FRESNO, Calif. - Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko has abruptly stepped down for personal reasons. It comes amidst a successful football season.
Bartko had a vision for Fresno State's Bulldog Stadium. After being hired, he laid out the renovation plans. Now it's a project he won't be leading.
Harry Markus is what you call bulldog born, bulldog bred. The Fresno State alum and booster rarely misses a game unless he's out of town for Thanksgiving like this season.
"And I'm going to miss the Boise game and I'm going out of my head. There's no way I can get out of it," said Markus.
Nearly three years after being hired, Jim Bartko stepped down as Fresno State's athletic director.
"It's a shocker and I personally am very disappointed but we all know there was some issues going on with him personally," said Markus.
Last year, Bartko checked into a treatment center in Arizona for anxiety and insomnia. Conditions stemming from several years of being sexually abused as a child.
"Once I talked about it, I felt relief. A burden was off my shoulders," said Bartko in an interview in January.
During Bartko's tenure as A.D, progress has been made. Last June, 60 percent of student athletes earned a GPA higher than a 3.0. Bartko reinstated men's wrestling and added women's water polo to Fresno State's D1 sanctioned sports. In two years, Bartko hired head coaches for five different sports. The headliner? Former Fresno State quarterback Jeff Tedford.
"I don't really know him personally but I'm glad he brought in Tedford and he really changed things around," said Fresno State offensive lineman Netane Muti.
With Fresno State football bowl-bound, the buzz is growing. Markus hopes the Bulldog Stadium renovation plan isn't leaving with Bartko.
"The stadium is beginning to crumble in places so we really need it to be done," said Markus.
Fresno State says Bartko received 90 days pay. A standard for CSU managers. He won't be paid more than that since he resigned.