Former Fresno State athletics director Jim Bartko, who resigned his position on Nov. 6 citing personal reasons, released a statement through The Bee on Monday thanking the community for its support and its support of Bulldogs’ athletics while shedding little light on his decision to step away after nearly three years on the job.
The statement in full:
“These last few days, while gut wrenching in so many respects, have restored my belief that Fresno is full of solid, decent people who are unconditional in their love of others and their embrace of what’s right.
“To those of you who have reached out – many fans, donors, friends, non-fans, neighbors, and acquaintances – I am so grateful and humbled. My call-outs to people of extreme character and kindness in the Valley would take many pages. I so appreciate not just your support of me, but especially your support of Fresno State Athletics and the progress we have made to make Fresno an even better place without fear that the bar might be too high.
“Fresno deserves to set the highest bar in every part of our community to prove how worthy this place and its people are of greatness. This bar can be raised on an athletic field no matter what the starting blocks, in the stands of any stadium though crumbling, and in the hearts of people who aren’t even regular fans yet want us to compete with all we’ve got. We have set in motion what it takes to raise that bar, and the team at Athletics I’m so regrettably leaving behind has the talent to rise above the challenges in setting and maintaining that bar. That begins with having courage on many fronts.
“I have such a deep heartfelt desire for this Athletic program and for this community to succeed. That is why my departure from Fresno State hurts so much.
“My journey will continue. My story will be told. Between the lines that you read in the newspaper, this is true: I am Jim Bartko, not a perfect man, who loves the mission of Fresno State, loves his family, knows what Athletics can do beyond the scores, and is willing to live in the truth come what may.
“Thank you friends, and Go Dogs.
Bartko, who was hired by university president Joseph Castro in November 2014, took over a department at a difficult time with Bulldog Stadium overdue for a renovation and declining revenue from football ticket sales impacting staffing and the operational budgets of its athletic programs.
The university this year also added two sports in wrestling and women’s water polo, adding to the stresses on the department.
Steve Robertello, deputy director of athletics, was appointed by Castro as interim athletics director. He was co-interim AD in 2014 between the time Thomas Boeh left the program and Bartko was hired. Since, Robertello has handled day-to-day oversight of operations, sport administration and student-athlete services.