CU Assistant Coach Tracker

March 9th

CU makes it official: Alabama “Senior Special Assistant” Sal Sunseri hired to coach defensive tackles

Press Release from … Sal Sunseri has been hired as the final position coach for Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ staff at Colorado, he announced Thursday.  Sunseri replaces Patrick Hill, who was hired in late January before accepting a job with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings last week.

Sunseri will coach the defensive tackles and comes to Colorado from Alabama, where he served as Senior Special Assistant to Head Coach Nick Saban for the past four seasons and worked with the outside linebackers, also working closely with CU Defensive Coordinator Charles Kelly on that staff.

It was his second stint at Alabama, also coaching there from 2009-11, helping the 2011 Crimson Tide defense become one of the best defenses in college football history.  Between Alabama stints, he worked as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee in 2011-12 and as the defensive line coach then the defensive head coach under Jimbo Fisher at Florida State in 2013-14, helping the Seminoles to a 28-1 record in two seasons and the 2013 National Championship.  He then spent three seasons with the Oakland Raiders from 2015-17 and one season at Florida in 2018 before heading back to Alabama.

Prior to his first stint at Alabama, he had his first job in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers from 2002-08.  He went to the NFL after coaching under Saban at LSU in 2000 and spending the 2001 season at Michigan State.  He began his coaching career at his alma mater Pittsburgh in 1985 starting with the defensive line and working his way up to assistant head coach in 1992.  He was the defensive coordinator at Iowa Wesleyan in 1993, Illinois State in 1994 and was at Louisville from 1995-97 as the linebackers coach.  He also spent the 1998-99 seasons at Alabama A&M as the defensive coordinator before joining the LSU staff.

He began as a walk-on at Pitt in 1978 and ended his career as a team captain and consensus All-American in 1981.  He was drafted in the 10th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers but his pro career was cut short by a knee injury in training camp.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in communication from Pittsburgh in 1982.

He is married to the former Roxann Evans, who was a varsity gymnast at Pittsburgh.  The couple has two daughters, Jaclyn and Ashlyn, and two sons, Santino and Vinnie.  Santino is the quarterbacks coach at James Madison and Vinne coaches running backs for the New England Patriots.


March 3rd 

Report: CU to hire Alabama assistant Sal Sunseri to coach defensive tackles (worked with DC Charles Kelly at Alabama)

From the Daily Camera … Colorado didn’t waste any time in finding a new defensive tackles coach.

A BuffZone source has confirmed that CU and head coach Deion Sanders are set to hire Sal Sunseri to fill its sudden vacancy on the coaching staff. He will replace Patrick Hill, who left earlier this week after less than two months on the job to take a position with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.

Sunseri, 63, spent the past four seasons at Alabama, where he worked alongside new CU defensive coordinator Charles Kelly. Sunseri and Kelly also worked together at Florida State (2013-14).

During his coaching career, Sunseri has been a part of four national title teams, including three times at Alabama (2009, 2011 and 2020). He also won a title at Florida State in 2013.

From 2019-21, Sunseri coached Alabama’s outside linebackers. Last season, he moved to an off-the-field role with the Crimson Tide as a special assistant to head coach Nick Saban. That was his second stint at Alabama, as he worked as assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the Tide from 2009-11 under Saban.

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March 2nd 

Alabama “special assistant” coach Sal Sunseri emerges as another candidate for CU’s open defensive line coach position

From … Bruce Feldman reported Houston defensive line coach Brian Early is being “targeted by Colorado” on Wednesday, while On3’s Matt Zenitz is reporting Alabama staff member Sal Sunseri “has emerged as the expected hire for the Colorado defensive tackles coach opening.”

Sunseri was with the Crimson Tide as a special assistant to head coach Nick Saban in 2022. He also had two stints – from 2009-11 and from 2019-21 – as a linebackers coach at Alabama.

Sunseri served as a defensive coordinator at Tennessee in 2012 and he was a position coach in the NFL for 10 seasons. His coaching career has included other stops, at Florida, Florida State, Michigan State, LSU, Alabama A&M, Louisville, Illinois State, Iowa Wesleyan and Pittsburgh.

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March 1st

Report: CU targeting Houston D-Line coach Brian Early to replace Patrick Hill

Tweet from Bruce Feldman at The Athletic … SOURCE: Houston Defensive line coach Brian Early is being targeted by Colorado for the vacant defensive line job. Early has done a terrific job for the Cougars. Houston led the AAC in TFLs in 2022 & led in sacks in 2021. Two of his defensive linemen have been picked in the top 33 in the last 2 NFL drafts.


February 27th

CU DL coach Patrick Hill being hired away by the Minnesota Vikings 

Tweet from Matt Zenitz at on3Sports … The Minnesota Vikings are expected to hire Colorado defensive tackles coach Patrick Hill as an assistant defensive line coach, sources tell @on3sports. Before being hired by Deion Sanders at Colorado, Hill was an analyst at LSU.


February 24th

CU OC Sean Lewis already being pegged as a candidate for head coaching vacancies in 2024

From ESPN … Two levels of heat surround college football assistant coaches: The bad kind, for those facing pressure to keep their jobs; and the good kind, for those improving their chances of becoming head coaches.

Every college football season produces a new group of hot assistants, who find themselves on the radar of athletic directors and search firms looking for new head coaches.

Established assistants on the head-coaching radar

Colorado offensive coordinator Sean Lewis: He’s not exactly an established assistant after spending the past five seasons as Kent State’s head coach. But Lewis likely won’t need much time at Colorado — as long as he’s successful — to generate interest for higher-profile FBS head jobs. He was among the top candidates for Cincinnati’s head-coaching vacancy before Scott Satterfield emerged late. Lewis is only 36 but brings coveted experience leading a program — at one of the nation’s toughest jobs — and expertise running an exciting offensive scheme. The Chicago area native has worked mostly in the Midwest and Northeast but now expands his footprint to Colorado, which will have extra eyeballs on it as the Deion Sanders era begins.

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February 23rd

Assistant Coach Press Conferences: OC Sean Lewis; RB Gary Harrell; OL Bill O’Boyle

From You Tube, courtesy of CU Sports Report

Offensive coordinator Sean Lewis

From … New Colorado offensive coordinator Sean Lewis has a long and impressive list of teachers and mentors — from former Wisconsin coaches Barry Alvarez and Paul Chryst to current Syracuse boss Dino Babers.

Lewis, who gave up the head coaching spot at Kent State to join Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ staff with the Buffaloes, has gleaned strategy and philosophy from every one of those mentors.

But after five years at Kent State — where he produced three winning campaigns and two bowl appearances — he has also developed his own style and approach.

It’s not complicated. Know your players’ abilities, play to their strengths, maintain a rapid tempo to keep defenses on their heels and produce a balanced attack.

The formula served him well with the Golden Flashes. Kent State annually ranked among the nation’s top offenses during his tenure there, including a record-breaking 2021 season when KSU averaged nearly 500 yards offense per game — 248 on the ground and 246 in the air.

Now Lewis plans to bring that rapid-paced attack to Boulder, and he plans to fit his play calling to the available talent.

“I think at times we probably get a little bit too rigid as play callers in college and say, ‘Hey, this is who we are. This is what we’re going to be and this is how we go about it,’ as opposed to knowing and assessing what you have and how you need to play it,” Lewis said at a Thursday press conference. “It’s about the players. They make plays.”

Lewis already knows he has a quality quarterback at the ready in Shedeur Sanders. With Sanders at the helm, there’s no doubt the Buffs will throw the ball.

But they won’t, Lewis stressed, abandon the run game principles that have been a staple in every successful era of CU football.

“There’s some (Wisconsin) Badger blood in me from where I played,” Lewis said with a chuckle. “The years that we were at Kent State, in 2021 we were the number three rushing team in the country, only behind two service academies. So we’re going to run the football when it comes to our offensive identity.”

Continue reading story here

Assistant head coach and running backs coach Gary “Flea” Harrell

Offensive line coach Bill O’Boyle


February 22nd 

Willie Taggart isn’t “coming through that door” after all

From ESPN … The Baltimore Ravens are expected to hire longtime college coach Willie Taggart to oversee their running backs, a source told ESPN.

Taggart is the former head coach at Florida State, Oregon, Western Kentucky, South Florida and Florida Atlantic, which he led for the past three seasons before being fired in November. He had been set to join Colorado’s staff under coach Deion Sanders but instead will take on an NFL job for the first time.

Taggart will take over for Craig Ver Steeg, who has coached the Ravens’ running backs for the past three seasons. Ver Steeg, who has been on the Ravens’ staff since John Harbaugh’s first season in Baltimore in 2008, could get reassigned to a different role.

Taggart, 46, went 15-18 at Florida Atlantic after a 9-12 record in less than two seasons at Florida State. He’s 71-80 overall as a college head coach, including a 10-win season at South Florida in 2016.

Taggart played for and later coached under Jack Harbaugh, the father of Ravens coach John Harbaugh, at Western Kentucky. He also worked for John Harbaugh’s brother Jim at Stanford from 2007 to 2009 before landing his first head-coaching job at Western Kentucky.


February 20th

CU’s  Sean Lewis “most intriguing offensive coordinator hire” in the Pac-12

From Athlon Sports … Arguably one of the most overlooked hires in college football was Deion Sanders bringing on former Kent State head coach Sean Lewis as his offensive coordinator.

Renowned for his “Fashflast” offense which will now be the “Flashbuffs” offense, Lewis is widely considered to be one of the rising stars in the industry. So much so, that when Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator position opened up, they came knocking for Lewis.

Sanders and the Buffs were able to stave off the poachers, and are now focusing their attention on spring ball and beginning the process of turning this program around. Lewis’ hire, while it didn’t resonate on the national scale for most, was a significant enough hire for On3‘s Jesse Simonton to name him the most intriguing offensive coordinator hire in the Pac-12.

He broke down what Lewis brings to the table saying:

Lewis, who was a MAC head coach the last five years, runs a varied version of Josh Heupel’s ‘Run ’N ‘Shoot’ — a super-charged tempo offense focused on wide splits and pounding the rock. His “FlashFast” offense led the MAC in scoring twice and played at the fourth-fastest pace in FBS in 2022, running plays on an average of around 30 seconds of “real-time between snaps.”

He continued saying:

How Lewis blends his offense with transfer quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Kentucky transfer tailback Kavosiey Smoke and a muddle offensive line should be interesting.


With all of the talent that the Buffs brought in via the transfer portal and recruiting, there are some expectations that this offense will be able to carry them to a few victories. The only way this unit can go is up, as this last year’s offense at Colorado ranked as No. 128 out of 131 in total offense.

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February 1st

CU defensive coordinator Charles Kelly named 247 Sports National Recruiter of the Year

From 247 Sports … The 247Sports National Recruiter of the Year for 2023 is Charles Kelly, who helped two programs secure five-star prospects this class.

For Alabama where he was associate defensive coordinator/safeties coach, it was leading the charge in the Crimson Tide’s efforts to secure a signature from top-ranked safety Caleb Downs over other suitors Ohio State and Georgia, or beating Auburn and Florida among others for 247Sports Composite five-star teammates in defensive lineman James Smith and linebacker Qua Russaw. He was integral in helping identify and pushing for outside linebacker Yhonzae Pierre well before he was crowned with five-star status.

“For us Coach Kelly was down to earth,” Gary Downs, Caleb’s father told 247Sports. “The Xs and Ox expertise, Coach Kelly spent I can’t tell you how many Zoom sessions with Caleb exhausting the Bama defense. They were on so many chalk talks, more than one a week. Just an excellent teacher.”

Now at Colorado where he is Deion Sanders’ defensive coordinator, Kelly got there in time and was integral in the flip of top-ranked cornerback Cormani McClain from Miami who opted not to sign with the Hurricanes during the three-day Early Signing Period beginning on Dec. 21, opening the door for Sanders and Kelly and the rest of the staff to make a move.

The 55-year old Ozark, Ala., native has been on the move several times in his career, the epitome of a seasoned coaching veteran who began his career at Phenix City (Ala.) Central before taking a graduate assistant post at Alabama in 1993. He’s coached everything from running backs at Jacksonville State to defensive backs at Henderson State. At the turn of the century he returned to the high school level at Eufaula High (Pierre’s school) before his path took him to Nicholls State, to Georgia Tech, to Florida State to Tennessee back to Alabama and now he’s beginning latest chapter with the Buffaloes.

Through it all, “he’s always been CK,” Madhouse Fitness founder Tracy Varner said. He trains Smith and Russaw and besides those two had several others that have signed to play for Kelly over he years.

“An honest, stand-up, good guy,” Varner continued. “If anybody deserves Recruiter of the Year it’s CK. Kids love him. He’s a country guy from Alabama and doesn’t pretend to be something else. Does his job, literally did his job to the day he left Alabama. All the talk had come out he was going to Colorado and he recruited for Alabama and did his job till the day he left. He never once tried to convince a kid to come out there. He did his job for Alabama.

“CK tells you what program is, how you fit in it, tells you to work hard and you’ll be fine. He told our guys you’re going to get coaches hard. Doesn’t promise anything. Doesn’t sugarcoat anything.”

Continue reading story here


January 27th

CU Press Release: Coach Prime finalizes staff

Press Release from CUBuffs.comPatrick Hill has been hired as the final position coach on Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ staff at Colorado, he announced Friday along with several other announcements.

Hill will coach the defensive tackles and comes to Colorado from LSU, where he served as a defensive analyst for the 2022 season.  His other coaching stops include James Madison, West Virginia State, Eastern Michigan, Central Oklahoma, Upper Iowa and Birmingham Southern, among others.  At Angelo State, he coached the national defensive player of the year and NFL player Markus Jones.

Hill helped Concordia-Chicago to a NATHC Championship in 2011 and Adrian College to the 2012 MIAAC Championship.  He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Concordia-Chicago.

Coach Prime also announced four additions as Quality Control Analysts, several Directors of various departments and a new role for Darian Hagan, who will serve as the Executive Director of Community Engagement and Outreach and Football Ambassador.  Hagan will also work as an analyst with the running backs.  Vincent Dancy, Michael Pollock and Trevor Reilly also join the staff as Quality Control Analysts.

Hagan has worked on the CU football staff for 18 seasons, being part of more than 300 games as a player, coach or staff member at CU.  One of the best all-around athletes in the history of the CU football program, he was the quarterback of the 1989 undefeated regular season and 1990 National Championship teams.  He held a 28-5-2 record as a starter, including a 20-0-1 mark in conference play.

Dancy comes to Colorado from Mississippi Valley State, where he was the head coach from 2018-22.  He coached at MVSU starting in 2015 as the defensive coordinator.  Prior to MVSU, he was the defensive coordinator at Paine College in Augusta, Ga., where he guided the Lions defense to a No. 9 ranking in pass defense in the school’s first football season in 50 years.

A standout at Jackson State and all-SWAC performer at safety and linebacker, he then coached at JSU from 2009-13.  He graduated from Jackson State in 2006 and earned his master’s degree from West Alabama in 2008.

Pollock comes to Colorado with Coach Prime from Jackson State, where he served several roles over the past three seasons including co-offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach, offensive line coach, director of football operations and special assistant to the head coach.

A veteran high school coach from the state of Georgia, he served as the head coach at Cook, Americus-Sumter, Habersham and Lincoln County after servicing as the offensive coordinator for national powers Valdosta and Grayson.  He coached 10 Under Armour All-Americans and placed dozens of student-athletes at Power 5 programs across the country.

Reilly comes to Colorado from Jackson State where he was a graduate assistant and will work with the special teams units.  He played collegiately at Utah and was drafted into the NFL in 2014 and played five seasons in the NFL for the New York Jets, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.  He returned to Utah as a student-assistant coach before joining Coach Prime at Jackson State in 2021.

A first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2013 as a senior, he finished his career at Utah with 235 tackles, 37 for a loss with 8.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and two interceptions.  He attended Valley Center High School in Valley Center, Calif.

The strength and conditioning staff was also announced with Maurice Sims named the Director of Strength and Conditioning, Tersoo Uhaa the Assistant Head Strength Coach, and Stephen Houston, Brandon Reyes and Rendrick Taylor named Assistant Strength coaches.

Sims joins Coach Prime from Jackson State.  Prior to JSU, he was the associate director of strength and conditioning at Georgia and has also been on the strength staff at North Carolina, Army, Indiana, Bethune-Cookman and was a graduate assistant at Tennessee.  A native of Knoxville, Tenn., he was an all-conference defensive back at Concord University before graduating from Tennessee-Chattanooga.  He holds a master’s degree from Bethune-Cookman.

Several other Directors and department heads were also named, including Rodney Forsett (Chief of Staff), David Kelly (General Manager), Reggie Calhoun (Director of Football Operations), Craig Campanozzi (Director of Sports Video), James Chaney (Director of Player Development), Darius Darden-Box (Director of Recruiting), and Corey Phillips (Director of Player Personnel).


January 5th

Final piece to the puzzle? LSU analyst Pat Hill expected to be CU’s defensive tackles coach

RelatedPat Hill LSU bio pagePat Hill Moorhead State bio page

From the Daily Camera … Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders has apparently filled the final vacancy on his coaching staff.

According to reports, Patrick Hill, who spent this season as a defensive analyst at LSU, will be hired to coach the CU defensive tackles. Hill’s hire was first reported by Matt Zenitz of

A graduate of Concordia-Chicago, Hill began his coaching career at his alma mater, from 2008-12. He has also coached at Adrian College, Concordia-Ann Arbor, West Virginia State, James Madison, Ferrum College, Morehead State, Eastern Michigan, Angelo State, Central Oklahoma, Upper Iowa and Birmingham-Southern.

CU has previously announced its other nine full-time on-field assistants, including offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Sean Lewis and defensive coordinator/safeties coach Charles Kelly.


December 20th

**Press Release: CU Announces Ten Additions to Coaching Staff**

From … The University of Colorado has added 10 new coaches to its football staff, Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders announced Tuesday, nine position coaches and a director of quality control.

Joining Coach Prime from Jackson State are Brett Bartalone (wide receivers), Tim Brewster (tight ends), Gary “Flea” Harrell (assistant head coach/running backs), Andre’ Hart (linebackers), Kevin Mathis (cornerbacks), and Dennis Thurman (director of quality control – defense).  Also joining the staff are Charles Kelly (defensive coordinator/safeties), Sean Lewis (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks), Bill O’Boyle (offensive line) and Nick Williams (defensive ends).  Lewis and O’Boyle join the staff from Kent State, where Lewis was the head coach, with Kelly joining from Alabama, where he was the associate defensive coordinator, and Williams from Texas A&M.

These 10 coaches have combined to coach over 2,000 games as full-time head coaches for 41 different teams including 11 different Power 5 institutions for a combined 56 seasons and at six NFL teams for a combined 22 season.  The group has 192 seasons of full-time coaching experience, including four coaches with a combined 19 seasons as a head coach and the group has another combined 49 seasons as an offensive or defensive coordinator.  They have been a part of 40 10-win seasons, coached in 59 bowl games, won 27 conference championships, and made the playoffs at the NFL, FCS and FBS level 21 times. They have collectively coached more than 350 all-conference players and 85 All-Americans at every level of college football.

Bartalone was most recently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Jackson State last season and has quickly worked his way up the coaching ranks.  He has seven years of experience, also having coached at Nevada, Carleton College, St. Lawrence and Whitter College.  In the past three seasons, he has coached quarterbacks to conference player of the year honors, twice with Carson Strong at Nevada in the Mountain West and this past season with Shedeur Sanders at Jackson State in the SWAC.

He played at Washington State under Mike Leach as a member of his first recruiting class and led the Cougars in receiving his first season, earning Freshman All-America honors before injuries derailed his playing career.  He took advantage of learning under the creator of the Air Raid offense and worked as a student coach while earning a degree from the school in 2016.

Brewster also joins Coach Prime from Jackson State, where he was the tight ends coach for the 2022 season.  He has more than 30 years of coaching experience including four as a collegiate head coach and five years as an NFL assistant coach.  Colorado is the seventh Power 5 program for which he’s coached.

Prior to Jackson State, he was at Florida from 2020-21 where he helped Kyle Pitts win the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end before becoming the highest drafted tight end in NFL history at No. 4 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.  He was the head coach at Minnesota from 2007-10 and has also coached at Florida State, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Texas and Texas A&M.  He has coached two Mackey Award winners, also tutoring Nick O’Leary, who won the award with the Seminoles in 2014.

Harrell, affectionally known as “The Flea,” joins Coach Prime from Jackson State where he coached the running backs the past three seasons. He has also coached at Alabama State, Bowie State, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, his alma mater Howard in two separate stints, Morgan State, and Texas Southern.

He played collegiately at Howard from 1990-93, was an assistant coach from 2002-03 and the head coach from 2011-16.  He had a five year professional career, including two in the NFL with the New York Giants.

Hart also joins Coach Prime from Jackson State, where he was the linebackers coach the last three seasons.  On3 Sports honored him as one of 30 assistant coaches nationally whose stock is on the rise in November 2022.  He helped turn the JSU defense around and in 2022, Jackson State led the FCS in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks and third down defense.  He coached Aubrey Miller to the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2022.

Prior to Jackson State, Hart was the head coach at Trinity Christian High School in Cedar Hills, Texas, where he started as the defensive coordinator for two years and then became the head coach, leading the team to three straight TAPPS state championships and a TCAL National Championship.  He was 22-4 as the head coach and 47-5 overall in four years at TC Cedar Hills.

Kelly comes to Colorado from Alabama, where he was the associate defensive coordinator the past five seasons, during which time the Crimson Tide posted a 47-6 record and won the 2020 National Championship with a perfect 13-0 record.  He has also coached at Florida State, Georgia Tech, Henderson State, Jacksonville State, Nicholls State, and Tennessee.  Since 2013 when he has mostly worked for Jimbo Fisher at Florida State and Nick Saban at Alabama, he has helped those two programs to a 101-19 record with two undefeated seasons, three Rose Bowls along with an Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl appearance.

He graduated from Auburn and after three years coaching in high school, he returned to Auburn as a graduate assistant to begin his collegiate coaching career before earning his first fulltime job at Jacksonville State in 1994.

Lewis comes to Colorado from Kent State, where he was the head coach for five years from 2018-22, taking a program that struggled prior to his arrival and making them respectable.  The youngest head coach in the FBS when he was hired, his “FlashFAST” offense produced 606.5 yards and 49.8 points per game in 2020, leading the nation in both categories, and in 2021 set Kent State records for plays, yards, first downs, rushing yards and passing yards while posting the fourth-best offense in the FBS and top-ranked non-service academy rushing marks.

He also had stops at Akron, Bowling Green, Eastern Illinois, Nebraska Omaha, and Syracuse and he’s coached in four bowl games, two conference championship teams, had two 10-win seasons and two playoff appearances at the FCS level.

Mathis, a former NFL standout, was with Coach Prime at Jackson State all three seasons and, like Hart, helped turn the defense into one of the best nationally, leading the FCS in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks and third down defense in 2022.  Coaching the secondary, Jackson State has led the nation in pass efficiency defense in each of the past two seasons.

Prior to Jackson State, Mathis was the defensive coordinator at Trinity Christian High School in Cedar Hills, Texas, helping that team win three straight TAPPS championships and a TCAL national championships.  He played in the NFL for 10 seasons, first breaking into the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys alongside Coach Prime.  He played 115 NFL games with 11 career interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns.  He is a member of the Texas A&M Commerce City Hall of Fame after earning All-America honors three times.

O’Boyle joins Lewis in coming from Kent State, where he led the offensive line for the past five seasons, mentoring the group that was responsible for the offensive success the Golden Flashes put together.  Prior to teaming up with Lewis, O’Boyle has been coaching college ball since 1987 with stops at Chadron State, Colorado Mesa, Southern Illinois, South Dakota and Western Illinois.

He had a 13-year run at Chadron State that started with him being an offensive assistant before being promoted to offensive coordinator and eventually head coach from 2005-11.  He has been an offensive coordinator for three teams spanning seven years alongside his six years of experience as a head coach.

Thurman also joins Coach Prime from Jackson State, where he was the defensive coordinator the past three seasons.  Like Hart and Mathis, he helped turn the defense there into one of the best nationally, leading the FCS in total defense, scoring defense, passing defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks and third down defense in 2022.

Prior to Jackson State, Thurman was in the NFL for 17 seasons with the Phoenix Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, the New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills.  He also coached at his alma mater, Southern California, for eight seasons from 1993-2000.  A two-time consensus All-American at USC, he was drafted into the NFL and played nine seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Cardinals, seeing action in 137 games and finishing his career with 36 interceptions.

Williams joins Coach Prime’s staff from Texas A&M where he served as a defensive analyst the past two seasons while working with the defensive linemen.  He was a student assistant and graduate assistant at Georgia for three years prior to that.  One of the top recruiters in the nation, he had a hand in recruiting two top-ranked classes to the Bulldogs in 2018 and ’20, and then again for the Aggies in 2022.

He played collegiately at Georgia and North Alabama before stints in the Canadian Football League and Arena football.


CU Assistant Coaches (former position) … Will update as there are confirmed reports (more than just tweets) …

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Sean Lewis (Kent State head coach, 2018-22)

Assistant head coach/Running backs: Gary “Flea” Harrell (Jackson State RB coach)

Wide Receivers coach: Brett Bartolone (Jackson State offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach)

Tight Ends coach: Tim Brewster (Jackson State tight ends coach; former head coach at Minnesota)

Offensive Line coach/Run game coordinator: Bill O’Boyle (Kent State offensive line coach; former head coach at Chadron State)

Defensive Coordinator/Safeties: Charles Kelly (Alabama associate defensive coordinator/safeties coach; won national championships with Florida State and Alabama)

Defensive tackles: Pat Hill (LSU analyst)

Defensive ends: Nick Williams (Texas A&M analyst)

Linebackers coach: Andre Hart (Jackson State linebackers coach)

Cornerbacks coach: Kevin Mathis (Jackson State defensive backs coach; ten-year NFL veteran)

Safeties coach: Vincent Dancy (Mississippi Valley State head coach)

Director of Player Personnel … Corey Phillips (LSU associate director of player personnel)

Director of Recruiting … Darrius Darden-Box (Vanderbilt’s associate director of high school scouting)

Director of Quality Control (Defense) … Dennis Thurman (Jackson State defensive coordinator; nine-year NFL veteran DB)

Strength and Conditioning Coach … Maurice Sims (Jackson State strength and conditioning coach)


December 20th 

Jackson State strength and conditioning coordinator coming to CU

From Brian Howell at the Daily Camera … Per video posted by Well Off Media (run by Deion Sanders Jr.), Colorado’s new strength and conditioning coordinator is Maurice Sims, who was at Jackson St this year. Was at Georgia previous 2 years. Also has worked at North Carolina, Army, Indiana, Tennessee and others

At least nine members of Deion Sanders’ staff at Jackson State – including 7 of his 10 on-field assistants – are coming with him to Colorado. CU has yet to officially any assistants or support hires, but most have been working for the #cubuffs for 2 weeks or more.


December 12th 

Strength and conditioning coach Shannon Turley let go

From the Daily Camera … Colorado’s overhaul of the football staff continued on Monday, as director of football sports performance Shannon Turley was let go, according to multiple BuffZone sources.

First-year head coach Deion Sanders did not retain any of the 10 full-time assistant coaches, quality control coaches or graduate assistants from last year and he will also be going with a new strength and conditioning program.

Sanders, hired on Dec. 4, was expected to retool the entire staff. During a meeting with players on the day he was hired, Sanders told them that “probably none” of the assistants would be retained. When asked if they would have the same strength staff, he said, “Probably not,” but added that a final decision had not been made at that time.

That decision has now been made to move on from Turley. Others on the strength and conditioning staff are still at CU for now.

Turley, originally hired by former head coach Karl Dorrell on Jan. 29, 2021, has spent the past two seasons with the Buffaloes and he has one year remaining on a two-year contract.

Prior to coming to Boulder, Turley was the director of sports performance at Stanford from 2007-19 before being fired in April of 2019 for undisclosed reasons.

Continue reading story here


December 11th

Report: Jackson State OC/QB coach Brett Bartlone to be CU wide receivers coach

Tweet from Bruce Feldman at The Athletic … SOURCE: Jackson State OC/QB coach Brett Bartolone whose offense ranked No. 8 in scoring in FCS, is expected to join the Colorado staff coaching wide receivers. The California native played WR in the Pac-12 at WAZZU and coached at Nevada before joining Deion Sanders’ staff

Sanders names Darrius Darden-Box as CU’s Director of Recruiting

From 247 Sports … New Colorado head coach Deion Sanders made another addition to his coaching staff Saturday by hiring Darrius Darden-Box as the Buffs’ director of recruiting, according to Matt Zenitz. Darden-Box served previously as Vanderbilt’s associate director of high school scouting and has been on the Commodore’s staff since 2018. Darden-Box confirmed his departure with a statement on social media.

“It is with much gratitude and appreciation that I’ve been able to serve the young men of Vanderbilt Football for the last six seasons,” Darden-Box said. “I’ve built relationships with players, coaches and staff members that will last a lifetime! I want to thank Derek Mason for taking a chance on a 22-year old who was rough around the edges. Your leadership, love and belief in me was everything I needed to be successful! Clark Lea thank you for opening the door for me when it seemed to be closed. That meant the world to me and I’m forever grateful. To all the players that I’ve had the chance to coach, recruit, or simply have had connection with, Thank you. Vanderbilt Football players are some of the toughest young men in the country.”

Continue reading story here


December 10th

Former Dallas Cowboy star Dennis Thurman joining staff as Director of Quality Control

Instagram post from the PreGamePost … The architect of one of the top defenses in the nation in college football for the past two seasons – Coach Dennis “DT” Thurman – will be joining #CoachPrime in #Colorado

Coach DT’s Defense which held opponents to an average of only 11 points per game will be joining Colorado University as Director of Quality Control and Head Defensive Analyst

Like Coach Prime, Coach DT is dedicated to a victory in the #CelebrationBowl and completing the mission of 13 and 0!

Thank you Coach DT for building one of thee greatest defenses in Tiger Nation history!


December 9th

*Video: Interview with new CU assistant coach Tim Brewster*

From YouTube, courtesy of Rivals

CU hires new Director of Player Personnel (Recruiting), LSU’s Corey Phillips

From … Colorado has hired LSU associate director of player personnel Corey Phillips as director of player personnel, sources tell On3.

In his one year at LSU, Phillips helped the Tigers put together a 2023 recruiting class that’s currently ranked sixth-best nationally in the On3 Consensus Rankings.

Prior to LSU, Phillips was the director of scouting at NC State.

A former Austin Peay all-conference defensive back, Phillips was a high school coach in Tennessee for for a decade before making the move to the college level with Vanderbilt under Derek Mason in 2016.


December 8th

Mississippi Valley State head coach Vincent Dancy to join CU’s staff

… No word yet on which position Dancy will fill on Coach Sanders’ staff … 

From the Mississippi Valley State football website … The Mississippi Valley State University football program saw its leader over the past five seasons depart for a Power Five coaching opportunity as Coach Vincent Dancy announced his resignation today.

The Shuqualak, Mississippi native ended his time in the Delta as the fifth-longest tenured coach in program history, winning nine games from 2018-2022 despite numerous limitations regarding scholarships.

Coach Dancy was instrumental in mentoring six of his student-athletes on their way to All-SWAC Selections. He defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff for his first win in double overtime on Homecoming in 2018 and took down Texas Southern in 2019, setting the stage for a memorable 2021 season.

In 2021, the Delta Devils won its most games in nearly a decade with four, edging North Carolina Central as time expired, using two fourth quarter touchdowns to topple Bethune-Cookman on the road, sent the Seniors out on a high note with a 44-31 victory over Alabama State in their final home game, and ended the year by upsetting the SWAC West Champion Prairie View A&M Panthers in Texas.

This past season saw Valley come on strong toward the end of the year, winning two of its final three contests against Alabama A&M in front of a national audience (ESPN U) before knocking the Panthers out of the SWAC Championship Game in the season finale for their second straight triumph over PVAMU.

Athletic Director Hakim McClellan expressed his appreciation for Coach Dancy’s contributions:

“Over the past four seasons, Coach Vincent Dancy has helped to mold Mississippi Valley State University into one of the most competitive football programs in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Coach Dancy has represented MVSU and the football program well in that time as the 17th head coach.

On behalf of Mississippi Valley State University, I want to extend our deepest appreciation to Coach Vincent Dancy for his incredible leadership of our football program. The energy that he poured into his teams was a shining light for MVSU and a point of pride for all the Valley family. More importantly, while Coach Dancy prepared his student-athletes for success on the field, he also ensured they were successful beyond football as proud graduates of Valley State.

MVSU President Jerryl Briggs shared, “We are thankful to Coach Dancy for his service to MVSU. He has served Valley in various capacities, a coach, a leader of young men, and a mentor to countless individuals throughout his time.  He will always be a part of the Valley family and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”


December 7th

Daily Camera: CU has found its defensive coordinator, Charles Kelly

From the Daily Camera … Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders appears to have found his defensive coordinator.

BuffZone has learned through multiple sources that Charles Kelly will be hired as the Buffs’ defensive coordinator.

Kelly, 55, has been the associate defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Alabama for the past four years.

Before going to Alabama, Kelly worked as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach at Tennessee in 2018 and was at Florida State for five seasons (2013-17), including the last four as the Seminoles’ defensive coordinator.

Kelly was a part of national championship teams at Alabama in 2020 and Florida State in 2013.

During his coaching career, Kelly has also been the defensive coordinator at Nicholls State, Henderson State and Jacksonville State. A former defensive back at Auburn, Kelly also coached Georgia Tech from 2006-12, first as special teams coordinator for two years and then four years coaching defensive backs.

Also coming to CU from Kent State is Bill O’Boyle, who will coach the Buffs’ offensive line. O’Boyle confirmed his hire on Twitter, posting, “My new home! Come be a part of the Herd and change the game with me in Boulder,” along with a photo of CU mascot Ralphie.

For the past five years, O’Boyle, 59, has worked with Lewis at Kent State. In addition to coaching the offensive line, he had the titles of assistant head coach for offense and run game coordinator.

O’Boyle has been in coaching since 1987, but this will be his first job at a Power 5 school. Prior to his tenure at Kent State, he was the offensive line coach South Dakota (2016-17) and Southern Illinois (2013-15) and the offensive coordinator at Colorado Mesa (2012).

From 1994-2011, O’Boyle worked at Chadron State, first as an assistant, then as offensive coordinator (1999-2004). He was the head coach from 2005-11, going 57-21.

Continue reading story here


December 6th 

Sean Lewis would bring a “break neck pace” offense to CU

From ESPN … The on-field identity of Deion Sanders’ Colorado program took form Monday, as sources told ESPN that the Buffaloes are hiring Kent State head coach Sean Lewis to be the team’s offensive coordinator.

As Kent State’s head coach and playcaller, Lewis developed a distinct identity — whiplash tempo, quick snaps and wide-open offenses. His offense is a descendent of the old-school Baylor offense, which helped make devastating tempo vogue in college football more than a decade ago.

This year, Kent State finished with the fastest offense in the Group of 5 and the fourth-fastest offense in college football. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, it averaged 30.1 seconds of real time between snaps.

Sources told ESPN that one of the appeals of Lewis working in Colorado was that breakneck pace, combined with the altitude in Boulder, will wreak havoc on opposing defenses.

Lewis’ fidelity to tempo led to one of the best runs of football in recent generations at Kent State. His success there belies his record (24-31), as he won the program’s first bowl game and reached the MAC title game last year. That was just the second MAC title game in school history.

Lewis’ offenses at Kent finished in the top five in total offense in both 2020 and ’21. In 2020, the Golden Flashes led the nation in scoring (49.8 points per game) when Kent State played a MAC-only schedule in the COVID-19-shortened season. It’s not just wide-open passing either, as Kent was No. 3 nationally in rushing offense last season.

Continue reading story here

Current CU Assistants Let Go; Darian Hagan May Remain in Different Capacity

From the Daily Camera … New Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders is cleaning house.

On Tuesday morning, BuffZone learned through a source that nine of the 10 full-time coaches on staff, as well as quality control coaches, have been fired.

Running backs coach Darian Hagan, who quarterbacked CU to the 1990 national championship, was the only assistant not let go on Tuesday. It’s unclear, however, if Hagan will continue to coach the running backs under Sanders or be reassigned to a different role within the athletic department.

The four graduate assistant coaches were also let go and multiple sources told Buffzone that some members of the support staff have been dismissed. For now, the recruiting staff is in place with national signing day approaching on Dec. 21st.

The future of all the assistants was in doubt after former head coach Karl Dorrell was fired on Oct. 2. Sanders, introduced as Dorrell’s replacement on Sunday, has already started assembling his own staff and made the choice to move on from the current coaches.

During Sunday’s press conference, CU athletic director Rick George praised interim head coach Mike Sanford for leading the Buffs through the transition period.

“I want to thank you for your leadership during a real difficult time,” George said to Sanford, who was present at the press conference and got a loud ovation from the crowd in attendance.

Sanford, who was hired on Dec. 17, 2021, as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was under contract for two more seasons with the Buffs.

Assistant head coach/receivers coach Phil McGeoghan, safeties coach Brett Maxie, tight ends coach/offensive coordinator Clay Patterson, cornerbacks coach Rod Chance, defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Gerald Chatman, offensive line coach Kyle DeVan and inside linebackers coach Mark Smith were all under contract through the 2023 season.

Continue reading story here


December 5th 

Report: CU to hire Kent State head coach Sean Lewis as offensive coordinator

From Football Scoop … Deion said he’s comin’, and an FBS head coach might be comin’ with him.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Monday that Kent State head coach Sean Lewis is the target of Sanders’s search to find Colorado’s offensive coordinator.

The 36-year-old Lewis has spent the past five years leading the Golden Flashes, compiling a 24-36 record at one of the most historically tough places to win in FBS. His 2021 team won the MAC East and played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Lewis has interviewed for a number of head coaching positions over the years, including this cycle. He was the offensive coordinator at Bowling Green and Syracuse prior to landing the Kent State job.

Under Lewis’ direction, Kent State averaged 28.4 points per game this past season while going 5-7. Three of the Golden Flashes this fall were to Power 5 opponents, a 45-20 loss at Washington, a 33-3 loss at Oklahoma and a 39-22 loss at No. 1 Georgia.

One of the youngest coaches in the FBS in recent years, the 36-year old Lewis was known to field disciplined and tough Kent State teams. He played collegiately at Wisconsin before beginning his coaching career in 2007.

In 2021, during Year Four of what was referred to as the “FlashFAST” era at Kent State, Lewis helped the Golden Flashes set numerous program records, including plays, yards, first downs, rushing yards and passing yards. The rushing offense was ranked third in the FBS ranks at over 248 yards per game and was fourth nationally in total offense.

During the abbreviated 2020 season, Kent State led the nation in total offense at 606.5 yards per game and scoring offense at 49.8 points per contest.

Report: Former Oregon, Florida State and Florida Atlantic head coach Willie Taggart to join CU’s staff

From Football Scoop … Josh Newberg shares today that Willie Taggart arrived in Boulder this afternoon and will have a role on Deion’s staff.

Newberg adds that “his role could be on field or off-field, not sure right now, but I do know he’s there.”

Taggart was recently let go at FAU after a 15-18 run at FAU over the past three seasons. He previously rebuilt programs at Western Kentucky and South Florida before going on to lead programs at Oregon, Florida State, and FAU.

Joining forces with Deion will mark the first non-head coaching job Taggart has had since 2009, when he was coaching the running backs at Stanford.

Since then, Taggart quickly turned around Western Kentucky from 2-10 to back-to-back years of 7-5 before leaving to do the same thing South Florida. With the Bulls, he started off 2-10 before going 4-8, 8-5 and then 10-2.

Heading into 2017 he took over the Oregon job, and was there just one 7-5 season before leaving for his “dream job” at Florida State. He lasted less than two seasons in Tallahassee, going 9-12 before being let go in 2019.

Other names of coaches reported heading to Boulder to join Coach Prime’s staff

From Football Scoop … Deion Sanders is the splash hire for the Colorado Buffaloes football program, but Sanders isn’t expected to be the only headlining addition in Boulder, Colorado.

Multiple sources this weekend told FootballScoop that University of Alabama assistant defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, who coaches the Tide’s safeties on Nick Saban’s staff, intends to join Sanders’s Colorado staff in a top-level, coordinator role.

Though Kelly never has worked directly with Sanders, he coached at Florida State – Coach Prime’s alma mater – for five seasons with Jimbo Fisher, the last four of them as Fisher’s defensive coordinator for the Seminoles. It was at FSU that Kelly worked alongside Tim Brewster for all five of their seasons in Tallahassee, Florida.

Kelly has been on Saban’s staff the past four years after a one-year stint on failed Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt’s staff. His first big-time break in college football came with a seven-year run as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech.

Brewster, who’s spent the past year as Coach Prime’s tight ends coach at undefeated Jackson State, will accompany Sanders for a staff spot in the Buffaloes’ program.

Sources in the Southwestern Athletic Conference on Saturday told FootballScoop that Sanders was expected to take additional staff members from Jackson State to Colorado; those staff members are slated to include the Tigers’ current defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, a former nine-year NFL veteran who has turned the Tigers’ defensive groups into among the nation’s best at the Football Championship Subdivision level; running backs coach Gary “Flea” Harrell; first-year JSU offensive play-caller Brett Bartolone; and off-the-field, Otis Ridley – JSU’s current director of player personnel – is seen as a top choice to join Sanders in a similar role within the Buffs’ program.

Nick Williams, a notable support staff recruiter from Texas A&M, is expected to come in as the Buffs’ new D-line coach. Also in the meeting with the players, Sanders introduced LBs coach Andre’ Hart and DBs coach Kevin Mathis, who worked with him at JSU.


35 Replies to “CU Assistant Coach Tracker”

  1. Says a lot that 2 coaches landed in Boulder w/ Alabama experience , remarkable really.
    Wish we could keep the Samoan pipeline alive but we are trending Southeast, not Southwest in terms of recruiting…

  2. Did we just upgrade at d line coach? Guy was the on the field coach and then stepped away. But kept his job at Alabama. Maybe needed a break?

  3. Hey can’t blame Sanders or Taggert for Willie to go to the NFL; he’ll get paid a lot more than an advisor. What is up with Zimmerman, anyone, anyone?

  4. reading Stuart’s poll question I automatically assumed the LSU 4 star players in the portal were D linemen. Not so. there were 2 going to LSU from other teams and only one 3 star from LSU looking for a home. D line could still be the weakest spot.

  5. I was excited when Turley was first hired. I thought he would transform the players and the lines would hold up much better against opposing teams. The first year was underwhelming, but I thought maybe a bit of progress had been made, and we were told that the big difference comes after a full off season in his program. Year 2 was seemingly worse. Can’t say that I am shocked he was let go. Hopefully they bring in someone who will get all the players into game shape.

  6. Wow, a lot of successful egos in that room..
    Thankfully the man in charge is the ego.

    Go Buffs.

    Note: Any wagers on how long this staff stays together? Odds. Ms. Moneypenny?

    1. VK you are usually not so overtly negative about CU’s coach until they screw the pooch. You are preemptively negative about Coach Prime. Why? And who would you have preferred instead? I’m curious because you have always been a stalwart Buffs fan not subject to snap judgments.

      1. Well, as I stated a while ago, the new coaching staff, no matter who they are, will be stuck in the middle until I actually see some results.

        Other than bring coaches from his old school and a couple of, “never won anything” ones. And the “most incredible recruiting weekend in Colorado looks like it is going be Non epic. I just am not impressed.
        We coming ain’t enough. Period

        Go Buffs

  7. Man, we were so starved for coaches with personality and drive that when Sanford showed up we were in awe. Now Samders is the best in the entire business but listening to the tight end coach, I just keep getting more excited. This guy by himself is go8ng to bring in recruits. Add Sanders, I have to think we are going to land more 5 star athletes than we have ever seen, maybe is a single class.

  8. Great Head Coaches.. Make Great assistant Coaches.. Great assistant coaches make great Head Coaches.. “If you think you can, You can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. It starts inside you.” BILl MCCARTNEY… On our wall at home.. My Boys read it every day and are older now and kicking butt.. Let’s get this party started ..

  9. dancy

    Coach Prime will name him the Buffaloes’ safeties coach with a sizeable salary increase for the former Delta Devils leader.

    HBCU legends at fan nation

  10. From what I have read Sean Lewis is considered a good and well thought of head coach. If he works out well at CU over the next couple of years he might turn out to be the guy who replaces Sanders when Sanders eventually leaves.

    1. That’s exactly what I thought when Prime goes to FSU. Hey I’m a realist and we all know his endgame. Anything over 3 years is a bonus and having an offensive mind like this in place is a great succession plan if not plucked sooner by another school after great success.

    2. If this turns out to be correct
      he will have to get a coaching staff
      cause Prime will be taking most with him

      Go Buffs

  11. A Sean Lewis run high-tempo offense sounds great. The Bama guy on D also legit. Not sure what Taggert will bring, except maybe to whisper in coach’s ear “stay right where you are, don’t flee to FSU if they offer the job some day, trust me on this one…”

  12. Sean Lewis is a huge get! The Defense seems to be shaping up really well. If we can find a real good OL coach now – wow!

  13. So it seems like Darian Hagan’s long run as coach as CU has done to end, if Deion is bringing JSU’s RB coach along with him. Sad.

    1. I love Hagen as a buff but I’m happy that we get a fresh set of eyes in the rb room. I for one question him pulling rb’s out of the game when they get on a roll. He’s done it for years and I scratched my head every time.

    1. I care more about their ability to recruit studs than their ability to coach two star players up to their three star potential. That strategy has gone nowhere the past 20 years.

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