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The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Former Fresno State athletic director dies at 54

Fresno State Athletic Director Jim Bartko in his office at the Duncan Building on Jan. 26, 2017. (Collegian File Photo)

Jim Bartko, former Fresno State athletics director, died Monday in Eugene, Oregon, during surgery at a hospital, according to The Oregonian

Bartko was 54.

He collapsed during a workout in Eugene, according to reports. Bartko served as the Fresno State athletics director from 2015 to 2017.

During his tenure, Bartko hired former Fresno State football coach Jeff Tedford, brought back the wrestling program and added women’s water polo.­

Bartko resigned in 2017 and then filed a wrongful termination suit in June 2018. He sought $3 million in damages on the basis of defamation, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract.

The university issued a statement that read, “The university has reached a mutual settlement with Mr. Bartko. No further comment will be provided.”

Bartko left Fresno State and returned to the University of Oregon as a senior ambassador in alumni relations in 2018. 

He worked at Oregon from 1989 to 2007 and eventually served as the senior associate athletic director from 2008 to 2014.

Bartko released a book on Feb. 24 entitled “Boy in the Mirror” with co-writer Bob Welch that talks about being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. 

On the book’s website, there’s a statement that further delves on the book’s meaning.

“‘Boy in the Mirror’ is a rare, heartfelt, timely memoir that breaks new ground on a subject that’s shaming such stalwart institutes as the Roman Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America.”

With the launch of the book, Bartko created a scholarship at the University of Oregon College of Education — the Jimmy Bartko Scholarship Fund.

The fund is dedicated to students at the college of education who choose to go into fields such as counseling psychology, couples and family therapy and family and human services, according to the website.

Bartko is survived by his son, A.J., and his daughter, Danielle, according to The Eugene Register-Guard.

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