Fresno State has hired Jim Bartko as its athletic director, with the university’s president saying the school would announce new sports by the end of the year, the “Fresno Bee” reported Friday.
A potential holiday gift for wrestling fans: at the Friday press conference announcing Bartko’s hiring, California State University, Fresno President Joseph Castro also said that the university would have an announcement on the addition of sports by Christmas.
In the year since he became president, Castro has repeatedly mentioned his desire to reinstate the Bulldog wrestling program at Fresno State, which was axed seven years ago. He first brought up the topic in November 2013, at a news conference marking his first 100 days in office, saying, “I think there is a compelling case that’s being made for wrestling, and I want to make sure that information is all part of the review and the discussions.”
As a special guest at a February 2014 high school dual meet, Castro said, “I’m really intent on reinstating it (wrestling). There are a number of issues to work on internally and with the community to make it happen.” The following month, the president announced the hiring of a sports consultant to analyze the current roster of sports at the school, and investigate the possibility of adding new sports, including wrestling. Castro had said that any decision to add sports would be made after hiring a new athletic director… which has now taken place.
That new AD, Bartko, replaces Thomas Boeh, who was reassigned to a position in the university administration this summer after eight years as head of Fresno State’s athletic department.
The 49-year-old Bartko has 26 years of experience in athletic departments, most of that spent at the University of Oregon, where he was most recently the executive senior associate athletic director, according to the NCAA website. He also worked briefly at the University of California.
According to his job history on his LinkedIn page, Bartko started his professional career at Oregon in January 1989, where he was Senior Associate Athletic Director for 17 ½ years. After a year in the athletic department at UC Berkeley, Bartko returned to Oregon, where he has served as Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director since May 2007.
Bartko is a native of California’s Central Valley, having grown up in Stockton. He went to school at Washington State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sports administration.
“Bartko’s experience in elevating athletic programs set him apart from a deep pool of candidates that included athletics administrators with development and fundraising experience,” the “Fresno Bee” reported Friday. In his time at Oregon, he raised more than $375 million for capital improvements and facilities enhancements. In addition, Bartko developed and implemented the Athletic Legacy Fund, which has created a $140 million endowment, and managed the Duck Athletic Fund, where annual giving increased from $15.3 million in 2008 to $19.3 million in 2011.
Bartko will have a five-year contract worth $290,000 per year, along with performance bonuses. His first day as Fresno State AD will be January 1, 2015. END