By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard | 11.19.2018
Full disclosure; I am a Tennessee alum and live in Denver and this is strictly my opinion.
Colorado Athletic Director (AD) Rick George better have thought through the firing of football coach Mike MacIntyre. What I mean by that is if George doesn’t have a short list of candidates ready to interview or go after, then the Colorado football family may get a front row seat to what it was like to be a Tennessee football fan last season when they went looking for a head coach.
We’re comparing apples and oranges here a little bit but in this day and age the wrong hire (or just an unpopular one) can trigger all kinds of issues. You saw this at Tennessee a year ago when word got out that then AD John Currie was on the verge of hiring Greg Schiano to replace Butch Jones. Within a few hours the digital mob came out with pitchforks and people were actually protesting the hire on campus. The offer was rescinded and Currie went wandering into the college football wilderness like Frodo walking to Mordor from which he never returned. Well he did return to Knoxville but that was only to fire him.
Now Colorado is not Tennessee. The amount of money, passion and expectations are not the same. So firing a coach who literally brought CU back from the bottom of college football to a PAC-12 South title in 2016 and on the precipice of another bowl game strikes a non-CU fan like myself as a bit odd.
Granted MacIntyre didn’t help himself lately. It started when defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt left for Oregon. Then it was the Joe Tumpkin domestic abuse incident. Then there were his comments over the last few weeks about his job status.
With a hefty buyout, it seems pretty clear that the powerful boosters where the ones pushing for a change at the top of the Buffaloes football program.
Now On To The Silly Season
The immediate candidates that are being thrown around are interesting but not very likely. Apparently people expect a fairly big name to roll into Boulder. I don’t think that will be the case. CU doesn’t have the same backing or facilities that an SEC school or even what other PAC-12 schools may have. That being said, there is a history here at Colorado, Boulder is a beautiful place and there is plenty of talent on the roster.
Names being bandied about, well I don’t put a lot of stock in them. For example, I don’t think Dana Holgorsen leaves West Virginia for CU but hey, stranger things have happened.
Not sure Matt Wells at Utah State or Bryan Harsin at Boise State leave for this job either. Their case is pretty simple, they are both alumni at their schools.
Some guys I think George should look at are below:
USC Offensive Coordinator Tee Martin. Why? He’s considered by many to be one of the best recruiters in the country and you need to bring kids from California and Texas in order to win in Boulder. He also might be available sooner rather than later the way USC is going.
Oregon Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt. Why? Remember when Colorado won the PAC-12 South, well Leavitt was the defensive coordinator. He built South Florida and he can keep on the offensive staff and get just focus on the defense.
North Dakota State Head Coach Chris Klieman. Why? Three national titles in four years and the odds on favorite to do it again. Defensive minded coach who kept the ball rolling after Craig Bohl left for Wyoming.
Wyoming Head Coach Craig Bohl. Why? Well he’s a sleeper candidate but he turned around Wyoming into a tough team that one one wants to play, develops NFL caliber talent and could be on his way to a third bowl game in a row which a saying something in Larime.
California Offensive Coordinator Beau Baldwin. Why? Won a national title at the FCS level with Eastern Washington and pretty much made them into a powerhouse. Struggling in first season as OC at Cal but he knows the West Coast recruiting circuit.
Ohio State Co-Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch. Why? Amazing coaching tree (Urban Meyer, Mike Leach and Gary Pinkel), turned Washington State into a force to be reckoned with defensively and went to Mt Union which is a place where all they do is win. Combine his defensive prowess with the existing offensive staff and you could have a lot of energy rolling up and down the Buffaloes sideline.
Others to consider:
Ohio State Offensive Coordinator Ryan Day, Michigan Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton, and Memphis Head Coach Mike Norvell.
We’ll see how this plays out but in the second year of the early signing period, AD George needs someone in to Boulder sooner rather than later. There is also precedent that if the hire isn’t ‘popular’, the digital mob could come out of the wood work. Just some advice for AD George.