marketing and promotions (1993-95) at the University of Idaho in Moscow, returning to UW in 1995 as associate athletics director for development, serving as executive director of the Cowboy Joe Club. In 1997, Burman was named UW associate athletics director for external affairs, helping, among other accomplishments, to raise funds for construction of the Rochelle Athletics Center. Burman became director of intercollegiate athletics at Portland State in 2000, returning to UW in March 2006 as associate vice president of institutional advancement.

Buchanan announced a four-year package for Burman, with a base salary of $160,000, a housing allowance, and a courtesy car. A comprehensive set of academic, athletic, marketing, and private fundraising incentives could allow Burman to earn an additional $50,000 in compensation. The contract also provides for a tiered "buy out" clause should Burman wish to leave Wyoming prior to the end of the contract period.