Dead Dan Walking

Just when you thought that there were no records left for Dan Hawkins to set in his inglorious stint as the head coach at the University of Colorado, he goes and sets two more.

The Buffs absorbed their worst “come from ahead” loss in school history, giving up 35 unanswered points to fall to Kansas, 52-45. The Jayhawks, who had scored 40 points – total – in their first four Big 12 conference games, scored 35 in the fourth quarter to hand the Buffs their 15th consecutive road loss. The previous high for a lead lost was 21 points. In 1950, Colorado had a 21-0 lead on Kansas, but lost, 27-21. Then, in 2007 (yes, under Dan Hawkins), Colorado had a 21-0 lead on Iowa State, but eventually lost, 31-28.

The other record lost is just as egregious, at least for me.

Colorado now has an 0-5 record in the Big 12 conference, the worst start in conference play since the 1979 team started Big Eight play with an 0-5 record. In all likelihood, if the Kansas game is to be any sort of yardstick, Colorado will not win a game the remainder of the season, finishing its last year in the Big 12 with an embarrassing 0-8 conference record.

Colorado has not finished winless in conference play, and has not finished alone at the bottom of its conference, since 1915.

Let’s try that one on again for size … The last time Colorado finished alone in the basement of its conference, Woodrow Wilson was President. In 1915, Colorado posted an 0-5 record in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, 1-6 overall.

In the succeeding 22 seasons in the RMAC, the Buffs never finished last alone.

In the ten years Colorado played in the Mountain States Conference (1938-47), the Buffs never finished last alone.

In the ten years Colorado played in the Big Seven (1948-57), the Buffs never finished last alone.

In the 38 years Colorado played in the Big Eight (1958-95), the Buffs never finished last alone.

In the first 14 years Colorado played in the Big 12 (1996-2009), the Buffs never finished last alone.

[For those of you scoring at home, I will give you these tidbits … Colorado has finished tied for last in its conference twice – in 1980 Colorado and Kansas State both finished with 1-6 Big Eight records. In 1982, Colorado, Iowa State, and Kansas all finished with 1-5-1 Big Eight records. Other than that, Colorado has never even finished tied for last since 1915 … There is also this: Only Colorado and Oklahoma from the original Big Eight can make the claim of never finishing last alone. Nebraska finished last alone once, in 1957; all the other schools have done it numerous times]

True, Kansas plays three ranked teams to close out the season, and will likely lose all three. This means that Dan Hawkins would only have to win one of the remaining three games this season to avoid being the first Colorado coach in almost a century to drag the Buffs into the basement.

After the Debacle in Lawrence, though, it would be hard to imagine the Buffs being victorious in any of its remaining games.

One last record for Dan Hawkins to think about as he looks back on how he found the Colorado program “burned to the ground” after four Big 12 North titles in five seasons, then proceeded to become the first Colorado coach in school history to lead the team to five straight losing seasons.

Other Records in the Dan Hawkins’ Legacy …

– In 2006, Dan Hawkins posted the worst first-year record (2-10) for a Colorado coach since Melbourne “Bob” Evans directed the 1916 Buffs to a 1-5-1 record.

– In the first game between the University of Colorado and a team from Division 1-AA in school history, Dan Hawkins lost (19-10 to Montana State).

– When Dan Hawkins took over in 2006, Colorado had posted a 57-30-1 record in road games played since 1989 (the 9th-best record in the nation). Colorado has since gone 2-23 on the road.

– When Dan Hawkins took over in 2006, Colorado had just dropped out of the top ten for the best overall records in college football (from 1989-2006). Colorado is now 29th on that list.

– Between 1999 and 2005, Colorado had 34 return touchdowns (interception, fumble, punt, kickoff), ranked 7th in the nation. Colorado has nine such returns in five years under Dan Hawkins, and now ranks 17th in that category.

– Colorado had a 40-45-2 record against ranked opponents between 1989 and 2005. Under Dan Hawkins, Colorado has gone 3-15 against ranked opponents.

– Since the inception of the Big 12, Colorado had a 17-13 record against the Big 12 South before Dan Hawkins arrived. Under Dan Hawkins, the Buffs went 5-10 against the Big 12 South.

– On the road in the Big 12 overall, Colorado was 21-18 before Dan Hawkins came to Boulder. Under Dan Hawkins, with one road game left to play, the Buffs have gone 2-17.

– Before Dan Hawkins, Colorado, since 1976, had lost a two score lead only ten times (out of 218 games). Under Dan Hawkins, Colorado has lost a two score lead nine times, including the past two weeks. The Texas Tech loss at home marked the first time Colorado had lost a two score lead at home since 1986. The Kansas debacle … only the worst in school history.

– Colorado had only 19 losses to unranked teams between 1987 and 2005. In the Dan Hawkins’ era, Colorado has lost 24 games to unranked teams.

– Colorado had scored 43 points or more in 109 games before the Kansas game. Colorado is now 109-1 in such games (the previous high for points scored in a loss was the infamous 82-42 loss to Oklahoma in 1980).

– Colorado had posted 18 winning seasons in 21 tries between 1985-2005. Since then, Colorado had gone 0-5 (assuming at least one more loss in 2010).

– And then there is, of course, the Colorado record for which I will always have Dan Hawkins to thank for losing. When Dan Hawkins came to Boulder, Colorado had scored in every game since losing 7-0 to Nebraska in the 1988 season. When Dan Hawkins took over, the Buffs had run the streak to 210 games, at the time the 5th longest active streak, and the 11th longest in NCAA history. The streak made it up to 242 games (into the top five of active and the top ten on the all-time list) before the Buffs were humilated by Missouri in 2008 by the score of 58-0. Going by the ridiculous “you play to win the game” theory late in the game, the Buffs continued to go for fourth down conversions rather than kick a face-saving field goal.

Cue Bob Hope … “Thanks for the memories …”.

Bye, Dan. Thanks for taking a program which had been “burned to the ground” … and making it a laughingstock.

9 Replies to “Dead Dan Walking”

  1. One happy record he broke was becoming the first HC in CU’s history to be terminated in mid-season. Good on ya Danno!

  2. Two more home games…does anyone want my tickets? Bohn needs to man up and fire Dan Hawkins immediately. The team, the fans, the students and probably most of his coaches have given up on him. Stop the bleeding and start the healing…fire the zen master now!

  3. Firing is appropriate only because public executions are illegal. I have heard of a team quitting when down early. Having one quit when up by 28 in the 4th takes a special coach and staff.

  4. Matt,

    I agree with everything you said except that he should have been fired last year. Mike Bohn and the losers that make up the administration took a big gamble that has completely backfired on them. They have proven themselves completely incapable of guiding a big time college program. Of course now that they have truly “burned it to the ground” they will pin all the blame on Hawkins. Sure he is a lousy coach who deserves to be fired, but who allowed him to remain in charge long after he demonstrated that he was incapable?

    I remember Bohn being interviewed by Alfred Williams last year and he kept feeding Alfred a bunch of political mumbo jumbo about why they were keeping Hawkins and why they let Barnett go when they did. Right or wrong about Barnett (and I still think they were wrong) the entire CU administration has a lot to answer for – after all they are the ones that have aided and abetted the demise of our proud program. Benson, DiStefano and Mike Bohn ought to be held accountable. They are timid and weak – and they have been entrusted with our program. They all deserve to be fired, but I am sure they will cover their collective butt, fire Hawkins and then go into damage control mode. My guess is that they have no contingency plan even after having over a year to prepare.

    What a joke!

  5. Mat and Phil,

    I think the loss to Kansas set the Colorado program back another year or two.
    I had believed that it would take 2-3 years for the Buffs to be competitive in the Pac-12, but now I’m thinking it will be 4-5 years.

    For the next ten months, the road losing streak will hang over the program like a black cloud. Where do you see a road win coming? At Nebraska? Nope. At Hawai’i in the 2011 opener? Tough. At Ohio State? Forget about it. Stanford? Probably not … and so it goes. Every road game will be about the streak. Every road game a reminder of how far the program has fallen.

    A win over Kansas would have given the Buffs a clean slate in 2011. Now, the specter of Dan Hawkins will continue to loom over the program well into next season.

    Damn. Damn. Damn.

  6. I was at the game and it was painful to watch. (Why do you stop running the ball in the 4th quater?) I agree it’s time to make a change. There is absolutely no reason the Buffs should’ve lost that game. I haven’t used the many expletives when describing my displeasure to friends in a long time.

    I think if Bohn doesn’t fire Hawkins in the next couple of days then he needs to go too. (Hawkins should’ve been fired on the sidelines after the game)

    Stuart, please tell us the end is near!

  7. Before this week there were those of us that thought it was best to let Dan Hawkins finish out the season as nothing positive could be accomplished by firing the coach midseason and bringing in an interim coach. I think we all now realize how important it is to fire Hawkins TODAY! Even if nothing positive can come from firing a coach midseason that is a thousand percent better than the alternative. And the alternative is letting Hawkins continue to disgrace CU in every way. Every day he is coach CU is going backwards- he must be fired now!

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