Colorado State University

Joe Parker
Director of Athletics

Joe Parker

A proven athletics administrator with experience at some of the nation’s finest collegiate programs, Joe Parker will continue to lead Colorado State’s Athletics Department after signing a five-year extension on July 28, 2022, which will keep him in the role of Director of Athletics through Dec. 31, 2027; he was originally appointed to the position on March 17, 2015 by then-Colorado State University President Dr. Tony Frank.

Under Parker’s leadership, the Rams have won 21 Mountain West championships, including 15 across women’s programs.

Academic excellence has also been at the forefront of the department’s mission under Parker. The department’s Academic Progress Rate reports have risen substantially in Parker’s tenure and have included 40 perfect 1,000 single-year marks and the graduation success rate for student-athletes is higher than the general student body.

In the 2021-22 cycle, the 87 GSR was the highest mark in program history since reporting began in 1998.

Facility improvement and strategic partnerships are a cornerstone of progress at Colorado State, with projects throughout the athletic campus including a $7 million renovation to locker rooms in Moby Arena and the Fueling Station for student-athlete wellness and nutrition. In May 2022, Parker and others ceremonially broke ground on an upcoming facility improvement plan for the soccer and softball programs.

Considerable value has also been created in the strategic partnership space under Parker. In June of 2018, he spearheaded what was at the time the third-largest naming rights deals in college athletics, a $37.7 million agreement with Canvas Credit Union to name the then-unnamed on-campus stadium. An anonymous gift also generated $20 million to name the field at Canvas Stadium in honor of former head coach Sonny Lubick, and a $4.3 million gift was secured from New Belgium Brewing to name the New Belgium Porch at Canvas Stadium.

Inside Canvas Stadium, Parker led the naming level gift agreement with the Orthopaedic and Spine Center of the Rockies for the OCR Field Club, a partnership worth over $4 million. In Moby Arena, a partnership with FNBO led to the creation of the FNBO Loft.

Parker’s team has delivered on the promise that Canvas Stadium would serve as a community asset as the facility is a top destination for non-athletic events in the region. Since its opening, Canvas Stadium hosts approximately 200 non-athletic events a year including proms, conferences, weddings, festivals and professional soccer.

Private support and seat-related giving has been significant under Parker’s leadership with more than $80 million raised throughout his tenure.

Parker has also represented Colorado State on NCAA, Mountain West, and Lead1 committees including the FBS Football Working Group (Lead1) and the NCAA Pathways Program, mentoring up-and-coming athletic administrators. Within the conference, Parker has also served on the Media Rights Committee (2015-20), Joint Council Executive Committee (2016-17), and Recognition Committee (2015-17).

Parker came to Colorado State after having previously served as the deputy athletics director at Texas Tech of the Big 12 Conference since April 2011. He also has served as senior associate athletic director at the University of Michigan (Big 10), the University of Oklahoma (Big 12), Washington State University (Pac-12) and the University of Texas (Big 12).

During Parker’s time as deputy A.D. at Texas Tech he oversaw a Big 12 Conference program with 17 teams and an annual budget of $68.5 million. Under Parker’s leadership in building excitement and engagement among Red Raider fans, the university achieved first-ever sellouts for football season tickets and broke attendance records in football, men’s basketball and baseball. In addition, Parker was involved in all Title IX and Gender Equity issues at Texas Tech. During his tenure as deputy A.D., Parker also led programs to boost the classroom success of student-athletes and led the development and launch of a $185 million fundraising campaign.

At Michigan, highlights of Parker’s eight-year tenure (2003-11) included serving on a four-person team that was responsible for more than $400 million in infrastructure improvements, including the renovation and creation of new revenue opportunities at Michigan Stadium, known as “The Big House.” Parker helped secure $14 million in annual gift revenue and more than $31 million in major gifts to support the stadium renovation project, lauded as one of the premier renovation projects in the country. Parker joined his alma mater in 2003 as associate athletics director for development and was promoted in 2006 to senior associate athletics director for development and corporate relations.

At the University of Texas (1994-98), Washington State (1998-99) and the University of Oklahoma (2000-03), Parker led successful efforts in annual giving, season-ticket sales and premium seating programs, and also was involved in facilities development and renovation projects.

While with the Sooners, Parker provided leadership support for a $120 million capital campaign for athletic facility improvements. Additionally, he designed and implemented a new premium seating program, which funded 70-percent of the $75 million football stadium renovation.

Parker was a three-time All-America swimmer at Michigan, and also became team captain. He earned a gold and bronze medal as a senior in the 1987 World University Games in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Parker earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Michigan, and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. He and his wife, Jen, have two children, Emma and Will, both of whom are graduates of Colorado State.



Following his 2022 extension…
Rick Miranda, Interim President, Colorado State
“Joe Parker places the highest priority on the success of our student athletes – and on building a solid foundation for the long-term success of our programs overall. “CSU Athletics is on a great trajectory, with record numbers of fans in the stands, strong leadership across the department, and students who are thriving academically, personally, and athletically. We’re happy to keep building on that momentum with Joe as Director of Athletics.”

Todd Marksberry, CEO, Canvas Credit Union
“Canvas is so grateful for the partnership with Colorado State University and the opportunity we’ve been given the last four years to help students, faculty, alumni and broader community ‘Afford Life.’ So many people have played a part in the success of our partnership, but none more than Joe Parker. Joe shines as one of the best leaders in collegiate athletics and represents the Colorado State community with heart, passion, and humility. Canvas couldn’t be happier for CSU, Joe, and his family. We’re excited about the impact we’ll create together for years to come.”

Steve Fechheimer, CEO, New Belgium Brewing
“I really enjoy our strong partnership with Joe Parker and the entire CSU athletic department and believe his extension will help the department continue to grow on and off the field.  We are looking forward to many future successes and enjoying some Old Aggies to celebrate.”

Kyle Saunders, Professor of Political Science and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, Colorado State
“Joe Parker, and the leadership team he has assembled, works tirelessly to help our student-athletes excel on and off the field here at Colorado State University. College athletics is in an amazing state of flux right now, with change being a near constant. From our interactions, I know Joe to be an administrator who prioritizes both academic and athletic excellence, and having a learned and steady hand at the helm is good for CSU and its student athletes. I can think of no one I would rather be a partner with in that endeavor moving forward than Joe Parker, and I congratulate him on his extension in his role as Director of Athletics.”

On his initial hiring…
Jeff Long, former Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics, University of Arkansas
“Joe Parker is an outstanding athletics administrator. He possesses the experience, intelligence and concern for the student-athlete that are vital to successfully lead an FBS intercollegiate program today. Having worked at some of the finest academic and athletic institutions, Joe is exceedingly prepared to lead Colorado State University.”

Joe Castiglione, Vice President & Director of Athletics, University of Oklahoma
“I’ve had the great fortune to have first-hand experience working with Joe Parker as part of our athletic program here at Oklahoma and closely following his continued growth in our industry. From his background as a student-athlete to his accomplishments as an administrator, it’s really exciting to see a real life example of preparation meeting opportunity. This is a true success story. Colorado State University has hired a dynamic leader with great skills and impeccable integrity who will build great relationships with stakeholders and collectively create a wonderful environment for student-athlete achievement in the classroom and their athletic endeavors. We are grateful for all of Joe’s contributions to Oklahoma and happy for him, Jennie, and their entire family. We’re confident they will be enthusiastically welcomed and embraced just as they were here. Congratulations to the entire Ram Nation!

Christine Plonsky, Women’s AD/Exec. Sr. Associate A.D., University of Texas
“Colorado State University and college athletics enjoy a positive day as Joe Parker assumes A.D. responsibilities. Joe has been destined for a high profile leadership role, given his administrative experience, fundraising ability and his ever-present vision for excellence. I’ve been honored to work with Joe directly during a period of critical change at Texas. He has a deep appreciation for teamwork and for modeling what a positive student-athlete environment should be. He sets a wonderful example for coaches, staff and student-athletes. People trust Joe, and he inspires others to work better around him. Colorado State is a perfect community for Joe, Jennie and their family. He will be a giving, admired and connected leader for Rams athletics and the University. Our A.D. group in NCAA Division I is thrilled that Joe has received this opportunity.”

Chris Del Conte, athletics director, University of Texas
“CSU today hired the perfect person to lead this program.  Joe has had many opportunities to be an athletic director. I can’t think of anyone more prepared than Joe for this opportunity.  During his stops at Washington State, Texas, Michigan, Oklahoma and Texas Tech, he has not only led as a visionary for building facilities but acquired the knowledge necessary to lead this program in today’s environment.”

DeLoss Dodds, retired athletic director, University of Texas
“Joe did a terrific job at the University of Texas. He is bright, he is people-friendly. He’s got great experience at several different places, and is knowledgeable about the business. Joe has a great family and a terrific wife. CSU is very fortunate to have him as par