Colorado Daily – End of Dorrell Era

October 3rd

… CU in a few minutes … 

Without changing transfer rules, it may not matter who CU hires: “I wouldn’t wish that job on anybody”

Note … CU currently has “Progress Toward Degree” restrictions which limit CU’s ability to accept transfers (for example, the coaching staff submitted a list of 11 wide receiver transfer candidates last off-season, only four were deemed acceptable to transfer). CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano was asked about updating the rules at the Sunday press conference (see below). His reply: “I do not think it is a matter of altering the rules and policies”. 

Which is why the below statements are not surprising …

From CBS Sports … Colorado has seldom been worse — as a program, in terms of revenue and in terms of relevance. The once-grand program has cratered to a level not seen since Bill McCartney arrived in the early 1980s.

This is a crucial time for the Buffaloes. Before they hire a coach to replace Karl Dorrell, who was fired Sunday after an 0-5 start to his third season, they must prove they are committed to football.

CBS Sports spoke with several sources about the job Sunday. Without being prompted, all mentioned that “commitment” consideration as part of the job’s profile.

“The complications are it’s a difficult, complex landscape. It’s different than most people think it is,” said one coach familiar with Colorado.

“I wouldn’t wish that job on anybody,” said another coach.

That’s hard to believe at a school that has won a national championship. But currently, Colorado doesn’t know the conference in which it will be playing. Its recruiting has fallen apart. Now, it is looking for its fifth coach since 2010.

But wait, there’s more … 

Several fans have taken the time to take up the PTD issue with the President. Below is one letter which was shared with other Buff fans on the message board at I don’t know if a grassroots campaign will help, but it can’t hurt … 

My letter to the President:

Hello President Saliman

I’ve never written the university president before, but felt compelled to do so after watching the press conference announcing the dismissal of football coach Karl Dorrell.

Our chancellor stated the new football coach will have the full support of the university. However, he was later asked about the challenge of CU’s current transfer requirements which are a significant barrier compared to the universities we compete against. He essentially said nothing will change. Translation: The new football coach will NOT have the full support of the university.

I’m sure there are a multitude of issues you must address as the new president of CU. In a perfect world, the status of the football program should not be a priority issue for you. However, in the real world we live in, the football program and athletics in general is important to the overall brand of the school as being as a “winning” institution overall that students want to be a part of and that alumni want to participate in its success (with donation/support/etc). Many CU alumni are choosing to leave their “CU Sweatshirt” in the closet because they are tired of the embarrassment and pity they endure showing their CU spirit in public. I believe you understand this.

The issue with transfer credits and progress towards degree was a moderate barrier to CU’s athletics success prior to 2021. In 2022, with the open transfer and NIL realities that now exist, it is no longer a moderate issue – it is CRITICAL. With students free to transfer out of institutions, any institution with self imposed barriers to replenish with even greater student athletes back INTO the program will be at a serious disadvantage. This is particularly true in a sport like football just based on the number of participants needed to compete. I believe potential coaches and would-be donors understand this reality and CU’s ability to attract the best coaching and obtain donations from supporters will be impeded until this transfer/progress towards degree issue is addressed.

I don’t understand why CU seems to be the only school that can’t figure this out. The chancellor gave an insufficient answer to the question at the press conference. Surely CU can creatively address this, even without offering a physical education degree, as have a multitude of other public institutions many of whom have higher academic reputations that even CU does. Why can’t we look at how schools like Wisconsin, Michigan, Texas, UCLA, Washington, etc handle transfer credits for student athletes or even students in general. I’ve been told that even other CU campuses don’t have the same transfer issues that CU Boulder does.

In addition, I don’t think CU can afford to try to work through this issue in a slow, bureaucratic way. It is critical for you to pave the way and identify the people who will and can address this issue ASAP given the rapidly changing landscape with conference alignments/etc.

The chancellor’s answer in the press conference about this issue is that supporters of CU simply need to accept the notion that CU can successfully and consistently compete with the current transfer standards by better identifying and recruiting the smaller pool of student athletes that can meet the criteria. The last 20 years have demonstrated that this is insanity (doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results). (and it’s only exacerbated with new NCAA open transfer rules). I am glad we are pursuing a new football coach. But it’s not enough. If the University does not truly commit to supporting the program for success, we will be here again in 3 years – just as we have for the last 5+ coaches – after wasting more years, money, embarrassment, etc. We will have further wasted the opportunity for CU to fully realize what it should be, which is what former coach Bill McCartney called “the maximum college experience” for our students and the state of Colorado.

Thank you for your consideration of this.


Steve Haley, MD


October 2nd

… CU in a few minutes … 

Video: Press conference with Rick George, Phil DiStefano and Mike Sanford

From … Barely a few hours after announcing that he had relieved head football coach Karl Dorrell of his duties, Colorado Athletic Director Rick George made it clear that his expectations for the program haven’t changed.

“This place can be and will be a football powerhouse,” said George, who appeared at an evening press conference with CU Chancellor Phillip DiStefano and newly named interim head coach Mike Sanford. “We have the facilities, we have the location, we have the programs, we have everything that we need to be successful on the football field. My stance on this has never wavered. I’m more confident than ever in Colorado football. We will find a leader that will get us back to prominence. I’m energized about going out to find that individual.”

George made the decision to dismiss Dorrell after Saturday night’s 43-20 loss at Arizona, which dropped the Buffs to 0-5 this season. Dorrell, who was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year just two seasons ago, finished with an 8-15 record at Colorado.

George also dismissed defensive coordinator Chris Wilson on Sunday. Colorado is 129th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing more than 43 points per game.

“Karl’s a good man, I have a ton of respect for him, and I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors,” George said. “However, the on-the-field performance fell well short of our expectations. I know that starts with me. I hired Carl and it didn’t work out the way any of us wanted it to. There’s no excuses and I own my part in where we are today. I have to do what’s best for our student athletes and I felt that a change in leadership was needed at this time.”

Colorado’s search, which George said will begin immediately, will result in the Buffs hiring their third head coach in a four-year span, coming on the heels of Mel Tucker (hired in December 2018) and Dorrell (February 2020).

George, who served as a recruiting coordinator and assistant AD for football operations in the heyday of the Bill McCartney era at Colorado, appeared adamant that he believes CU can replicate that success.

“Our expectation for CU football is to become nationally prominent, that we are discussed on Game Day in a positive way,” George said. “That we compete every time we go out there and play and we win more than we lose. We consistently go to bowl games, occasionally we compete for a national championship and conference championships.”

Continue reading story here



October 2nd 

… CU in a few minutes … 

Rooney: For George, the opportunity at hand is one he can’t fumble

From the Daily Camera … If Dorrell’s CU tenure was a graph, that arrow has been descending rapidly toward the bottom right corner for nearly two full years.

The misery of Buffs fans aghast at the depths of program erosion under Dorrell’s watch finally ended on Sunday, as CU athletic director Rick George announced the Dorrell experiment was over after 23 games and an 8-15 record. The house cleaning also swept aside defensive coordinator Chris Wilson, whose shared vision with Dorrell of shifting the Buffs from a 3-4 front to a 4-3 has been an abject disaster.

It will be offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford, hired less than 10 months ago, taking over as interim head coach.

In the end, the downward spiral was too obvious for George to ignore. Dorrell guided the Buffs to a surprising 4-0 start during the shortened and delayed 2020 pandemic season, earning the Pac-12 Coach of the Year honor along the way. That asterisk start proved to be the high point.

Since then, the Buffs have gone 4-15, playing progressively worse along the way. The only one of those 15 losses that was by fewer than 15 points was last year’s 10-7 defeat against then-No. 5 Texas A&M in Denver. Last year, the Buffs boasted one of the worst offenses in the nation. Despite wholesale changes on the offensive staff, CU’s offense again has been dreadful. This year the Buffs have at least been more balanced. Wilson’s unit and its 4-3 front has been one of the worst defenses in the country, and is coming off what is, statistically, one of the worst defensive efforts in program history.

For George, the opportunity at hand is one he can’t fumble. George’s track record across the board during his tenure at CU is commendable, but the football component hasn’t happened. It is widely agreed that George made a sound pick in tabbing Mel Tucker to replace Mike MacIntyre in George’s first opportunity to hire a football coach. It wasn’t George’s fault Tucker bolted in February of 2020 for money CU wasn’t going to pay.

Finding Dorrell at an awkward stage of the calendar wasn’t the mistake the contract was. Regardless, the entire Dorrell era felt like a scramble. From the onset of the COVID pandemic to the shortened 2020 season to all the transfer-portaling and staff shakeups since, it was an eternal shuffle, a constant reboot without ever attaining a clean template to work with. When Year 3 of a coaching tenure has the feel of Year 1, that tenure is unlikely to reach Year 4.

Continue reading story here

Karl Dorrell and Chris Wilson fired; Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford named interim head coach

Press Release from CU Athletic Director Rick George …

This afternoon, I met with Head Football Coach Karl Dorrell and let him know that we were making a change in the leadership of our football program effective immediately. I also informed Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator Chris Wilson that he was being relieved of his duties as well. Mike Sanford will serve as the Interim Head Coach for the remainder of the season.

While I will keep the details of my meeting with Coach Dorrell between us, he was disappointed but professional, classy and concerned about our student-athletes, coaches and staff. He has always conducted himself with the utmost of integrity and character throughout his time in Boulder and has done a great deal of work in creating a positive culture in our program. However, our results over the past few years-including this season’s 0-5 start-are simply well below our expectations. Our student-athletes, our student body, our fans and our supporters deserve a successful football program. On behalf of Colorado Athletics, I want to wish Coach Dorrell and his family all of the best in their future endeavors and I thank them for their service to the University of Colorado.

There is still a great deal of football left to be played this season and in no way are we giving up on 2022. In fact, we made this change now to try and reinvigorate our program this year and I have complete confidence in Mike that he understands his charge to keep our team together and to win football games. Our student-athletes and coaches need our fans and community more than ever, and I hope that you will join me in our unrelenting support of them throughout the season.

While we are beginning a national coaching search, I do not expect an announcement on a new coach until the conclusion of the season. We are committed to a championship football program, and we will do everything that we can to make it happen. That means making significant investments into our coaches, support staff and student-athlete support services. To achieve our goal of competing for championships, we will do our part, and we need you to do yours. We need our fans to continue to pack Folsom Field this season and beyond. We need our generous donors to step up and help us invest in the program. We need local businesses and donors to provide NIL opportunities for all of our student-athletes. And, perhaps, most importantly, we need to come together as one Buffalo family if we are truly committed to achieving greatness.

After a bye week this weekend, we host California on October 15 and I trust that you will once again be at Folsom Field giving us an incredible home field advantage. Thank you for all that you do.

Go Buffs!
Rick George

From the Daily Camera … The Colorado football program is hitting the reset button yet again.

Following Saturday’s 43-20 loss at Arizona, CU administration decided to part ways with head coach Karl Dorrell and defensive coordinator Chris Wilson, according to a report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel.

CU has yet to confirm the moves.

Dorrell is in the third year of a five-year contract, while Wilson is in the second year of a three-year deal.

Per the terms of his contract, which runs through Dec. 31, 2024, Dorrell is entitled to claim the entirety of his remaining salary, which is roughly $8.7 million. Dorrell has a “duty to obtain new employment to mitigate” the costs of the buyout. If Dorrell obtains a coaching job over the next two years, his salary would reduce the amount CU owes him.

Wilson is making $600,000 this year and is slated to make $650,000 next year. He can claim 80% of his remaining salary, which would be roughly $600,000.

In addition, eight other assistants are under contract through at least the 2023 season, including offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, who is under contract through 2024.  It could cost CU as much as $3.7 million to buy out the other eight assistants. That cost could also be mitigated by their future employment opportunities.

Hired in February of 2020, Dorrell successfully navigated the Buffs through the COVID pandemic. CU started 4-0 in that shortened season of 2020 and finished 4-2, with a trip to the Valero Alamo Bowl – one of only two bowl appearances for the program in the last 15 years. The 4-0 start helped Dorrell land Pac-12 coach of the year honors.

Continue reading story here

The Buffaloes will owe Dorrell a hefty buyout, roughly eight-and-a-half million dollars on a contract that was set to go through 2024. But following a disastrous start to the 2022 campaign, which saw Colorado lose all five games by an average of 29.8 points, the Buffs needed to endure the financial hit in order to try to avoid further embarrassment on the gridiron.

Nine of Colorado’s 10 assistant coaches are currently on multi-year deals with the Buffaloes, with long-time running backs coach Darian Hagan being the exception. Wilson is owed $600,000 for 2023.

Phil McGeoghan ($375,000), Clay Patterson ($350,000), Kyle DeVan ($450,000), Gerald Chatman ($350,000), Mark Smith ($400,000), Rod Chance ($400,000) and Brett Maxie ($400,000) are under contract for a total of $2.725 million in 2023. First-year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford is under contract with Colorado for the next two years, for a total of $1.45 million. Earnings made by Dorrell, and any CU assistants that are not retained by its next head coach in 2023, will offset what the Buffaloes owe them.

Tweets from Pete Thamel at ESPN …

1:15 p.m., MT … Sources: Karl Dorrell has been dismissed as well.

1:12 p.m., MT .. Sources: Staff meeting soon at Colorado to reveal staff changes. Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson has been fired. More changes expected.


33 Replies to “Colorado Daily – End of Dorrell Era”

  1. For a COACH SEARCH, have serious candidates sit down with 5-6 current player representatives (with the AD present) and – with a Q and A session, try to have the candidates sell the players on staying at CU after he is hired….then let the players grade the candidates utilizing a 0-10 score as to who impressed them the most and let the AD – with perhaps – administrative representatives make a final decision utilizing all qualification/factors involved.

    Having an AD go through the recruiting of a coach is like having a Personal Resources Mgr interview and hire someone to run a 100 employee chemistry lab by interviewing recent science graduates with just a BS in biology and, perhaps, some teaching experience.

    Is CU going to play with the big boys ?….the HALVES…..or, are they going to be satisfied with being a half-arsed HALVE-NOT program forever ? —– Sorry R.G., to be successful in business, you need resources to compete with the best, so, WHERE’S DA MONEY ??????

    And………get rid of the ‘Wokes’ that rule CU.

    1. The best part? Lil mat ishbia ponied that up. Newly minted billionaire. Pretty funny story. Very much a clown, in my personal experience. A very wealthy clown now, but a clown nonetheless.

      Go Buffs

  2. Here’s some insight to Mac 1. He went into homes and talked about making CU a spiritual home for the recruits and selling his interest in making boys honorable men….and the Mamas bought in.

    Barry Switzer went into homes – and with Mamas wanting him to recruit their boy – they would have some vittles – of some sort – creating a olfactory overload in the kitchen. ‘Ol Barry, being the sly dog that he was/is – would say something similar to “My – O – My” what is that I’m smellin’ ? The Mama would say something similar to, let’s say, it’s baked skunk sh-t. Then Barry again being the ‘ol sly dog that he was, would say “O My Land,” skunk sh-t is my absolute favorite food…..then he would be invited to sit down and “chow-down” with the family……He didn’t even have to talk football other than to say, “Man, I sure want your 5-star butt in my backfield.” SOLD.

    Perhaps that’s poor humor to make a point…but I heard someone say Barry once told him that he’d never eaten more food than he did on recruiting trips.

    To recruit the best, you have to out-talk the competition. Out-talk, out Bullshit. Whatever it takes, but one thing needs to be stressed is the parents (especially the Mama) has to be SOLD on CU being the absolute best place for her baby.

    And…..ya’ don’t recruit 2 stars hoping they will develop into 4 stars. You don’t recruit from the bottom up…..ya’ recruit from the top and let other schools feed on the bottom dwellers. Then, convince the recruit that you’re going to recruit other 4 and 5 stars to compliment them and make them the best player they can become.

    Enuff school for the day RG. You need to recruit coaches who can sell skunk sh-t by the truck load.

    1. That was great haha been lookin for the right way to say that. Well said, yes you need good coaches but gotta have really good players. The way to get good recruits is with cache and charisma. Please find one this time.

      1. yo vk

        you be well also my sage man

        wish I could share a brew at the sink with ya, but logistics don’t work

        cheer on the phantom Buff and help him rise like the phoenix


  3. This is just such a sad state of affairs! Come on it should not be hard to recruit talent to Boulder! How can Kansas State or Iowa State field better teams?! No offense to those schools, but come on man!

  4. ….. and the saying goes something like “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!” One or two mistakes at picking a head coach I can understand, but this will be something like five in a row. Were all those HC’s (and staff) incompetent? If so, what does that say about the AD’s, administration, and search companies who recommended them? Why weren’t they successful – at least a little bit? If George doesn’t know why his coaches are failing, he needs to get feedback from those he fired and fix the real problems.

    We aren’t going to get quality coaches and recruits who are willing to stay unless we fix the real problems, and there is no indication that the administrators have a clue what they are. Once again, we’re three years out from even an indication that a credible program is in place.

  5. Good on Steve, for sending that letter/email. I’ve had a similar exchange w/ Todd. He agrees that academic and athletic excellence are not mutually exclusive – and I choose to take his thoughts and words at face value. We’ll see if he and Phil do anything about it.

    They also have to work to change the narrative/perception of the CU football program, and overall athletic priorities as a whole. Yeah, winning will help that. But, the story needs to be told – and sold – from the top.

    Go Buffs

  6. Honestly think like our other searches we are going to have a hard time finding someone from the ‘named’ lists…and it’s going to have to be like KD a bit ‘unconventional’.
    Shot in the dark guess (not preference): Slick Rick pt. 2 (would be hilarious to resign KD as WR coach)

  7. Sheesh it’s tough out there
    Badger coach Paul Chryst fired too.

    The ol what have you done for me lately


    ON Wisconsin.!!!

  8. Although results on the field made this move a requirement, it is unfortunate when the seemingly “good guys” in the sport (those who care about their players) find themselves unemployed. On an ironic note, the timing is such that Coach Dortell completes his head coaching career with a winning record, albeit by one game.

    On that note, just like Coach McCartney, I hope those who make the selection prioritize the winning pedigree/background as a/the tip priority in this search. Coach
    McCartney won as a coach in football and basketball. He won in Michigan and he could motivate individuals and teams. I hope the choice possesses that background and has that special quality.

  9. Also, who cares about the next coach until we run Phil Distefano and the rest of the academia elite out of Boulder. Get rid of these egg heads that hates Football and sports as a whole.

  10. The Buffs should go after Riley’s brother who is the OC at TCU. Garrett Riley, get him now. He’s the best up and coming coach.

      1. Totally agree. But since they’ve already fired as coaches… get Riley why he is still undervalued. TCU is on pace to win the Big 12, watching his Offense destroy the Sooners with smart innovative attack , review the game, he’s going to follow in his brother footsteps.

        Again, if we don’t get rid of Phil DiStefano and the other academia elite… it won’t matter who we hire. Instead of worrying about NIL , we should set up a go fund me, hire a PI to start digging up dirt on Phil and his cronies… and get their asses tossed from CU… having them step down in disgrace is the only way to get rid of the Tenured socialists, that run the Hedge Fund called University of Colorado.

  11. I find it interesting that Sanford is going to step back from play calling and focus on coaching and motivating. To be honest I am interested in seeing a new play caller. Let Sanford motivate the team, but let’s see if Clay Patterson can generate some more offense. To be honest I think a blind squirrel will be better than Wilson, hopefully Chatman is able to fight some of the ship.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. An OC who hasn’t been here for a year (and who’s offense has been abysmal) does not make a great deal of sense. It’s an interim title and there is likely not an internal candidate on the current staff. Why not go with someone with at least some history? I absolutely would have gone with Darian Hagan.

  12. Welp I was hoping it could turn but man the DC turned out a disaster.
    no changes made to get better.

    Alrighty next year is right in front of us.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: Win a couple this year toooooo Like 6

  13. Let the speculation begin. What are the names you think we should be looking at? I’ll get the ball rolling.

    In no particular order, let me suggest the following:

    Urban Myer – I know the NFL was a nightmare, but this man knows how to do this and the fact that he needs a redemption story may be what a program like Colorado needs to get and keep someone like him.

    Jon Gruden – see most of the above. Same redemption story needed.

    Deion Sanders – Is Prime Time ready to take on a challenge like this? Would he want to take on a challenge like this? I think yes and yes. I’m not yet sold that Sanders really knows how to do what would need to be done at CU, but I’d absolutely give him the benefit of the doubt.

    You’ll notice one thing in common about these three names, none of them are the young hungry assistant that most people (including most recruits) have never heard of. These are splash hires with big names that could recruit immediately (HS and Transfers) and right the ship quickly. Rick George has got to swing for the fences on this one, or he will (and should) find himself next to KD on the unemployment line.

    1. Would love to see prime time in Boulder. Don’t see it happening though. No thanks to urb. Dude is a dumpster fire of a human.

      I think I lean heavily on grimes, if he is interested. Kenny dillingham would also get a call, we’re it my call to make. Alex grinch could may be interesting too.

      Go Buffs

  14. Really can’r blame KD, RG offered him $10M to add ot his retirement fund and he didn’t even have to move. Just had to pretend to coach for a few years and he is all set. This one is on RG.

  15. It looks like it will be a long time before we can dig ourselves out the hole we are in. Once such a proud program has become a bottom feeder. I just want to see some progress.

  16. Realize it’s just an “interim” gig but given what a dumpster fire his offense has been, promoting Mike Sanford to serve as Head Coach for duration of season feels like a concise summary of the current state of the program.

    It all begins anew once more in Boulder.

  17. Dorrell should have been fired for cause when he shoved the cameraman. That failure by Rick George cost CU $10 million. Hiring Tucker without him ever stepping foot on campus was another major gaffe by Lance Carl and RG too. The state of CU football is on them, as much as the coaches they hired.

    What’s next?

  18. It had to be done, KD just wasn’t going about “righting the ship: the right way
    Don’t even get me started about the D
    Tough business, but results matter, even if it is measured in competitiveness and improvement until the W’s come
    Go Buffs, and GET THE RIGHT MAN

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