March 17, 2015

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) New Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker's resume is filled with stops at the NCAA's Power 5 conferences.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, where he was a three-time All-American swimmer, Parker earned a master's degree from the University of Texas in 1994 while serving as a development manager in the Longhorns' athletic department.

Then, he was director of annual giving at Washington State from 1998-2000 and director of the Sooner Club at Oklahoma from 2000-03. That year, he returned to Michigan to serve as associate A.D. until leaving for Texas Tech in 2011.

He served as deputy athletic director for the Red Raiders the last four years.

Parker begins his new job April 6 and he insisted the Rams not being a Power 5 school isn't a detriment.

''First, it's not a concern. What I've seen, what I've witnessed in my career, the student athlete's experience as long as it's done right, is special at whatever level you are at,'' Parker said Tuesday. ''Within the Power 5 there is a lot of variation in what resources are available to the student athlete's experience. I feel as long as you prioritize correctly, as long as you bring the right people into the organization to have a direct influence on the student athlete's experience, it can be first class regardless of your budget.''

Parker's predecessor, Jack Graham, who was fired by university President Tony Frank in August, said recently that his long-term goal had been to get the Rams into the Big 12 Conference.

Parker said that's ''a good thing to aspire to.''

''You know it's tough to have a crystal ball and naturally pieces have to fall in place to have that occur,'' Parker said. ''I believe in what we are doing here. I believe in the Mountain West Conference. I feel that we should be thrilled to participate and letting our student athletes compete for championships in this league. ...

''I want to stress: We are Mountain West and that's where we belong right now.''

Graham's assistant, John Morris, has been serving as interim A.D. and led the way in the hiring of Mike Bobo as the Rams football coach after Jim McElwain's departure in December. Morris was in the running for the permanent job but instead accepted the A.D. job at Tufts University, where he'll start June 15.

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