The Colorado Daily
Coach MacIntyre “in tears” watching former team win bowl game
From the San Jose Mercury News … Mike MacIntyre said he was in tears as he watched from home on television as San Jose State captured its 11th win Thursday by beating Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.
“It was just awesome, it really was,” MacIntyre, who left the Spartans on Dec. 10 to take over as coach at Colorado, said in a phone interview with this newspaper.
“When we won it, I was in tears, and so was my wife. We were all jumping around. From where we came from, who would’ve thought we’d be the best Division I team in San Jose State history.”
Leaving San Jose State wasn’t easy for MacIntyre, whose paycheck was quadrupled by the move to Colorado. He wants to push for a change to NCAA policy that would prohibit coaching changes from happening until after the season.
He watched this game feeling every bit as though it was a team he still was a part of. “I’m just so proud to be associated with them,” MacIntyre said.
The players still feel connected to MacIntyre for the work he did in rebuilding this program to reach this point.
“Coach Mac is the driving force of this success we’ve been having,” senior tight end Ryan Otten said. “We know that he did a great job. He established a culture here. But we know what it’s like to win now, what it takes to win now, and we proved today that we can do it even without him here. I think that’s good for the program going forward.”
Some of the players spoke to MacIntyre by phone from the locker room before the game, and the performance also was a way to speak to their former coach. “I think that was a good way to send Coach Mac a message that he trained us well,” junior defensive back Bené Benwikere said.
No 24 San Jose State takes down Bowling Green in Military Bowl, 29-20
Question: When would Colorado football fans care about a midweek, midday bowl game being played in the cold and rain of Washington D.C. between a MAC team and a WAC team?
Answer: When the WAC’s team’s coach has been named the new head coach at Colorado.
No. 24 San Jose State is taking on Bowling Green from the MAC in the Military Bowl being played in Washington. The game is being played in the cold and rain, before a crowd which can best be described as “Spartan”.
San Jose State got off to a fast start, with a quick scoring drive early in the first quarter which had the Buff Nation salavating. The Spartans needed only four plays to cover 79 yards, with completions of 14 and 29 yards setting up a 33-yard touchdown pass from David Fales to Kyle Nunn. The rout was on with ten minutes still to be played in the first quarter.
But then … nothing from the San Jose State offense. While Bowling Green managed two field goals – the second coming on a short field after a blocked punt – the San Jose State offense went into a pattern with which CU fans are already familiar – three drives; eight total yards; three punts without earning a first down.
Just before the half, though, San Jose State did put together a drive of sorts, with two long pass completions – one for 35 yards; the other for 16 – constituting all of the offense on a field goal drive.
The Spartans took a 10-6 lead into halftime, but didn’t look particularly good getting there. In the first two quarters, San Jose State had 184 yards passing … but minus-eight yards rushing (and that was without quarterback David Fales being sacked even once).
Halftime score: No. 24 San Jose State 10, Bowling Green 6
The third quarter did not begin auspiciously for San Jose State, as Spartan quarterback David Fales was sacked on SJSU’s third play from scimmage, with Fales fumbling the ball back to Bowling Green. The Falcons then scored on the next play on an eight yard run to take their first lead of the game, 13-10.
The San Jose State special teams then contributed for the first time in the game, blocking a punt for a safety midway through the third quarter to pull the Spartans to within point at 13-12. San Jose State then went on a six-play, 62-yard drive (with only one rushing attempt), with Fales hitting wide receiver Chandler Jones for a 17-yard touchdown and a 19-13 SJSU lead.
San Jose State carried the six-point edge into the fourth quarter with an interesting stat line … over 300 yards passing … and minus-24 yards rushing.
An eight-play, 68-yard drive by Bowling Green to start the fourth quarter gave the Falcons back the lead at 20-19 with 10:26 to play. Then it was San Jose State’s turn, with the Spartans’ offense responding with a 68-yard drive of their own (with two rushes for a minus-12 yards included), capped by a 27-yard field goal with 4:43 to play. San Jose State 22, Bowling Green 20.
A fumble on a sack gave the ball right back to San Jose State, which took care of the remaining 24 yards in five plays (four rushes) to put the game on ice.
Final Score: No. 24 San Jose State 29, Bowling Green 20
The win was sweet for the remaining coaches and players on the San Jose State team, which won 11 games in a season for the first time since the Depression.
For Colorado fans, there was glass half-full stats, and glass half-empty stats to review.
The San Jose State defense played well, giving up only 260 yards of total offense, with ten of Bowling Green’s points coming on drives which did not even have to produce a first down in order for the Falcons to score. On offense, the passing game for San Jose State shone, racking up 395 yards through the air.
On the negative side of the ledger, there were the minus-17 yards rushing on the day posted by the San Jose State offense – and it wasn’t due to sacks. Quarterback David Foles was sacked only once, for a loss of ten yards, so the remaining rushers for the Spartans had 22 carries for a total of minus-seven yards. Plus, San Jose State’s special teams play was, to put it mildly, poor, with a blocked punt, short punts, and long kickoff returns surrendered.
Still, when a team like Colorado is coming off of a one-win season, any win looks good … especially when it caps an 11-2 season.
Four Reasons to Watch Military Bowl
From Bill Connelly of SB Nation …
1. Quality. Bowling Green’s offense aside, these teams bring a lot of true quality to the table in this one, and we should expect a rather well-played game overall. San Jose State’s offense and defense are each Top 50 units, and aside from a breakdown against Kent State (31 points, 425 yards), the Bowling Green defense was dominant over the final eight games of the season (last eight games minus Kent State: 210 yards and 7.7 points per game). Kent state did find room to run, but since Toledo did the deed on September 15, only one team has thrown for more than 230 yards against this defense. Then again, this defense hasn’t seen a pass offense this good since, well, the Toledo game.
2. Active defenses. Again, both of these defenses take risks, make a lot of tackles for loss and sacks, and they get their hands on a lot of passes. That could mean a lot of momentum-turning plays on each side of the ball. And that’s fun.
3. To see what might become of Colorado. Mike MacIntyre didn’t appear to be Colorado’s first choice, but he might have been the best one. The Buffaloes hired MacIntyre away from San Jose State in December, and it was an inspired choice considering a) the rebuilding job he faces in Boulder and b) the rebuilding job he just completed in San Jose. In 2009-2010 — not that long ago, obviously — the Spartans went just 3-22. They ranked 116th in the F/+ rankings in 2009 (Dick Tomey’s final year) and 109th in 2010 (MacIntyre’s first year) but improved to 85th in 2011 and, stunningly, 32nd this season. They reached the Top 25 for the first time since 1975, two years after fielding a mostly dreadful squad. This was a complete program turnaround, and it didn’t take MacIntyre long at all. Now he faces the exact same task, in a tougher conference. But now’s a good chance to get a look at the program he leaves behind. It is interesting, fast and rather deep.
4. Bonus football. Bonus football! And pretty colors, too!
3 Key Factors
1. “David Fales back to pass…” It’s strength versus strength when San Jose State tries to pass the ball. This may be the best pass offense Bowling Green has faced this year, but it is also the best pass defense SJSU has faced since Utah State brought Fales down 13 times. If SJSU averages better than, say, 8-9 yards per pass attempt, I can’t imagine Bowling Green will have enough offense to keep up.
2. “Second-and-long for Bowling Green…” If the Falcons want to win, they absolutely, positively have to get yards on first down and avoid passing downs. BGSU ranks 100th in the country on passing downs; Chris Gallon and Shuan Joplin are certainly big-play threats on all downs, but they have averaged just 6.3 yards per target on passing downs, with a dreadful 49 percent catch rate. Second-and-long for BGSU will pretty quickly turn into third-and-long … which will turn into “San Jose State’s ball in good field position.”
3. The hangover. You never quite know what to expect from a bowl team playing under an interim coach. Defensive coordinator Kent Baer takes over for this game before handing the reins to newly hired former University of San Diego coach Ron Caragher, and while that could mean a “Win it for Coach!” mentality, it could also mean sloppiness and a general funk. If the good version of San Jose State shows up, it should be far superior to its opponent in this one. But that is a pretty big if at this point.
Early Pac-12 television revenue already spoken for
Not that this is really news, but the numbers are interesting … CU can’t start spending money on facilities from Pac-12 revenues in the near future, simply because the money has already been spent.
From the Daily Camera … Significant facilities upgrades in and around Folsom Field will remain just a dream unless the University of Colorado athletic department receives an unprecedented increase in donations from fans and boosters.
The Daily Camera has learned through recent interviews with school and athletic department officials that the idea of paying for facilities upgrades with Pac-12 television revenue is not possible because the money is already spent.
Contributing to facilities upgrades could become possible down the road if the Pac-12 Network begins to generate a significant amount of revenue for each school, but that possibility is likely still several years away at the earliest and could be further away depending on the level of investment the conference requires in developing the network.
“Until the Pac-12 Network starts distributing funds, it’s very difficult for us to get into too many more specifics associated with what other opportunities we have to invest until we know how much that specifically is,” athletic director Mike Bohn said. “I think it’s very clear our donor base and contributions are going to be critical in helping us address our facility plan and improvements to capital initiatives that are important.”
Colorado will receive its first significant distribution from the Pac-12 in June when it is scheduled to receive $18.3 million in revenue from the league’s media rights contract with ESPN and FOX. That total will increase by 5.1 percent per year over the next 11 years until the contract expires.
The $18.3 million equates to roughly 33 percent of the athletic department budget, and it’s important to note that its not an increase of $18.3 million. In the past when it was a member of the Big 12 Conference, CU received approximately $9.5 million in conference distributions. So it is really only receiving about $9 million in additional revenue this year than it used to receive in its former conference.
However, the department has added significant expenses recently that have eaten away all that additional $9 million.
One of those expenses is repaying $22 million the department owes the school and the CU System. The vast majority of that debt — about $16 million — is from shortfalls the department experienced in the transition from the Big 12 Conference to the Pac-12 over the past two years.
It cost CU approximately $7 million to leave the Big 12 and the department received only $3.4 million in its first year in the Pac-12 because the media rights deal covering all 12 schools hadn’t started.
The school and the CU System made up the difference for the athletic department in the two transition years so that the department could continue to function normally. The school and the system also chipped in $3 million each that doesn’t need to be repaid.
The rest of the $22 million is roughly $6 million in coaching buyouts to Gary Barnett and Dan Hawkins as well as a portion of the $7 million video boards installed in Folsom Field last summer.
“We really have utilized the Pac-12 revenues as they exist today for operations and will be continuing to use them for operations,” said Frances Draper, vice chancellor for strategic relations. “So if they grow down the road we might be able to use some portion of that recognizing that it only produces so much financing. So what it really means is as we look at facilities, we are very dependent on donor support to be able to do that.”
There are other expenses the department has added recently that also have consumed portions of the Pac-12 TV money. Those additional expenses include:
Increasing the total salary pool of the football coaching staff by approximately $2.5 million.
Investments in basketball facilities and infrastructure and coaching salaries
Adding a women’s lacrosse program to solve proportionality problems under Title IX laws
Bolstering sports medicine, strength and conditioning, sports information, compliance, academic support staffs with new personnel.
Payments on $22 million owed to the school and the CU System that will be paid off in 2019.
“The university is definitely standing behind the athletic department,” Draper said. “We’ve had our ups and downs and we really feel like we have them worked through to the point where we have a good system and we’ve brought in a great new coach and we’ve got very strong academic support. So we’ve got all the pieces to build this going forward. At times the university has to back up the department and the department has been very good about meeting its obligations.”
Fresno State falls in Aloha Bowl
The Buffs’ three 2013 non-conference opponents are now done for the season. Colorado State ended its 4-8 season the weekend before Thanksgiving. Central Arkansas concluded its 9-3 season with a first-round playoff loss to Georgia Southern.
And now Fresno State, after an Aloha Bowl loss to SMU, is putting away its gear after a 9-4 campaign …
From the Fresno Bee … This is what Hawaiians would call pupuka:
Not the type of national exposure Fresno State was hoping for while looking sloppy and horrible during a 43-10 football loss to Southern Methodist in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Monday night before an announced crowd of 30,024.
Fresno State lost its fourth straight bowl and this one was more humiliating than any of the others as SMU never trailed and hardly was threatened.
Mountain West deal with CBS may allow conference to become most lucrative non-BCS conference
From CBSSportsline.com … The Mountain West has reached an agreement to restructure its television deal with CBS, multiple conference sources told CBSSports.com. The deal could allow the conference to become the dominant non-BCS league going forward in the playoff era.
That would put the future of the Big East football schools as a conference in further question and force Big East linchpin Boise State to make almost an immediate choice on its conference future.
The new deal does not lengthen the agreement — which expires with the 2015-16 academic year — but allows the MWC more leeway in earning power. CBS will continue as the primary rightsholder and have priority picks but the Mountain West will have the right to sell packages of games to two additional networks. The number of priority picks is not known. After that, the new rightsholder and CBS will alternate picks when selecting games.
The games could be licensed to the likes of NBC Sports Network, Fox, Turner and ESPN.
“The conference is as stable as it’s ever been in terms of conference membership,” a conference source said.
Boise State clearly now has to make a decision where its football future lies. The MWC is now a known quantity through the 2015 football season while Boise is due to join the Big East on July 1. CBSSports.com reported earlier that the Big East football schools left after the Catholic 7 split off may be worth only $40 million per year. The 10-team MWC has three years left on a deal with CBS that pays it $12 million per season. The potential of the new restructuring was not immediately known Friday night.
CBSSports.com reported Thursday that the Big East had reached out to UNLV and Fresno State. However, it seems the Mountain West has kept its 10 teams in the fold. Now the next move is Boise’s. The Broncos play in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday against Washington. There were indications Friday that Boise State president Bob Kustra may make a statement before then on Boise’s future.
If Boise decided to re-commit to the MWC, it would trigger a membership clause to renegotiate new rights fees but probably wouldn’t change the games-selection structure. The MWC will be able to syndicate games via a regional network, a practice common in other leagues, and will also launch a digital network.
Boise announced it was joining the Big East in 2013 based on projections of $8 million-$10 million per year in revenue. That figure proved to be inflated and forces Boise into a quick decision. The MWC already has decided on the football schedule it will submit to television partners in January.
The MWC restructuring was a result of CBS shutting down the The Mtn. Network. The conference-centric network shut down on May 31. The restructuring apparently is a “make good” to the conference after the network folded, according to a source.
Clay Norgard tweets: “Officially back on defense”
Red-shirt freshman Clay Norgard, who spent this past fall working at fullback, may be back at linebacker this spring.
The 6’1″, 240-pound member of the Recruiting Class of 2012 was the No. 4 fullback prospect in the nation last spring, but the move to defense would not really be a major shift for Norgard. Heading into his senior year at Mountain Vista in Highlands Ranch, Norgard was named to the Butkus Award watch list. The high school Butkus Award, an award similar to the college version, is given each year to the nation’s outstanding high school linebacker.
His senior season at Mountain Vista, Norgard was a versatile player. “I started out at middle linebacker then I got moved to outside linebacker and then casually I got moved closer and closer to the ball playing tackle and nose guard,” Norgard told BuffStampede.com last November. “I moved around a lot. I think I ended up playing like six positions this year.”
Norgard was credited with a team-high 69 tackles and three sacks in his senior season. Mountain Vista won four games before losing to Mullen in the first round of the 5A state playoffs.
Norgard was the Buffs’ first verbal commitment from the Class of 2012. His father Erik Norgrad was an all-conference offensive center at CU in the mid-80’s before he enjoyed an 11-year career in the NFL.
CU bowl prospects in 2013: “Very unlikely”
From ESPN … Non-bowl primer: COLORADO
What went wrong this season? You can start in the preseason when Colorado’s top offensive threat, wide receiver Paul Richardson, was lost for the year with a knee injury. That’s just one of several thousand things that went wrong. Inefficient quarterback play (combined with a healthy dose of rotating quarterbacks), combined with a bunch of young starters, combined with an inability to run the ball, combined with the inability to stop anyone on defense all led to the firing of head coach Jon Embree after just two seasons at the helm. But hey, Will Oliver was 28-of-28 on PATs. Other than that (and punting) the Buffs were near or at the bottom of virtually every statistical category in the league.
Low point: When there are so many to choose from, that’s not a good thing. It started badly with a loss to Colorado State, then snowballed in a loss to FCS Sacramento State. There were embarrasing losses to Fresno State, Oregon, USC and Stanford. In fact, while the Buffs struggled, other teams flourished. Robert Woods and Matt Barkley both set records in their game against the Buffs. Ka’Deem Carey had a record-setting 366 yards against Colorado. De’Anthony Thomas decided it was better to run backwards 20 yards before returning a punt 72 yards. Need a helmet sticker? Play Colorado. Take your pick on low points, you can’t go wrong.
How can it get fixed? For starters, all of those true and redshirt freshmen who were making their debuts are a year older, wiser and they’ll be stronger. That’s a good start. We saw with Oregon State that a youthful squad one year can be a nine-win team the next. Not saying that will happen with Colorado (and don’t get your hopes up, because it won’t) but the experience will certainly pay off. Hiring Mike MacIntyre, who has a history of rebuilding and strong roots as a defensive-minded coach, is also a good start. The administration appears to be making a financial commitment to MacIntyre and the program — something they didn’t do with Embree.
Bowling in 2013? Very unlikely. They miss Stanford, but they also miss Washington State — the only team they beat in 2012. They trade Central Arkansas for Sacramento State, but are on the road at ASU, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington and are home to Arizona, Cal, Oregon and USC. They may beat Colorado State next year and Central Arkansas and maybe even Fresno State — but finding three more wins in the conference doesn’t seem likely. MacIntyre needed a couple of years to get a 1-11 San Jose State into a bowl game. Expect similar growing pains in Boulder.
“Sustainable Excellence Fund” established for Folsom Field renovations
I know there has been some discussion about making donations earmarked for Folsom Field renovations. Those who have checked at the cubuffs.com website, looking to make a targeted donation, found only the “Excellence Fund”, which is a general fund for scholarships.
Just to let you know … as of today, there is a new option at the Buff Club site. It’s referenced as “Sustainable Excellence Fund”, which is a specific area for donations for Folsom Field renovation.
When other ducks are in a row (hopefully this spring …?), there will be a more public campaign to raise money for capital projects, but for now, if you would like to show your support for upgrading Folsom Field, and want to make a donation specifically targeted toward Folsom Field renovation, the “Sustainable Excellence Fund” can be found by clicking on “Donate Now” at the CU Buff Club website.
MacIntyre: “It’ll take a little bit of time, but it’ll be fun”
Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre is making the rounds. Here is a link to an eight-minute interview coach MacIntyre did with Yahoo! Sports radio.
As you would expect, the interview covers the hiring, expectations, recruiting, etc. There is some coachspeak, of course, about moving up and moving on, but coach MacIntyre is certainly saying the right things, and gives a good interview …
Coach MacIntyre: “The young men just need to get confidence”
ESPN bloggerKevin Gemmell did a Q&A with new CU head coach Mike MacIntyre …
The first — and most obvious question — where do you begin?
Mike MacIntyre: Well, first of all I met with the team. That was the first place I began. Then I’ll meet with each player individually. Then we’re getting on the road working on our staff and working on recruiting at the same time and trying to get all of that set up. So it’s getting with the players before they go on break, working on a staff and working on recruiting all at the same time.
How much have you been cramming in game film and watching what’s been happening over the last couple of years?
MM: I’ll definitely watch game film next week when the kids are gone and start watching what they did. But I don’t want to get a lot of preconceived notions about the guys until we get them out there on the practice field and we work with them eyeball-to-eyeball out there. That’s how I’ll do that.
In terms of the youth on this team, they were able to get a lot of work. How much is that going to pay off moving forward?
MM: Experience is invaluable. At San Jose State, we played a lot of freshmen early and that experience helped those young men mature quickly.
What’s the pulse of the team right now — at least from the guys you talked to so far?
MM: They seem very positive. But when you lose games like that — I’ve been through that before and have been able to rebuild out of it — the young men just need to get confidence. And the way you build confidence is you set small goals and you reach that goal and the next one and the next one. That goes for the weight room, the classroom, the meeting rooms, out on the practice field. They will build their confidence back slowly and all of a sudden they will start showing up on game day and we’ll start making plays and finishing games the way we should. It doesn’t just happen with the snap of a finger.
I know you are a defensive-minded guy. When you look around the Pac-12, you see the spread-option, you see the Air Raid, you see four different types of pro-style. What’s your impression of some of the offenses in the conference?
MM: That’s the beauty of college football is all of the different types of offenses. That’s what makes college football more exciting than the pro football each week because it’s different every Saturday. And as a defensive coordinator and working on the defensive side of the ball like I like to do, you have to be prepared for all of those different things, and it makes it exciting. The Pac-12 has a lot of diverse offenses with some very good ones. But you have to play good defense to win championships. Stanford’s offense is pretty good. But their defense has been what really set the tone for that team week in and week out.
There are those who say your predecessor didn’t get the full commitment of the university. Do you feel like they are behind you with some of the facility upgrades and the financial commitment.
MM: I think the administration is definitely behind us. Our athletic department, our athletic director, they are doing everything possible to make sure we’re going to be successful. And it takes all of us. It’s not just me. It’s not just the athletic director or the chancellor. It takes everybody involved from top to bottom to be successful. We’ll do that and one day in the future it will be a fun day.
What’s your timetable for filling out the staff.
MM: Ooooh … good question. My staff, my guys in the bowl game, they don’t end until the 27th and after that bowl game is over, some of them will be making different decisions. It will be before the dead period. When the dead period opens back up, I’ll have a full staff. I might be short a guy or two but I’ll have the majority of the staff together when the dead period opens up so we can get out there and recruit.
The Boulder Experience …
A early Christmas present from the CU Video staff. A great look at Boulder, with great highlights from the past, as well as from the 2012 season … A great eight-minute video
Congrats to the CU women’s basketball team!
The Colorado women’s basketball team ran their record to 9-0 with a 70-66 home upset of No. 8 Louisville.
CU led by as many as 13 (64-51) in the final 3 minutes before Louisville’s full-court pressure sparked a 10-0 run and allowed the Cardinals to close to 68-66 in the final half-minute.
But Jen Reese scored on a critical put-back after two missed free throws by Brittany Wilson with 11.1 seconds remaining to give the Buffs their first win against a Top Ten opponent since the 2002 CU team defeated No. 5 Stanford in the NCAA’s Sweet 16. Buffs coach Linda Lappe was a junior on that squad.
The Buffs had four players in double figures, topped by Chucky Jeffery’s 22. Arielle Roberson added 13 and Reese and Wilson had 11 each. CU center Rachel Hargis contributed seven points and a career-high seven blocks.
Colorado received only one vote in the latest top 25 poll, but the undefeated Buffs may well be ranked come next Monday.
After taking on Utah Valley State (Dec. 22nd) and New Mexico (Dec. 29th), the Buffs will open Pac-12 play with two tough home games, against Stanford, the No. 1 team in the nation, and Cal, currently ranked No. 9.
Congratulations, Buffs! Keep up the good work!
Buff administrators discussed Embree firing prior to regular season finale against Utah
From CBS4 in Denver … University of Colorado Athletic Director Mike Bohn and Chancellor Phil DiStefano laid the groundwork to fire head football coach Jon Embree prior to the Buffs final loss of the season, according to internal CU documents obtained during a CBS4 Investigation.
The CU football team lost its 10th game of the season 42-35 to the University of Utah on Nov. 23.
Two days later, at about 5:30 p.m. Nov. 25, Bohn informed Embree he was fired.
The following day Embree talked about his dismissal.
“There was no indication, no indication,” Embree said after he was fired. “I thought I would be here to build it, see it through.”
Embree said he was under the impression he had another year to turn around the CU football program.
But CBS4 has obtained internal CU emails showing Embree’s bosses were preparing to fire him prior to the final loss.
Bohn emailed DiStefano at 10:01 a.m. Nov. 23, hours before the final game began.
The document is labeled “Colorado Football Strategy Session.”
Bohn wrote, ”Phil, please see below a draft agenda for our post game meeting for your review. I also have some handouts on search related initiatives ready to distribute. MB”
The one-page document contains 15 bullet points. Number 8 is “Recruitment strategy for new leadership.”
Another item is labeled “Process” and item number 12 is “Expectations of search procedure.”
Another section of the documents addresses “Financial Impact,” including “existing staff buyouts, new staff transition.”
CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard told CBS4, “Certainly it’s clear from the document that Mike Bohn was thinking of a new coach. He was thinking about going in that direction.”
Hilliard said he couldn’t say much more about the document and its implications due to personnel issues.
“Wow,” said Embree when he heard about the email Thursday afternoon. “I am surprised.”
“They made it sound like it was a hard decision but it sounds like it was in the works for awhile. They made it sound like they were agonizing about it all weekend but they weren’t. It just makes you wonder when they were starting this process. They had an idea and they were waiting to execute it,” said a miffed Embree.
Embree asked CBS4 to provide him with copies of the internal CU emails, which he had not seen or heard about before.
“It doesn’t change anything,” said the former CU coach. “From a business standpoint I understand. It’s part of the business.”
At the news conference announcing Embree’s dismissal, reporters asked Bohn about the timing of the decision- when was it decided Embree would be canned?
“It was late because we wanted it to work because it had nothing to do with the last game,” Bohn replied. “It came to the point late that we had to make a change.”
Another set of emails showed that at the same time Bohn and DiStefano were preparing to fire Embree, administrators who were apparently unaware of Embree’s pending fate, were simultaneously preparing for an announcement prior to the final game that two assistant coaches would be fired.
Two sources connected to the football program said CU was planning to fire defensive coach Greg Brown and linebackers coach Brian Cabral.
On Nov. 22, the night before the final game, Associate Athletic Director David Plati sent out an email about the planned firing of Brown and Cabral that was disseminated among half a dozen CU administrators, athletic officials and lawyers.
“Mike (Bohn) and I spoke at length tonight about our various scenarios; all stink, of course, so it’s basically choose between the lesser of all evils,” wrote Plati.
He made it clear that in firing two assistant coaches, CU officials would have to deal with media questions about Embree’s status.
“We absolutely cannot have Jon’s status be up in the air at this point,” wrote Plati, ”It will fuel a firestorm on a national level- always does when a coach doesn’t get the vote of confidence.”
“To put it out there that Jon’s status is in question or will be evaluated, even if he is retained, will hurt us in recruiting, with the athletic alumni who are still close to 100 percent behind Jon, and the Black Coaches Association, which isn’t going to stand still watching two black coaches be fired two years in a row after being given only two years; they didn’t go after Kansas last year likely because it had an AD change,” wrote Plati.
“There will be no way the dismissal of two assistant coaches will hold until Monday; we think it is best that Mike announces it pregame on KOA, I have an advisory saying so to handout in the press box, and Jon addresses postgame. It will take one tweet by someone after the game for it to explode otherwise and thus a story will be ‘we knew, and we didn’t comment.’”
Brown and Cabral were not fired prior to the Utah game, apparently because Embree hadn’t informed his team of the planned coaching changes.
CU has since hired Mike Macintyre from San Jose State as head football coach. He was scheduled to spend Thursday in Boulder with Mike Bohn.
Embree told CBS4 he is hoping to catch on as an assistant coach in the NFL.
Will Pericak 2012 MVP
From cubuffs.com … Senior defensive end Will Pericak was named by his University of Colorado teammates as the Buffaloes’ 2012 Most Valuable Player, highlighting the team’s annual senior banquet Sunday at the Coors Events Center.
A Boulder High School graduate, Pericak is the first player from Boulder to be Colorado’s MVP in 43 years, or since tailback Bobby Anderson won it in 1969. The last defensive player to earn the honor was cornerback Cha’pelle Brown in 2009, though players on the defensive side of the ball have won four the last six years.
Pericak enjoyed his finest season as a Buff, racking up 62 tackles (38 solo) with a lot of “garnish,” topped by four forced fumbles, the most by a CU defensive lineman since 1990. In 563 snaps from scrimmage, he also had eight third down stops, six pressures, four passes broken up, six tackles for loss including two quarterback sacks, three tackles for zero, a fumble recovery, a touchdown save and a blocked PAT kick.
An honorable mention All-Pac 12 performer as selected by the league coaches, he shifted full-time to defensive end three games into the season after starting the year at tackle; he played at both spots the first two games. He set a Colorado record with 49 career starts (every game of his collegiate career), which is also the record for the most games played by a defensive player.
Also the recipient of the team’s Dave Jones Award as the outstanding defensive player, he became just the ninth defensive lineman to record 200 or more tackles in a CU career, finishing with 207.
Junior David Bakhtiari and senior tight end Nick Kasa shared the John Mack Award as winners of the team’s most outstanding players on offense.
Bakhtiari has been CU’s rock at left tackle the last two seasons. He started 11 of 12 games in 2012 (he missed the Oregon game with a knee sprain, though he tried to go). He graded out well above 80 percent in all 11 games he appeared in, as was at 89.8 percent overall on the season (655 plus plays out of 729 snaps), with a top game grade of 92.5 percent at Washington State. He had 41 “will-breaker” blocks (or pancakes-plus), two touchdown blocks and over 30 downfield blocks while allowing just two-and-a-half quarterback sacks and a single pressure. He earned second-team All-Pac 12 accolades.
Kasa started all 12 games this season, 12 of the 13 games in his career as a tight end, yet he was one of only 26 on the official midseason watch list for the John Mackey Award (he did not advance to the semifinalist stage). While still learning all the nuances of the position this year, he caught 25 passes for 391 yards (a team-best 15.6 per, seldom a stat that is led by a tight end) with three touchdown receptions. He also had a team-best eight receptions of 20 yards or longer and earned 16 first downs. He moved to tight end eight games into the 2011 season (played in one game there, the finale at Utah), and despite this being his first full-time season at the position, he earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors.
Sophomore linebacker Brady Daigh was named the recipient of the Bill McCartney Award for special teams achievement. He led the team with 12 knockdown or return springing blocks on return unit duty, in addition to six tackles (four solo) on coverage teams, including one stop inside-the-20. He also recovered a blocked PAT kick and caused a penalty for a total of 21 special teams points, second most on the squad.
The Scout Team Awards were presented to quarterback Shane Dillon (offense) and outside linebacker Lowell Williams (defense). The coaches selected the players who contributed the most to the weekly preparation on their respective scout teams over the course of the entire season.
The Lee Willard Award for the most outstanding freshman went to Christian Powell, who started the season at fullback but was quickly moved to tailback. In doing so, he became just the fifth freshman to lead CU in rushing as he had 691 yards in 10 games (he missed Arizona State with a hip bruise and Utah with a concussion). He is currently ninth in the Pac-12 in rushing at 69.1 yards per game, but the second freshman. He had a CU freshmen record 158 carries, averaged 4.4 yards per rush and scored seven touchdowns (second most by a CU frosh). He also tied the school’s CU freshman mark with three 100-yard games, including 121 on 20 carries and both CU touchdowns at Oregon; 70 of the yards came against the Ducks first-team defense and the rest against a mix of 1’s and 2’s. He had 19 runs of 10 yards or longer, converted 8-of-11 opportunities on 3rd/4th-&-1 plays and He earned 31 first downs on the year (30 rushing). He was also an honorable mention All-Pac 12 performer.
Pericak also was honored with the Dean Jacob Van Ek Award for academic achievement. A Pac-12 All-Academic team member and an Academic All-District selection, he owns a 3.45 grade point average in Business-Finance.
In all, 67 players earned letters this season, including all eight seniors and 24 cited as first-year lettermen with 13 of those players true freshmen. The breakdown included 33 players on offense, 29 on defense and five specialists.
The complete list of CU award winners announced Sunday; the most valuable player was selected by the players and all others by the coaching staff:
Zack Jordan Award (most valuable player, selected by teammates): DE Will Pericak
John Mack Award (outstanding offensive players): OT David Bakhtiari, TE Nick Kasa
Dave Jones Award (outstanding defensive player): DE Will Pericak
Bill McCartney Award (special teams achievement): ILB Brady Daigh
Lee Willard Award (outstanding freshman): TB Christian Powell
Dean Jacob Van Ek Award (academic excellence): DE Will Pericak
Offensive Scout Award: QB Shane Dillon
Defensive Scout Award: OLB Lowell Williams
Best Interview (selected by team beat media): OT David Bakhtiari, FS Ray Polk
Buffalo Heart Award (selected by “the fans behind the bench”): DE Will Pericak
Cincinnati acts quickly to replace Butch Jones, taking Tommy Tuberville from Texas Tech
Apparently, Cincinnati was already planning on getting a new head coach …
From ESPN … Tommy Tuberville was hired Saturday as Cincinnati’s next football coach, leaving the Big 12 for a school trying to move up to a better conference.
The agreement came one day after Butch Jones left to become Tennessee’s next football coach, ending a week of uncertainty for the Bearcats (9-3). Cincinnati has won a share of four of the past five Big East titles and will play in the Belk Bowl.
A Texas Tech official told ESPN.com the school was “completely blindsided” by the decision.
Tuberville went 20-17 in three seasons at Texas Tech, after coaching at Mississippi and Auburn. The Red Raiders (7-5) will play Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl after missing out on a bowl last season.
Tuberville resigned as Texas Tech’s coach on Saturday afternoon and was expected to be introduced at Cincinnati later in the day on the basketball court after the 11th-ranked Bearcats played Maryland Eastern Shore.
His hiring ends a streak of Cincinnati getting its coaches from smaller conferences. It’s athletic director Whit Babcock’s most significant hire in his first year at the school.
The 58-year-old Tuberville takes over a program that has been a stepping stone job for the last three head coaches. Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly and Jones all left after three years for bigger programs — Michigan State, Notre Dame and Tennessee, respectively.
Kelly and Jones both came from Central Michigan, while Dantonio was an assistant at Ohio State.
Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones hired by Tennessee
Perhaps the tough week Buff fans have just endured will work out for the best. A day after saying that he wasn’t leaving Cincinnati for Colorado, head coach Butch Jones agreed to sign on with Tennessee.
It makes sense for Jones – more money in the long run, a more dedicated fan base, better facilities, and a better personnel to work with on Day One. Plus, Jones is midwest guy, and a move to Tennessee is probably a better fit for Jones and his family.
Does it hurt to be left at the altar for another? Sure. Now CU fans know what Purdue fans felt like earlier this week, after Jones did a “no, thank you” tour of West Lafayette on Sunday.
In the long run, though, it may be a blessing. Had Jones come to Colorado, his history suggests that he would have only been interested in using CU as a staging area, a pit stop on the way to a better gig. When – or if – he turned Colorado back into a bowl team, Jones would likely have bolted for an opening in the Big Ten or SEC, leaving Colorado to once again try and find that perfect fit.
Now, the CU administration can try and find a guy who looks at Colorado as being a final destination, a place where he can build a team and a legacy … a guy kinda like Tad Boyle. Remember that Tad Boyle wasn’t CU’s first choice … but he turned out to be the best choice.
If you want to read more … From Cincinnati.com … Butch Jones resigned from his position as head coach at the University of Cincinnati and accepted the same job at the University of Tennessee.
Jones had been the center of a whirlwind tour over the last couple of days that had him close to accepting the head coaching job at Colorado before abruptly withdrawing his name from consideration on Wednesday afternoon.
“I would like to thank Butch Jones for his time at the University of Cincinnati,” UC athletic director Whit Babcock said. “With that said, we are excited about the future of this program and this job will be extremely attractive nationally. Our search will begin immediately.”
Player reaction to another coach leaving after three years was more muted this time than when Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame in 2009.
“We might be angry. We might be upset, but we know at the end of the day that he made a decision for his family and for his future,” said strong safety Drew Frey.
The 44-year-old Jones is following the career path of the previous two UC coaches by staying for three years and then departing for a more prestigious job that paid him more money. He arrived at UC in December 2009 after Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame. Mark Dantonio, the UC coach before Kelly, left for Michigan State after coaching UC from 2004 to 2006.
I think I’ve proven that I want to be here,” Jones said last year after he agreed to the new contract. “This is a very special place. We’re building something really special here. I ask our players to make a commitment and I need to make a commitment back.”
Jones was hired by UC after three years at Central Michigan, where he replaced Kelly after Kelly left for UC.
Jones’ decision to leave is another blow to the UC athletic department, which last week learned that its attempts to leave the wobbly Big East Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference had been rebuffed, with the ACC choosing to invite long-time UC rival Louisville instead. That left the Bearcats to compete in a league that has lost its status as one of the top six football conferences in the country and with no automatic tie-in to a major bowl game when the current BCS contract expires at the end of next season.
John Wooten the sixth Buff inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
From cubuffs.com … There is the so-called 1 percent. But then there’s the 1/10,000th percent.
John Wooten, the University of Colorado All-American guard in the late 1950s, joined a select group of players here Tuesday night as he was officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Since 1869 when the first college game was played, an estimated 4.92 million people have played the sport, but just 1,111 are members of the Hall, including the 14 players and three coaches inducted in this year’s class, the 55th in the Hall’s history. That makes Wooten one in just 10,000 to earn the distinction.
Wooten, one of CU’s first two African-Americans to play varsity football (along with teammate Frank Clarke), lettered three years at offensive guard from 1956-58; he went on to become an all-pro player with the Cleveland Browns, where he blocked for the great Jim Brown. After football, he enjoyed a long administrative career in the professional ranks with the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens, as well as with National Football League office.
At a private reception honoring Wooten Monday night, co-sponsored by CU and the school’s New York Alumni Association, several of the NFL’s top brass dropped by, including Ray Anderson (executive vice president), Ron Hill (VP/operations) and David Coleman (director of officials).
“This is indeed a great honor,” Wooten said prior to his induction at a press conference for all those set for induction; at the actual induction dinner, former Oklahoma State and Miami head coach Jimmy Johnson, one of three coaches voted into the Hall, read remarks for the entire class.
“As I look around the room, being an old scout for years with the Cowboys, Eagles and Ravens, I remember scouting many of these great players. And now to be honored with these men just brings back many of the great memories in my lifetime, including all those I had at the University of Colorado.”
It was also a special evening for the state of Colorado, as Air Force’s Scott Thomas and Colorado State’s Greg Myers were also inducted.
Other members of the 2012 class included Charles Alexander (Louisiana State), Otis Armstrong (Purdue), Steve Bartkowski (California), Hal Bedsole (Southern California), Dave Casper (Notre Dame), Ty Detmer (BYU), Tommy Kramer (Rice), Art Monk (Syracuse), Jonathan Ogden (UCLA), Gabe Rivera (Texas Tech), Mark Simoneau (Kansas State) and coaches Phillip Fulmer (Tennessee) and R.C. Slocum (Texas A&M).
…. The other Colorado players inducted into the College Hall of Fame: Byron “Whizzer” White (inducted 1952); Joe Romig (1984); Dick Anderson (1993); Bobby Anderson (2006) and Alfred Williams (2010).
CU linebacker Jesse Hiss named national scholar-athlete
(Yes, I had to look him up … here’s a link to his bio)
From cubuffs.com … While freshman linebacker Jesse Hiss had aspirations of playing collegiate athletics back in high school, he also knew how important his academics were.
“Academics have always been another thing to help get recruited,” Hiss said. “A lot of schools don’t recruit guys that don’t have great scores. Just another tool to get noticed.”
On the football field, colleges did take notice of Hiss, who posted 428 tackles, five sacks, 25 tackles for a loss, 12 fumble recoveries, eight forced fumbles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions as a linebacker during his high school career. At running back, he totaled 207 carries for 1,621 yards and 26 touchdowns.
However his classroom resume is just as impressive as His was the valedictorian at Basehor-Linwood High School in Bonner Springs, Kan., and had a 4.0 grade point average, an impressive mark considering none of the classes he took had weighted grades like many high schools offer today.
In addition to his grades, he earned the highest honor roll all eight semesters of high school, was a member of the National Honor Society, a senior class officer, and spent his Monday nights throughout the school year as a study hall tutor.
Hiss won a Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete Award and earlier this fall he learned that he added a national scholar-athlete accolade as well.
In October, the National Football Foundation & College Football Hall of Fame announced that Hiss was one of five winners of the 2012 NFF National High School Scholar-Athlete Award. Each recipient is selected as the best of the best from their region of the country at the high school level, with all five winners (currently playing college football) being recognized solely for their previous accomplishments in high school.
Nick Kasa invited to play in East/West Shrine game
It’s come full circle for the Buffs’ senior tight end, Nick Kasa.
Kasa, from Broomfield, was a can’t miss defensive end prospect from the Class of 2009. Kasa was rated as a four-star player, the No. 4 defensive end prospect in the nation. Kasa committed early to Florida, but switched his commitment to Colorado late … a real coup for Dan Hawkins and the CU coaching staff.
But Kasa didn’t work out at defensive end, with the 6’6″, 260-pounder switching to tight end late in the 2011 season. This past fall, Kasa was fourth on the team, with 25 catches for 391 yards. Kasa’s three touchdown receptions tied for the team lead in that category.
And now Kasa is heading for the East/West Shrine game to show off his skills.
It wasn’t the road the Buff Nation thought he would be taking four years ago, but Kasa is an all-star at last. Congratulations, Nick!
Shameless voting by coaches in USA Today poll
From Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News…
*** Interesting views
* West Virginia Dana Holgorsen doesn’t think much of the Pac-12. He had Oregon 8th and Stanford 10th. (Wonder where he would have put the Cardinal if his boss’s son was still the QB.)
* Oregon State’s Mike Riley voted Oregon 2nd, one spot ahead of Alabama (his alma mater).
* Georgia coach Mark Richt did not have No. 15 (overall) Boise State on his ballot.
* Washington’s Steve Sarkisian had Stanford 5th, one spot ahead of LSU, even though UW beat Stanford and got hammered in Baton Rouge.
*** The merely shameless
* Vanderbilt’s James Franklin voted Notre Dame No. 4, behind three 1-loss SEC teams.
He also had the unranked Commodores 16th on his ballot.
* Bob Stoops voted Oklahoma No. 6, five spots higher than its overall ranking.
* Jimbo Fisher voted Florida State No. 7, five spots higher than its overall rankings.
* Brady Hoke voted Michigan No. 15, seven spots higher than its overall rankings.
*** The beyond-shameless
Arizona State’s Todd Graham and Arkansas State’s Gus Malzahn should lose their voting privileges, immediately and forever.
Graham voted his unranked Sun Devils 20th, even though they went 7-5, lost four of their last six and beat one team with a winning record (Arizona).
He did not vote for USC, which was also 7-5 and beat his team by three touchdowns.
In fact, ASU didn’t receive a single vote in either the AP or Harris polls, and it had just eight points in the Coaches’ poll.
Buff players return for off-season conditioning
While their world is in a state of flux, the Colorado football team still has a calendar to keep.
Off-season conditioning starts on Monday for the returning players. Winter conditioning consists of lifting on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with running/conditioning on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The players met with athletic director Mike Bohn on Friday, and there are reports (thanks, SD Buff at BuffStapede.com) that the meeting went well. Bohn did not discuss coaching candidates, but did ask for input from the players. Strength and conditioning coach Malcolm Blacken, who came with Jon Embree from the Washington Redskins, received vocal support from the players, as did other coaches (although the new head coach will have final say on the new staff).
Overall, the morale of the team is reported to be improving, even good. After the initial shock of losing their head coach wore off, players are adapting to the new reality, and are even getting excited about the possibilities a new staff and a new start might bring.
Good news … from a program which has been devoid of good news for some time …
Colorado assistant coaches still on recruiting trail
From the Daily Camera… Colorado’s football team has been without a head coach since Sunday night.
The Buffaloes’ assistant coaches have been hard at work, however. Despite their future status being up in the air, CU assistants have been working the recruiting trail all week.
“We all have (been talking to recruits),” defensive coordinator Greg Brown said. “There are many, many guys very interested in Colorado that are going to take their scheduled trips and come see what it’s all about.
“We just want to emphasize that we think that it’s going in the right direction.”
Head coach Jon Embree was fired on Sunday night after going 4-21 in two seasons with the Buffaloes. His entire staff has been retained for the time being. CU’s next coachwill make decisions on which staff members, if any, to keep.
Brown said this week has been a little different without Embree, but said, “It’s part of the deal.”
In more than 30 years of coaching, Brown said he believes this is the eighth time he’s been part of a coaching staff that had its head coach fired.
“Nobody goes in with their eyes closed,” he said. “Everybody understands what it’s all about. Just do the right thing, good things will happen and let the chips fall where they may.”
While there has been debate about whether Embree should have been fired or not, Brown and director of player personnel Darian Hagan said they have been impressed with the coaches’ focus and professionalism in continuing to do a good job.
“The mood around here has been good,” said Hagan, who is now going through his third head coaching change at CU. “Guys are upbeat, guys are doing their jobs. We’re paid to do a job and that’s all we can do. We have to put our head downs and stay away from the papers and stay way from all the commotion outside.”
In addition to talking to recruits, Brown and Hagan said the staff has been keeping tabs on the current players as they finish up the fall semester.
“You’re in it for the kids,” Hagan said. “Put them before you and everything that’s supposed to work out will work out.”
Once news of Embree’s firing came out, a few players expressed a desire to leave the program. Hagan said the staff has had conversations with those players, many who just simply want answers.
“In the last couple of days, it’s died down,” Hagan said of players wanting to leave. “It’s not as many guys as before. There’s some guys that are still upset, some guys that are still soul-searching. I don’t think there’s a lot that will happen.”
While keeping the players — current and future — as the focus, Brown said the coaches’ love of CU has played a significant role in their desire to work hard this week.
“Several of the assistants, we’ve talked and that statement has come up quite a few times, just saying, ‘hey, no matter what happens, regardless we don’t want to leave Colorado in any worse shape’,” Brown said. “We want to get this thing moving forward and that sentiment has been shared throughout the building with the assistants.”
Brown said he has no doubt CU will get better in the coming years, regardless of who winds up as the head coach.
“(I believe that) 100 percent,” he said. “You don’t have to look any further than the young players we have here. A significant number of true freshmen got a lot of playing experience for this age and they’re going to be solid guys next year. It’s going to help the new coaching staff move forward.”
The great unknown for Brown, Hagan and the rest of the staff is whether or not they will have jobs in a week or two. Because of that, many of the coaches have likely spent part of this week exploring other job opportunities.
“You always have your ears to the ground and eyes open, no doubt about it. It’s just part of the business,” Brown said.
Brown hopes he won’t have to find a realtor for his next job. He has strong ties to the state and to CU. He just finished his ninth season at CU (1991-93, 2006-09 and 2011-12). He is a Denver native, graduate of Arvada High School and also spent two seasons coaching the USFL’s Denver Gold, in 1983-84.
“Personally, I would love to stay here,” he said. “This is a great institution. Besides the University of Colorado being a great school, it’s the athletic past and history it’s had, particularly in football and all the milestones it has reached. If I’m not (here), it wasn’t meant to be. But, I do know this, Boulder is the best place in the country to live, without a doubt, and I know if we’re not here, my wife and family would miss it terribly.”
Addendum … A family member of CU 2012 recruit Kisima Jagne has been posting on AllBuffs. One of the highest-rated recruits of last February’s class, the defensive end from Arizona is a gray-shirt, and is set to enroll at Colorado in January. Obviously, Jagne status is in limbo, as both Jagne and his new head coach have options. It does appear at this time that Jagne still wants to be a Buff, and the family reported that defensive line coach Kanavis McGhee had flown down to Arizona to meet with Jagne, trying to keep the star player a black-and-gold recruit.
Jon Embree: “I did not say that (racism) is why I was fired”
From the Daily Camera …
It’s been a rough week filled with hurt feelings and lingering confusion for former Colorado coach Jon Embree over why he was fired just days after being assured he would be retained.
Embree said despite being fired after just two seasons and ugly comments, emails and letters sent to him throughout his tenure in Boulder by angry CU fans, he continues to love his alma mater and hopes that the next coach will lead the Buffs back to winning records, bowl games and national prominence.
Embree said he plans to offer his help in any way it might be needed to whomever Colorado hires to succeed him.
“I’m a Buff,” Embree said. “I’m a Buff.”
Embree has taken some heat for comments he made earlier this week, speculating that he would still be CU’s coach if he were white.
Embree, the first black head coach in Colorado football history, is also receiving support from the Black Coaches & Administrators.
Embree was fired Sunday after going 4-21 in two seasons with the Buffs. Two days earlier during postgame interviews with reporters after the Buffs’ loss to Utah, Embree said he had been assured he would be back as CU’s coach in 2013.
Debate over Embree’s firing has filled dozens of hours of programming this week on numerous Denver-area radio stations. The topic also has been featured several times on local and national television broadcasts, including ESPN.
More than 100 readers commented on the Buffzone.com story about Embree’s comments, which first appeared online Wednesday night. The vast majority of the reader comments were negative towards Embree, with most believing Embree should accept the fact that it was his record that got him fired and not his race.
The Daily Camera also has received numerous letters to the editor in support of Embree.
Embree said he never set out to make race an issue in his firing. He said he simply tried to answer questions as honestly as possible.
“I just want people to understand that I did not say that is why I was fired,” Embree said. “I was never given a reason why I was fired. I responded to a question about working again as a head coach in college football and my answer is and will always be, we don’t get second chances.
“I’m OK with that. I understood that when I took the job. People can get mad all they want, but those are the facts. We don’t get second chances.”
Lane Kiffin’s dad out of a job at USC
USC head coach Lane Kiffin’s father, Monte Kiffin, will resign after the Trojans’ bowl game, in order to “pursue NFL opportunities”.
USC, the preseason No. 1 team, finished No. 62 in the nation in total defense.
Facilities upgrade to play a role in hiring new head coach?
We can only hope …
From the Daily Camera… The University of Colorado might be willing to include a promise for football facilities upgrades in the contract of its next coach if doing so helps land the right man for the job.
“That is one model we’re looking at,” athletic director Mike Bohn said.
CU hired former men’s basketball coach Jeff Bzdelik away from Air Force in 2007 by including a clause in his contract promising to break ground on facilities improvements at the Coors Events Center by the start of the fourth year of Bzdelik’s deal.
Current CU basketball coaches Tad Boyle and Linda Lappe are reaping the rewards of the roughly $12 million spent to two new practice courts and a volleyball locker room at the Events Center. They were built because of the promise to Bzdelik, who was a hot coaching candidate when CU hired him after building Air Force into an NCAA Tournament team and coaching the Denver Nuggets.
The football facilities at CU are considered among the worst in the Pac-12 Conference and the worst at the BCS conference level and are likely so aged they would prevent some coaches from even taking the CU job seriously.
The school needs to make a splash with its hire to get fans and recruits excited about the program again and that likely means paying big money — anywhere from $2 million to $3 million — for a recognizable name. A coach like that will probably want assurances in writing that CU will invest in its football infrastructure relatively early in his tenure.
One coach thought to be on CU’s radar was former Cal coach Jeff Tedford who was fired earlier this month after the Bears struggled this season. A source close to Tedford said he has no interest in the CU opening because he views the job as a difficult place to win. It’s possible the state of CU’s football facilities are one reason why Tedford has that opinion.
CU has added a multi-purpose practice bubble and remodeled the team’s locker room in recent years, but it hasn’t spent at nearly the level on football that most of its competitors are. For instance, Cal recently completed a massive renovation project to Memorial Stadium and Washington is in the process of a $250 million project at Husky Stadium.
“I think any time you can make a commitment which drives a sense of urgency is good,” Bohn said of the possibility of including a facilities clause in the next coach’s contract. “That certainly was helpful in basketball.”
Coach Mac issues an open letter to Buff Nation
Former CU head coach Bill McCartney has issued an open letter to Buff fans, as read on FM 102.3 Tuesday afternoon:
Please forgive my presumption that you might care to hear my opinions on a hot topic. Obviously, not everyone cares and so I intrude.
On June 10 1982 CU hired me to be their football coach. Arnold Weber was university president and Eddie Crowder was the athletic director. Three seasons later we had won only 7 games. Gordon gee was now the president and Bill Marolt was the athletic director. These four men were true professionals and provided unconditional support through difficult times. Never once did they interfere or question the directions of the program. Just the opposite, they offered me a new 4 year contract. From this time forward we won over 80% of our games.
Consequently, I have a debt of gratitude that is on-going. It has been 18 years since I coached. In that stretch I have responded to every request for my participation. I have genuinely supported each coach since then.
When John Embree was hired, I was thrilled. I had recruited Jon to CU. He turned down USC, UCLA and Ohio St. He was truly a national recruit. He was an exceptional player; a fine leader with tremendous football instincts. Jon was unselfish and very competitive. I encouraged him to pursue coaching and he proceeded to build a solid resume. Finally CU hired one or their own! Not only that- but with a pedigree that is exemplary. This guy is good.
To short circuit a 5 year contract before two full years is an indictment of true integrity. Webster’s Dictionary defines integrity as utter sincerity, honesty, candor, not artificial, not shallow and no empty promises.
Men and women of Colorado don’t let this happen. Please weigh in. This is wrong. It undermines the values of the university. This is a great school! Boulder is a special place. Please stand up and be counted.
Sincerely, Bill McCartney Head Football Coach 1982-1994
“Time to stop the mud-slinging”
Doug Ottewill, Mile High Sports, issues a fair rebuttal to the pro-Embree camp (published before Coach Mac’s letter):
In sports, as I was always taught by my father, the loser shuts up.
When the game is over, no matter how fierce or fair the competition, you shake hands and move on. The winner wins gracefully and quietly. The loser accepts defeat and offers no excuses. In theory, the scoreboard is the only element of the game that has any kind of final say.
Jon Embree, the most recent “former” coach in college football, is a fierce and passionate competitor, but he lost. As such, it’s time for him and his supporters to shut up.
That might not be a popular stance. After all, nobody can question the love that Embree had, and perhaps still has, for his alma mater. Nobody doubts that Embree gave it his all.
But in the past 24 hours, what I’ve heard mostly is a lot of sour grapes. Excuses. Gripes. Anger.
Being upset is certainly understandable. And perhaps there’s even some validity to some of those excuses. But what I haven’t heard is Embree owning up to much of the only number in this game that truly mattered – 4-21.
Yesterday via Twitter, the Boulder Daily Camera’s Kyle Ringo documented a long list of things Embree didn’t have at CU – stuff ranging from a new office desk (Ringo noted that Embree used his own, as the administration allegedly wouldn’t replace the one left by Dan Hawkins) to water for his staff. Presumably, the list Ringo spells out originated from Embree. And surely a hint of truth exists. But considering the circumstances, there might be some hyperbole in there, too.
Whining about all that CU lacks is nothing new. From other former head coaches, to the administration’s daily plea to its boosters, the school is – no doubt – always playing catch up with the Joneses.
But I recall a different Jon Embree – the one I interviewed just days after he got what he called “his dream job,” the one who could have cared less about “stuff” and “things.”
“(At your introductory press conference), you mentioned that when you arrived on campus as a freshman football player, you had one dumbbell in the weight room. In modern college football, much has been made about facilities, bells and whistles. Where do you weigh in on that?” I asked, sitting across from Embree at the sizeable desk (no clue whose it was) in his office.
“What do I want from a facilities standpoint? If we need better computer rooms for our student-athletes, then let’s get it for them. If we need better food at training table, then let’s get that for them. If we need a treadmill that you can run on underwater for rehab, then let’s get that. That’s the stuff you need – I believe. (Those things) help your athletes directly. New buildings don’t affect your athletes directly. Nice locker rooms? Yeah, they affect you. But does it have to be a special kind of wood? Does it have to have certain engravings on everything? No. That’s where I am with the facilities. I consider myself a ‘need guy.’ I just don’t go get stuff that I want; I get stuff that I need. I believe if you get caught up in keeping up with the Joneses, and trying to have the best this or the best that, you spoil those guys.”
He continued on about his days as a CU assistant, back when the Buffs won the Big 12 title.
“There’s a certain badge you ask guys to wear at the University of Colorado,” he said. “There’s a certain badge about having to walk up that hill every day. There was a certain badge about, ‘Okay, well, we don’t have a bubble. We’re practicing outside for the Big 12 (Championship Game) and it’s 12 degrees and it’s dimly lit.’ Our guys were out there saying, ‘We’re going to kill Texas because we know they aren’t working like we are.’ There’s a fine line with facilities between needing things and wanting things.”
“Maybe this is reading between the lines,” I said, “but don’t you think if you’re talking to the kid who’s enamored by posh digs, TVs in the locker room, etc., you’ve got the wrong kind of kid?”
“Right. Exactly,” Embree nodded. “I want kids who want to build and add to the tradition, not take from it.”
The coach and his supporters were singing a different tune back in December of 2010 when he was hired. Embree was going to restore tradition with his great passion and love for the university. I don’t remember any caveats back then.
I definitely don’t remember all of Embree’s backers providing excuses on the “front end” of the process. But now, those who pushed for Mike Bohn to hire Embree are the same ones who want to point the finger at Bohn – not Embree – for CU’s current, sad state. For those who claim that Bohn has made two bad hires for football coaches, I’d argue he’s only made one; Hawkins was Bohn’s choice; Embree was brought in amidst pressure from former Buffs who yelled loudest.
They’re still yelling. But they’re not owning up any part of that 4-21 record, either.
Their guy lost and they need to pipe down. Backing one of their own is admirable, but if it’s the black and gold they care about, logic suggests that carrying on about all the school lacks won’t help future progress. Potential coaches and future recruits watch the news and read Twitter.
And bringing race into the picture isn’t fair, either. The subject has certainly come up, but that’s been an injection from those who are in search of juicy headlines or sound bites. To his credit, Embree hasn’t brought the issue of race into this situation – not when he was hired and not when he was fired.
The day he was introduced as CU’s head football coach, Embree bluntly took race out of the equation.
“At the end of the day, I’m a football coach,” he told the media. “There is no category for how many games a black coach won or how many games a white coach won. It’s how many games did you win. It’s just a W and an L, and I have to stack up W’s.”
At the end of the day, that’s what he didn’t do. Regardless of his race, or the facilities in Boulder, Embree simply didn’t win enough football games. From the outset, even he knew that’s all that really mattered.
Sadly, for Embree – a good man and a passionate coach – it’s game over. But that’s just sports. Now it’s time to shut up and move on.
President Benson weighs in
From the Denver Post…
University of Colorado President Bruce Benson said Tuesday he’s “absolutely committed” to having a world-class athletic program, and that was one reason why the decision was made to fire football coach Jon Embree at the end of the program’s worst season ever.
“We wanted to make sure things were going in the right direction with this one and that’s why we made the change,” Benson said. “Any time I was asked (during the course of the Buffs’ just-concluded 1-11 season) I said we’ve got great coaches, we’ve got a great team and I support them all the way. If you don’t say that for a team that’s currently playing, you’re crazy.
You put the best face forward and I supported him right up until the last game,” Benson said. “I didn’t see any reason to blow it up in the middle of the season, and we kept our fingers crossed right up until the end, hoping the kids would get going and the coach would get going, but at the end we all decided we had to make a change.”
Benson, speaking by phone from Mexico, laughed at suggestions that the university and its administration wasn’t committed to athletics. While praising chemistry professor Tom Cech and the school’s four other Nobel Prize winners, along with about 20 winners of MacArthur Foundation “genius grants,” Benson admitted that more people come to know a university through athletics than anything else.
“Football is the window to the university, and I can’t stress that over and over enough,” he said. “People can be wrong and not understand, but I care; we care a lot, it’s very important to us. I’ve said it before, I want us to be the very best at everything and that absolutely includes athletics — I want the ski team to be the best, I want the football team, women’s basketball, everything — to be the best.”
But compared to college athletic powerhouses like Michigan, Alabama and Texas, Colorado’s $56.2 million athletic budget is puny. Those schools are included among a handful of universities whose athletic departments are self-sufficient. (Michigan’s athletic budget is $130 million for this academic year.) Most other schools rely on money from their general funds to help run their program.
Of CU’s athletic budget this year, $2.4 million came from the university’s general fund. The university also has loaned another $2.6 million to the football program to buy out the longterm contracts of Embree and former offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Benson said Colorado’s move a year ago from the Big 12 Conference to the Pac-12 will help better finance athletics. The school’s share of revenues from the Big 12 was about $9 million, while the share from the Pac-12 is currently about $19 million and expected to rise to about $25 million in the future.
As a result, the school has embarked on a pair of feasibility studies looking at what it would cost to perhaps renovate Folsom Field or the Coors Event Center, home to the basketball program. Some findings from those studies are expected to be released in the next three weeks.
“There are things that have to get paid off in the athletic department, but at some point we’re going to have more money to leverage,” Benson said. “If you have a $5 million revenue stream that you can count on for a 20-25 year bond issue, you could borrow another $50 million or something like that. And then, we’ve got some pretty strong people lined up to do some things.
“It’s a moving target. Apart from us, there’s supposedly about $1.2 billion in construction or planned construction going on across the Pac-12 — we have to be in that game. I can’t make all of ours the best tomorrow, but within the next six to eight years I think we can be as good as anybody else’s.”
But, as is the case at many universities, there is a contingent within the CU community that questions whether going all in athletically means losing out in other areas.
Some observers in college athletics also wonder if the school has donors and boosters with pockets deep enough to foot the bill for more ambitious athletic undertakings.
If that’s not the case, the thinking goes, then the money will have to come from somewhere else — and in that case, it couldn’t be used for academics.
But looking at CU-Boulder’s budget of almost $1.3 billion, and the boom in construction and partnerships that have taken place across the entire university system, Benson insists that argument doesn’t hold water.
“Everything I do every day has to do with raising money; that’s just how it works out,” Benson said. “We just had a record year in fund-raising, $228 million, but is that good enough? To me the answer is no.
“So you ask how do we leverage what we have and one of the best answers is football. It gets people excited and when people get excited they contribute more — not only to athletics, but everywhere.”
Buyout for Embree and Bieniemy
According to the Daily Camera … Attorneys determined Monday that former CU head coach Jon Embree is owed $1.625 million for the remainder of his contract. Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is owed $812,500. All other coaches are at-will, but are probably going to be offered some severance by the schools.
Never too early to start a list of potential candidates …
From Ted Miller at ESPN, who has good a feel for the Pac-12 as anyone right now … The name that certainly will come up is Jeff Tedford, who was fired by California last week. Tedford rebuilt a flagging program in Berkeley from the ground up, but it’s also possible Tedford, who will pocket a nearly $7 million buyout from Cal, won’t be in a hurry to take a new job.
After that, line up the usual suspects. There are plenty of strong candidates out there. Head coaches? What about Charlie Strong, Louisville; Art Briles, Baylor; Sonny Dykes, Louisiana Tech; Willie Taggart, Western Kentucky; Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State; Gary Andersen, Utah State; and Troy Calhoun, Air Force.
Top coordinators ready to make a jump? Oregon’s Mark Helfrich; Washington’s Justin Wilcox; UCLA’s Noel Mazzone; Alabama’s Kirby Smart; Clemson’s Chad Morris; Oklahoma State’s Todd Monken; and Michigan State’s Pat Narduzzi.
Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason also will merit a look.
The list is sure to grow in the coming days and weeks …
Scouting the Competition … Other schools in search of new head coaches …
Colorado is not the only school looking to employ new head coaches. Here is a list of other BCS Conference schools – including four SEC schools – who have fired their top man …
Arkansas … John L. Smith, fired less than eight months after he took the job. Smith was brought on as a one-year interim head coach following Arkansas’ dismissal of Bobby Petrino, and he did not do much during his time to convince the school he was the right man for the job. A very talented Arkansas team went 4-8 in 2012 under Smith with losses at home to teams like Louisiana-Monroe.
Purdue … Danny Hope, who was fired in spite of winning his last three games to get Purdue back to a bowl game for the second straight season. However, according to GoldandBlack.com, Hope’s fate was sealed after a 38-14 loss to Wisconsin in mid-October. In his four seasons in West Lafayette, Hope went 21-27 overall and 12-19 in the Big Ten.
Auburn … Gene Chizik was fired only two seasons after winning Auburn’s first national championship since 1957. Since winning the national title following the 2010 season, Chizik’s Auburn teams went 11-14 overall but with a more damning 4-12 mark in the SEC, including an 0-8 record this season. In his four seasons at Auburn, Chizik went 33-19.
Tennessee … Derek Dooley, hired out of Louisiana Tech with a 17-20 record after Lane Kiffin’s abrupt departure just before Signing Day 2010. A promising 6-7 debut for Dooley gave way to a 5-7 2011 season — one capped by a loss to Kentucky, ending the Vols’ 26-game streak vs. the Wildcats — and a 4-7 mark in 2012. Dooley finished his Tennessee tenure with a 4-19 SEC record.
Kentucky … Joker Phillips, the hand-picked successor to Rich Brooks who took over a program coming off of four straight bowl appearances (albeit a school-record four straight bowl appearances) and in three seasons bottomed-out with a 1-9, 0-7 SEC start in 2012. The last of those nine, a 40-0 drubbing at the hands of Vanderbilt, resulted in Phillips being fired with two games left in the season. Phillips coached through the end of the season, finishing 2-10 overal and 0-8 in league play.
Cal … Jeff Tedford, was fired after 11 seasons with the school and a solid 82-57 record. The Bears were the laughingstock of the Pac-12 when Tedford arrived, but a 10-2 season in 2004 and a 10-3 campaign in 2006 made the former Oregon offensive coordinator one of the hottest coaches in the country. The Bears’ momentum stalled, though, and a 3-9 mark in 2012 — and 9-18 Pac-12 record over his final three seasons — wasn’t enough for a 12th year. Possible replacements for Tedford … The Bears could look to the NFL with either Cincinnati Bengals assistant Hue Jackson, a former Cal assistant and Raiders head coach, or Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, a former Bears All-American. If they stay within the college ranks, Boise’s Chris Petersen could get the obligatory phone call, with San Jose State’s Mike MacIntyre, Utah State’s Gary Andersen and Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter also possibilities after impressive 2012 seasons.
North Carolina State … Tom O’Brien, fired after six seasons, including a 7-5 record in 2012. O’Brien led the Wolfpack to three bowl games but never finished higher than second in the ACC’s Atlantic Division while compiling a 40-35 record. His teams were only 22-26 in ACC play.
Boston College … Frank Spaziani, promoted to the head job in 2009 after 10 years as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator. But after taking over a program coming off of back-to-back ACC Championship appearances under Jeff Jagodzinski, Spaziani leaves with a 22-29 mark, and a declining record all four years of his tenure: 8-5 to 7-6 to 4-8 to 2012’s 2-10 disaster.
Non-BCS schools looking for new coaches include: Idaho, Western Michigan, Georgia State, and Western Michigan