Borman said this year presented developments that led to some difficult conversations with donors. The football team started 5-0 and was in the top five for the first time since the 2007 season, but then lost five straight games and was blown out in the Pinstripe Bowl. The basketball team stumbled early, lost to a 20-loss team in the Big 12 Tournament and finished 13-19.
Football and men's basketball make up the core of the annual giving fund.
"We get out to see donors face-to-face," Borman said. "When they call, we answer the call and we talk to them about whatever they want to talk about. We address any situation they want to talk about. We have to take those things head on to build those relationships. Yes, there are difficult conversations, but that doesn't mean we don't have them.
"It doesn't matter which conversation it is. It matters that they have a steady voice to talk to in the MAC. That's the goal and I think that's why we have those relationships that keep our core donors and why we're able to maintain that 5,200 number every year."
Down seasons, missed or undesirable postseason opportunities and the like are common to fundraisers. Borman said what happened to the teams at WVU this past year were things the Mountaineers had been able to avoid for a while.
Borman and his staff can manage that. Donors can understand that these things happen. They can be directed to worse seasons and longer postseason droughts at other schools and be assured the Mountaineers are on their way to figuring out the Big 12 and getting back to where they once were.
WVU has faced other obstacles this year, though. There has been bad publicity about finances, expenses, debt, salaries, raises and alleged actions about how employees and associates have done business related to the athletic department.
Last week, West Virginia Radio Corp. filed a lawsuit against 10 defendants, including the WVU Foundation, the WVU Board of Governors and Chairperson Drew Payne, WVU President Jim Clements and WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck. It focuses on the re-bid multimedia rights contract, but also alleges questionable actions by the Foundation and the BOG.
These problems aren't as easy to massage. Financial concerns aren't unique, but they can worry people who are asked to donate. Conduct is another issue that can be hard to explain or to make others understand, especially in the absence of defenses.
"I think the best way I can address that is to say we have gone through some challenges in the past few months with some questions our donors might have had for us in regard to some things going on publicly," Borman said. "The way we addressed them on a daily basis - and we have addressed them on a daily basis - is to be honest and to communicate with the donors as much as we can.
"They have questions about what's going on and we do not dodge them. We answer them, but we trust what the individual leadership positions at this university are doing and we're making sure our donors trust them. And that's based on the relationships we've built with them."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.