Coaching Carousel

December 7th

Phil Loadholt hired as CU’s new offensive line coach

From the Daily Camera … Former NFL lineman Phil Loadholt is coming to Boulder to work with Coach Prime.

BuffZone confirmed Wednesday night through multiple sources that Colorado head coach Deion Sanders has hired Loadholt to coach the Buffaloes’ offensive line.

The former Oklahoma analyst and Minnesota Vikings starter is replacing Bill O’Boyle, who left this week to coach the linemen at San Diego State.

Loadholt has been an offensive line analyst at Oklahoma the past two seasons. He held a similar role at Mississippi from 2020-21 and also worked on the staff at Central Florida in 2018-19. In addition, he participated in the NFL’s Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship with the Vikings in 2019.

In a video posted by Thee Pregame Show on Wednesday, Sanders said he had already hired an offensive line coach, but didn’t say who has been hired.

Although he didn’t mention Loadholt, Sanders said this about his new line coach: “Offensive line position has already been filled. A guy with plenty of experience, plenty wherewithal, able to communicate to all the kids from top to bottom. Track record is wonderful. Where he derived from is a tremendous Power 5, and I love everything about it. When he interviewed with me, he knocked it out of the park. He’s ready and prepared. As a matter of fact, he’s already in house.”

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December 6th

Vincent Dancy promoted to outside linebackers coach

From TheePregameShow … Vincent Dancy left his position as Mississippi Valley State’s head coach last winter to become a quality control analyst for Deion Sanders at Colorado. One year later he’s been promoted to outside linebackers coach on the CU staff.

Deion Sanders made the announcement on Tuesday during a Zoom meeting with members of the media.

“This guy is one of the smartest guys on the staff.  He just needed opportunity and guess what happened? He got opportunity. Vincent Dancy  is going to be a coordinator one day somewhere and then consequently a head coach. One of the most intelligent coaches and can recruit and when he talks to the team, when I put him up in front of the team you could tell he was a head coach. He demands attention he was stuttering or stumbling. He has it,” Sanders said.

Dancy drew the praise and admiration of Sanders when they coached against one another in the Southwestern Athletic Conference when Coach Prime coached at Jackson State.  Dancy spoke last year about why he left his head coaching position to join the Colorado staff with Deion Sanders.

“We developed a relationship that was that’s just pure genuine,” Dancy said. “He accepted me. I accepted him. He took me under his wing to teach me and helped me grow in my profession, and meet people that I probably would have never met before. He’s a man of his word.”

The position became open after the departure of Nick Williams, who coached the defensive ends in the 2023 season.  Williams left his post at Colorado to join the staff at Syracuse.


December 5th

Darian Hagan leaving CU to coach running backs at San Diego State

From the Daily Camera … Colorado Buffaloes legend Darian Hagan is leaving Boulder.

According to BuffZone sources, Hagan has accepted an offer to coach running backs at San Diego State, joining the staff of former Buffs offensive coordinator Sean Lewis.

Hagan, who quarterbacked the Buffs to their only national title in 1990, has coached running backs at CU for 12 years in two different stints, from 2006-10 and from 2016-22.

When CU hired head coach Deion Sanders a year ago, Hagan was the only assistant coach retained, but not as a coach. He moved into an ambassador role under Sanders, but has desired to get back on the field in a coaching capacity. He will now have that opportunity with Lewis, who was the Buffs’ offensive coordinator this past year and was hired as San Diego State’s head coach last week.

Hagan, 53, is a native of the Los Angeles area and will have an opportunity to move closer to his hometown. For the majority of his adult life, however, Boulder has been Hagan’s home.

Elected to the CU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002, Hagan was one of the best option quarterbacks in college football history. He went 28-5-2 as a starting quarterback with the Buffs – the most wins by a CU quarterback – including 20-0-1 in Big Eight play, helping CU to three consecutive conference titles.

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December 4th

Offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle joining Sean Lewis at San Diego State

From … During Sean Lewis’ introductory press conference on Wednesday, he said his first order of business was talking to the current players and staff in the program. Part of his evaluation was determining which coaches from Brady Hoke’s staff should be retained and which coaches from the outside should be brought in.

Among the new coaches Lewis’ is bringing in is offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle multiple sources told the East Village Times. O’Boyle and Lewis worked together the past six seasons at Colorado and Kent State.

“It goes back to the philosophy of controlling the line of scrimmage,” Lewis said about O’Boyle at a Colorado press conference in February. “He’s a guy that I’ve done great work with the past five years. We’ve been in the foxhole together.”

He is replacing Mike Goff at SDSU. Goff’s exit was a key reason starters Cade Bennett, Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson, and Tommy Mirabella entered the transfer portal. Bennett and BCD have already announced offers from multiple P5 schools.

In their place could potentially be linemen who previously played for O’Boyle. Colorado offensive linemen C Van Wells and Gerad Christian-Lichtenhan have entered the transfer portal. O’Boyle brought players with him from Kent State when he moved to Colorado. NIL opportunities could prove vital in these pursuits. Sources told the East Village Times that Bennett has received multiple six-figure offers.

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Houston hires Tulane’s Willie Fritz to be the Cougars’ next football coach

From ESPN … Houston has hired Tulane’s Willie Fritz to be the Cougars’ next football coach, the school announced Sunday.

Fritz led Tulane to one of the best stretches in school history, as the Green Wave have reached a bowl game in five of the past six seasons and have gone 23-4 the past two years. Prior to his arrival, Tulane went to one bowl game from 2003 to 2015.

“No one in the country has been better at leading and developing student-athletes than Willie Fritz,” Houston athletic director Chris Pezman said in a statement. “Over his more than three-decades of head coaching experience, he has guided several football programs to historic success.”

Offensive coordinator Slade Nagle is set to serve as Tulane’s interim coach, sources told ESPN.

Fritz led Tulane to the American Athletic Conference title last year, and the Green Wave lost to SMU in the title game Saturday. His signature win at Tulane came in the Cotton Bowl after the 2022 season, a scintillating 46-45 victory over quarterback Caleb Williams and USC.

Fritz will replace Dana Holgorsen, who was fired after three losing seasons in five years. Holgorsen finished with a 31-28 record and is due a $14.8 million buyout, which is subject to mitigation.

Fritz said in a statement that he was “humbled and honored” for the opportunity to coach at Houston.

“There is no ceiling for success, with the incredible fan support, excellent facilities, talented young men and a collective desire to compete for championships,” Fritz said. “We will build a program that all Coogs can be proud of, and I cannot wait to see the results.”

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December 3rd

Defensive ends coach Nick Williams to Coach Prime: “Your direction and wisdom has made me a better coach and a better man”



December 1st

Baylor sticking with Dave Aranda despite 3-13 record over last 16 games

From CBS Sports … Baylor decided to bring football coach Dave Aranda back for a fifth year in 2024 despite going 3-9 this season, its worst record since 2017. However, there are big changes coming to the Bears’ coaching staff after Baylor decided to move on from offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes.

Multiple sources confirm to CBS Sports that the Bears will hire Jake Spavital as offensive coordinator. Spavital was head coach at Texas State from 2019-22 and spent the 2023 season running the offense at California. He will be Aranda’s third offensive coordinator in five seasons.

Also, Aranda, a longtime defensive coordinator, will call the defensive plays for the first time since he has been a head coach.

Aranda led Baylor to its best season in school history in 2021, a 12-2 campaign capped off with a Big 12 championship and Sugar Bowl victory. However, things have slipped dramatically since then. After the Bears were picked to win the Big 12 in 2022, Baylor posted back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2009. Aranda is 9-16 in that span and has lost 13 of his last 16 games. Baylor has lost nine straight home games against FBS competition.

“Dave is still growing as a head coach,” Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said in an interview with “He has coached fewer games as a head coach than either of our previous two coaches did before they got to our campus. And when we are all long gone, we want people to talk about Dave’s tenure with the same reverence we have when we talk about [all-time wins leader] Grant Teaff and his team at Baylor.”

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November 28th

Oregon State promotes defensive coordinator Trent Bray to head coach

From CBS Sports … Oregon State is promoting defensive coordinator Trent Bray to head coach to replace Jonathan Smith, the program announced Tuesday. Bray, 41, has been with the Beavers since 2018, serving first as linebackers coach and as defensive coordinator for the past two and a half seasons.

“I’m excited to be able to announce Trent as our next head coach,” Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes said in a statement. “After interviewing several qualified candidates, we realized our top choice, Trent, has already been a mainstay at the Valley Football Center and Reser Stadium. He’s been a part of Beaver Nation for a long time and love for this place is real. The connection and trust he has built with our student athletes is unmatched. His energy and determination as head coach will be a catalyst for continued program success.”

Bray played linebacker for the Beavers from 2002-05. The Pullman, Washington native began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arizona State in 2008. He previously worked on the Oregon State staff from 2012 to 2014, then made a stop at Nebraska from 2015-17 before landing back at his alma mater when Smith got the job in 2018. Smith left for Michigan State after leading the Beavers to an 8-4 regular season.

“I’d like to thank Scott Barnes and President Jayathi Murthy for this opportunity,” Bray said. “I’ve been a part of Oregon State for a long time, as a coach and a student-athlete, and know how special Beaver Nation is. I’m excited to lead an outstanding group of men our fans can be proud of.”

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Tight ends coach Tim Brewster lands in Charlotte

Tweets from Coach Brewster … #NCHSCA just know our doors are always open and ready to talk ball!! So happy to be back in North Carolina!! … Man you talk about impressive @BiffPoggi!!! This guy WOW!!!! The City of Charlotte buckle up cause Biff and Brew ready to roll!!! #Go49ers!! … I Promise I Ain’t Hard To Find!!! …  All Ballers Hit Me Up!!!

Report: Sean Lewis in line to take head coaching job at San Diego State

From Pete Thamel at ESPN… Sources: San Diego State has targeted Colorado OC Sean Lewis as the school’s next coach, with a deal expected to come together soon. Lewis was a successful head coach at Kent State, where he led the school to its first-ever bowl win and had consistently high-end offenses.


November 26th

CU’s tight end coach Tim Brewster resigns

From the Daily Camera …  It didn’t take long for the first change to be made on the Colorado coaching staff.

On Sunday morning, tight ends coach Tim Brewster announced on X that he has resigned.

“I’ve resigned and just want to say Thank You to Prime!” Brewster wrote on X. “Just a truly amazing man and leader!! … wish staff players much continued success!!”

Following CU’s 23-17 loss at Utah on Saturday, head coach Deion Sanders said there would be “a few” changes to the coaching staff this offseason.

Brewster was in the first year of a two-year deal that paid him $400,000 this year and was set to pay him $425,000 for the 2024 season.

In a coaching career that has spanned nearly 40 years, Brewster came to CU after spending the 2022 season with Sanders at Jackson State. Prior to that, he coached tight ends at Florida (2020-21), North Carolina (2019), Texas A&M (2018) and Florida State (2013-17). His career also includes four seasons (2007-10) as the head coach at Minnesota and two seasons (2005-06) as the tight ends coach of the Denver Broncos.

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Big 12 Opening: Houston parts ways with Dana Holgorsen

From ESPN … Houston on Sunday fired football coach Dana Holgorsen, who had three losing seasons in his five years at the Cougars’ helm.

Houston went 4-8 in its inaugural Big 12 season, which included a loss at Rice in September and three straight defeats to end the year. The Cougars finished 2-7 in the Big 12, with their wins coming in overtime against Baylor and on a last-second, 49-yard touchdown against West Virginia.

The Cougars will owe Holgorsen nearly $14.8 million in buyout money, but his deal includes a mitigation clause that could lower the amount if he takes another job.

“Over the course of his five seasons with the Cougars, Dana made strides in our football program in many ways and laid the groundwork for our transition to the Big 12 Conference,” athletic director Chris Pezman said in a statement. “Ultimately, the results on the field fell below our standards of excellence. We are grateful to Dana for his efforts and commitment to our student-athletes and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

Holgorsen’s time at Houston included some bright spots. The Cougars received an invitation to the Big 12, and they went 12-2 in 2021, including a Birmingham Bowl win over Auburn.

Houston is expected to execute a focused search, with sources telling ESPN that Tulane’s Willie Fritz and UTSA’s Jeff Traylor are among the top targets.

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Candidate to watch and latest buzz: Tulane’s Willie Fritz and UTSA’s Jeff Traylor. Industry sources would be surprised if Holgorsen isn’t replaced by Fritz or Traylor, both of whom would be strong choices. Both men have significantly elevated programs in cities near Houston. Fritz is 23-3 since the start of the 2022 season with an AAC title, a Cotton Bowl championship and a No. 9 finish. His team will play for another AAC title and a likely New Year’s Six bowl berth this week against SMU. Traylor, a former championship-winning high school coach in Texas, is 38-14 at UTSA with consecutive Conference USA titles in 2021 and 2022. He was rumored as a potential target for Houston last year.

Outside of the top two, Houston could look at UNLV coach Barry Odom, former TCU coach Gary Patterson, Texas State coach GJ Kinne and former Virginia Tech and Memphis coach Justin Fuente. Odom led UNLV to the Mountain West championship game in his first season at the school, and the 34-year-old Kinne, a former star high school quarterback in Texas, is viewed as one of the more exciting young coaches in the country.

November 25th

Oregon State loses Jonathan Smith to Michigan State

From ESPN … Michigan State hired Oregon State football coach Jonathan Smith for the same role Saturday, hours after both teams ended their regular seasons.

Smith, 44, completed the regular season Friday night as No. 16 Oregon State fell to rival Oregon 31-7 on the road, dropping to 8-4 on the season. A source tells ESPN that Smith met with the Beavers’ team late Saturday morning to inform them of his decision to leave for Michigan State.

Later Saturday, Oregon State named Kefense Hynson, who coaches wide receivers and is the passing game coordinator, the Beavers’ interim coach.

“As I start this next chapter of my coaching career, I want to first thank all the players, coaches and colleagues I have worked with the last six years,” Smith said in a statement Saturday. “I will cherish the memories and friendships. I also wanted to express my deepest gratitude to the people of OSU/Corvallis for your support. When I first arrived as a freshman college student, I had no idea the opportunities and relationships this community would provide for me and my family. The collective impact you have made makes it impossible for me to thank everyone individually, but I am forever grateful.”

The former Beavers quarterback finishes 34-35 in six seasons at his alma mater, but 18-7 since the start of the 2022 campaign. He shared Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors with Washington’s Kalen DeBoer in 2022, when Oregon State went 10-3 and finished No. 17 nationally.

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Candidate to watch and latest buzz: Bronco Mendenhall. The former BYU and Virginia coach has wanted to get back on the sideline, entering searches at Colorado and Northwestern. Mendenhall, 57, is a former Oregon State defensive back who started his coaching career at his alma mater and served as defensive coordinator in 1996. He’s 135-81 as an FBS coach and understands the region well. Mendenhall also recognizes the challenges of a unique conference situation after coaching BYU when the program became an FBS independent.

Another interesting candidate would be Bryan Harsin, who went 69-19 at Boise State with four AP Top 25 finishes and knows the Northwest very well. Others to watch include San Jose State coach Brent Brennan, a former Ducks assistant, as well as Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford and Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley. If Barnes wants to look internally, offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren would make sense. He has worked alongside Smith since 2018 and also has coordinator experience at Colorado and San Jose State.


22 Replies to “Coaching Carousel”

    1. You’ll be happy to know, Jordan Seaton just committed to CU. Well, to Prime at CU. Hopefully he sticks. Seems likely, from what I’m reading. Someone probably ponied up some cash. Nice work!

      Go Buffs

    2. I don’t know that it is a guarantee for Shurmer. He may be happy/want to go back up as an analyst–where he can just help them put the puzzle pieces together and macro-manage. Obviously, PS is respected by Prime/AD, the remaining AC’s and the players–but ultimately it will come down to what Prime/AD want and PS both want going forward.

      Being a college OC: you have to recruit; evaluate players; probably be the QB coach; implement the offense; organize your offensive staff; call the plays; and take the heat. Your work extremely long hours and micro-manage. Maybe, maybe not PS wants to do that, or Prime may have another guy in mind.

      As an analyst: you are a valuable part of the staff, but macro-manage to a large degree. Looking back, irrespective of SL and PS calling the plays as co-coordinator last season, I think that he got Prime, the ACs, AD and players attention with his wisdom/input about the entire Offensive coaching package. As the season wore on, I saw a disconnect in game-planning; coordination between the coach above in the box and the OC on the sideline; and then the inability to implement a good offense.

      At the highest levels of college football, I think teams are using both the OC and analyst in tandem.

  1. A lot of talk in the national media (and on this board) about how much worse Shurmur’s offense was than Lewis’s. Out of curiosity gathered the following stats (excluding the TCU game because nobody knew what the Buffs’ offense would be at that point, but everyone quickly adapted after that game. I also removed yards and points for overtime as those skew the comparison.

    Team Played Total yards offense Points scored Opponent’s rank tot defense at year’s end
    Nebraska 454 36 13
    CSU 368 28 105
    Oregon 199 6 22
    USC 564 41 119
    ASU 295 27 89
    Stanford 507 36 129
    UCLA 242 16 11
    Average 375.5714 27.14286 69.71429

    Oregon St 238 19 35
    Arizona 399 31 36
    WSU 255 14 78
    Utah 262 17 17
    Average 273.5 20.25 41.5

    Looking at it from that perspective, there wasn’t a huge difference between the two, especially considering that the defense ranking average for Shurmur’s opponents was much better. Not saying Shurmur would be my first (or second, or third) choice for OC; there have to be better ones out there. But it doesn’t look to me like Lewis was so much better. He did get more wins, of course, but with the exception of the Huskers, against some suspect defenses.

    1. That’s an interesting snapshot. I don’t have the vitriol for Shurmur that a lot of people seem to. But, I really don’t have a lot of hate for much, and in Shurmur’s case, not a doncos fan, so I don’t carry that baggage either.

      What I do know is that everyone, Prime included, knows you have to be able to run the ball, and stop the run. He’s now stating the obvious, so we’re all clear. Now, can they get the dudes who can do that? I believe they can, and will.

      We’ll see.

      Go Buffs

  2. I think that’s a great move by Lewis, and for Darian. I’ll be rooting for them as SDSU plots its way into the top tier of college athletics.

    Go Buffs

  3. Regarding Pat as OC. Anyone notice that he is often a 1 YEAR coach at that position??? Yes he has many years in the NFL but other than early on in Philly he is 1 and done by the NFL team!!! Somebody please tell Prime not to confuse many years of poor work experience with many years of GOOD work experience. He is a dull guy, kids won’t be excited to play for, can’t recruit a ham sandwich and is turning off the fans and alumni base. Let’s see, top exciting recruiters kids want to play for like Lewis and Williams are going, dull Pat is staying. Prime WTF are you thinking!!!

    1. The reason he wasn’t in Minnesota very long is he did such a good job fixing the offense (NFC title game with Case Keenum at QB) he got a head coaching job.

  4. report is Hankerson is hitting the portal. Now its counter productive. Is there a coach grind against holdovers? Does Hankerson still see denial on the run game?

    1. With Dylan Edwards and a healthy Alton McCaskill coming back, and an uncertain running game, it makes sense for Hankerson to move on, and to have an extra scholarship for other units. Hankerson had 30 carries in the last six games. The writing was certainly on the wall.

      1. still scratching my head. I know Edwards probably had the most carries but he didnt do any better. On fact none of them did any better. I know it was the O line and the vanilla play design for the most part……but if anyone needed an extra blocker less……

  5. any rumors anywhere? on candidates for the OC? Will Coach find one who he would be willing to let create a running game?

  6. Sounds like Aranda lost a lot of contributing players after his first year. I wonder if he still knows where more Baylor bodies are buried.

  7. Curious as to what they are going to pay the new OSU coach, OSU is looking at some serious financial issues coming up.

    1. Hopefully they get to split $350mill or so with wazzu, and that will bridge the gap until everyone realizes flying the swim, lacrosse, baseball and tennis teams across the country every other week is unsustainable.

      Go Buffs

  8. Be nice to know who was responsible for the paralysis on offense. However Lewis does at SDS will probably be our only answer. Anyone Poaching Schurmur…….anyone? please?

    1. I think Lewis’ offense needs a dual-threat qb, and for whatever reason he couldn’t design a scheme around SS as more of a pro style pocket passer. I wish him well. Personally I think a his offense with a mobile qb and up tempo would have been fun to watch at CU.

  9. I wondered if part of Lewis losing play calling duties was because they knew (he, Prime, and everyone) that he’d be gone after this year anyway? Who knows? I hope he does well at SDSU.

    Go Buffs

  10. Harsin makes a little more sense, because I think he would have an easier time assembling a staff, he has success in the PNW. Bronco makes sense too and has had success. I wonder where Andy Avalos will end up–BS did not do great, but they are in the MWC title game, so he recruited well. HC maybe not, but could be a coordinator on either of those staffs.

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