Spring Practices … First Look: Head Coach Mike MacIntyre

Program Note … Spring practices are underway (Spring “Showcase”: Saturday, March 17th, 1:00 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).

Previously posted: QuarterbacksWide ReceiversTight Ends/FullbacksRunning Backs … Offensive LineDefensive LineLinebackersDefensive Backs

… Previously posted: Spring Practices: First Look-Coaches (Offense) … Spring Practices:First Look-Coaches (Defense)

Coaching Staff

Coaches no longer with the team …

— Brian Lindgren … Co-offensive coordinator in 2016-17 … Quarterbacks coach since 2013

— Jim Jeffcoat … Assistant coach, defensive line coach since 2013


Coaching Staff, 2018 season … 

— Mike MacIntyre, head coach

— Darrin Chiaverini, Co-offensive coordinator / wide receivers coach / recruiting coordinator

— Klayton Adams, Co-offensive coordinator / offensive line coach


— Kurt Roper, assistant coach, quarterbacks

— Darian Hagan, assistant coach, running backs

— Gary Bernardi, assistant coach, tight ends and H-backs

— D.J. Eliot, Defensive coordinator / outside linebackers coach

— ShaDon Brown, defensive passing game coordinator / secondary coach

— Ross Els, assistant coach, inside linebackers / special teams coordinator

— Kwahn Drake, assistant coach, defensive line

— Ashley Ambrose, assistant coach, cornerbacks

— Drew Wilson, Director of Football Strength and Conditioning


Statistics … Mike MacIntyre

— Record at Colorado: 25-38 (41-59 overall)

— Home: 15-15 … Road: 6-20 … Neutral: 4-3

— Ranked opponents: 2-17 … Unranked: 23-21

— Pac-12 record: 12-33 … Non-conference: 13-5


On February 22nd, the day before the opening of Spring practices, 2018, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntye was asked about the benefits of being in a stable situation, considering that his resume indicated that he moved from school to school fairly often during his career as a coach, usually starting over every few years in a different locale. Mike MacIntyre’s response:

We love it here at Colorado, I’ve always wanted to be a major college football coach. After our great year a year ago I could have gone quite a few places, but I didn’t make a big deal about it, and we decided as a family, with our future here and our relationship with Rick George and the chancellor and all the people, we felt like we could stay here for a long time and make it a special place. We decided to do that, and we decided to stay. We love where we live. We’re here to stay, and enjoy it and love the area.  We like what we’ve built here, and I like the infrastructure of our athletic department, and I like the infrastructure of what we have in our academics, and our strength program. 

Okay, now go back up to the numbers Mike MacIntyre has posted at Colorado … 25-38 overall, with just a 12-33 record in Pac-12 conference games.

At CU we have a coach who has finished in last place in the Pac-12 South five of his six seasons in Boulder. Recall that, prior to this decade, Colorado last finished alone in last place in conference play … in 1915.

I could have gone quite a few places.

Granted, Mike MacIntyre’s resume reflects that he turned around a moribund San Jose State program, and that he turned around a moribund Colorado program.

And there were certainly rumors of mutual interest in the past year or so between Ole Miss and coach MacIntyre … and perhaps other schools as well.

But I have to say, I came away from the MacIntyre quote non-plussed.

Sure, we lost three of four games last year we should have won … losses attributable to a lack of leadership both on and off the field. Yeah, we finished in last place again, just a year after we finished first. But you should be comforted by the fact that at least I didn’t leave. 


No one questions that Mike MacIntyre inherited a dumpster fire when he came to Boulder after the 2012 season. Colorado was not only the worst team in the Pac-12 when he arrived, but, arguably, the worst team in Power-Five conference football.

No one questions that Mike MacIntyre, as he did at San Jose State, turned around a program at Colorado – in relatively short order – which became nationally ranked and played for a conference championship.

What Buff fans do have a right to question, however, is whether Mike MacIntyre can sustain success.

After turning around San Jose State, MacIntyre bolted for Colorado. Since MacIntyre left after the 2012 season, the Spartans have yet to post another winning record. San Jose State went 6-6 the year after MacIntyre led them to an 11-2 record … then 3-9 the following year.

Would San Jose State have been able to maintain success had Mike MacIntyre stayed in northern California?

We’ll never know.

Will Mike MacIntyre be able to sustain success in Boulder?

We’re about to find out.

Based upon how the Joe Tumpkin arrest played out for Mike MacIntyre, no one could blame him for being soured on his status at the University of Colorado. At a time when MacIntyre should have been been bathing in the glory of his national Coach-of-the-Year success, he was caught up in a legal mess not of his own making. Objectively, it seemed like MacIntyre, when confronted with the Tumpkin allegations, behaved as you would have wanted him to … but was drawn into the scandal nonetheless.

That was last spring.

This spring, it’s all back to peaches and cream.

The rest of Mike MacIntyre’s response to the question about stability certainly seems to indicate as much:

The biggest deal for me was having stability in our staff, and the work in congress to get the new contracts, and for me that is a huge stability factor. As we get better, people pluck our people, but if they are under contract and making a decent salary then I’m going to be able to keep continuity.  We want people to be able to grow, but I don’t want to be ravished and have to look around at an empty cupboard. That is a big deal, because it creates stability in recruiting, and it helps stability in your team, and it helps to keep continuity of the staff.  They are doing a lot of things at the University of Colorado to help us be successful in the long run.

MacIntyre’s reference is to the new law in the state of Colorado which allows for more than six long-term contracts in the athletic department. For the first time in school history, every CU assistant coach has at least a two year contract, removing one of the last remaining excuses for lack of success in Boulder:

Thanks to a $100 million fund-raising effort, unheard of in the annals of Colorado athletics, the Buffs have an indoor practice facility and a Champions Center which is comparable to almost every other school in the conference.

The athletic department has, at long last, the seeming support and appreciation of the President and (at least a majority of) the Board of Regents.

The assistant coaches, while still underpaid in the latest battlefield in the never-ending arms race of collegiate athletics, are at least under contract with moderate increases in pay.

Now all that is left is to see if Mike MacIntyre and his staff can turn the stable foundation into a program which consistently posts winning records, and, on occasion, competes for championships.

The overall theme is we’re trying to be more self-disciplined at each position, said MacIntyre at his press conference to open Spring practices, more team-oriented at each position and understanding that and more mentally and physically tough in each area for the whole team. That’s what you do as your building a team, so you do that in the spring and during the winter workouts. It all goes hand in hand. 

If Mike MacIntyre goes 9-3 with his 2018 Buff team, will he again be tempted to leave?

Conversely, if Mike MacIntyre goes 3-9 with his 2018 Buff team, will he be asked to leave?

Soon enough, we’ll see how the 2018 season unfolds …



7 Replies to “First Look: Mike MacIntyre”

  1. Buffs.

    Lotta good talk from Mac and the other coaches blah blah blah.

    DejaVu all over again.

    Hurry September……………I wanna see what they got.

  2. Good article. I’m glad Mac2 came here and did his turnaround work but it still isn’t clear whether he sustain it. If he doesn’t produce a bowl season this year that will show, IMO, that he cannot do it. One of my concerns relates to the hiring of his assistants. As one of my mentors once said: “A players hire A players, B players hire C players”. When Leavitt was hired, he was an A player and the positive results showed. Mac2 likes to be in the limelight, have control, and it appears to like assistant coaches who are non-threatening and don’t make waves. That smacks of a B player approach. I hope Chev becomes the A player we need on the O side. I want to see the team fired up and ready to play for games this year. Go Buffs!!!

      1. Dilly Codger.

        Hope you are well even if still clueless.

        Get off your snow bank


        Note: I play #6 and #8 only.

        Note 2: Actually I only play what I find. I’m retired.

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