Apparently, we're announcing our search committee today. At least the process is visibly moving along. Some people have complained about the pace; that, while they never expected to have a new coach in place right away, they are frustrated with the lack of information. With games still to be played, you can't have the AD publicly running through candidates; that would cheapen the rest of the season. The players have plenty left to play for, and they showed last week they still cared enough to try and make a bowl; Bohn is doing the right thing by executing a measured and silent (so far) search. I expect the search to heat up, both in reality and what the press reports, after the Nebraska game is over.
In the meantime, here is my view of the coaching candidates. These are the names I hear the most, and what I think of them. In the end, while I would accept a few candidates, there is only one guy I think should be the next coach of the Colorado Buffaloes. Who? Well, you'll just have to jump through to find out
Never in a million years, and not even worth a phone call -
Les Miles - LSU Head Coach - He'd be a spectacular get, with his Mac connection and CU roots, but he's not leaving LSU, and even if he were to look elsewhere, we couldn't afford him.
Jon Gruden - Retired NFL Coach - Nope, just no. Money's an issue, and he's been out of college coaching longer than Mac. He's going to the Cowboys.
Bill Cowher - Retired NFL Coach - HAHAHAHAHA... no. Carolina?
Mike Leach - Fired Texas Tech Coach - I'd love the pirate, but apparently he has "too much baggage" for us to consider.
They won't do it, but they would be a good enough fit to still pursue to see $2mil lightning strikes -
Gus Malzhan - Auburn OC - He's a sexy name to throw out, but I think, in the end, we couldn't match his price. Even if we did, he'd leave within 3 years if successful. He's a brilliant offensive mind, and would be interesting to watch, however...
Kevin Sumlin - Houston Head Coach - Some football powerhouse is going to back up a Brinks truck for this guy. $2mil probably won't do it.
Pat Fitzgerald - Northwestern Head Coach - My personal favorite young coaching name; he has a light CU tie (coached under Barnett at CU in '99), but he's entrenched at NW. What some may not realize is that he got the job there because the former coach died, and the university turned to it's favorite son to save it from a return to football purgatory. That's a powerful emotional tie, and he ain't leaving; certainly not for a university who shit-canned his former mentor (Barnett).
Brady Hoke - San Diego St Head Coach - Bohn might have an in with this guy, but his $1.5 mil buyout from SDSU will make him an impossible get.
Troy Calhoun - Air Force Head Coach - I'm thinking he's not all that interested. A Zoomie from back in his college days, I think it would take a program with a stronger foundation to lure him from his alma mater. However, I've heard he's on Bohn's short list, and Mike has a good track record of stealing coaching talent from the Academy...
They'd do it, but they're not the answer -
Mike Bellotti - Retired Oregon Legend - His comments don't make it sound like he's overjoyed about the thought of coaching CU football. He strikes me as just wanting to coach somewhere, not necessarily CU, and I want the next CU coach to want to coach here. Let him go somewhere else.
Jim McElwain - Alabama OC - I get the gut feeling that he is just piggybacking on the overall program's success. He's not worth the risk that he's another Hawk-esque flash in the pan.
Dave Logan - Mullen High School Head Coach - 40-something natives love to bring him up. Listen, just because you can rule the high school world of an average football state doesn't mean you can jump up to the collegiate ranks. (Additionally, is locking down the borders in recruiting really going to be that beneficial?) It's common knowledge that the leap from college to the NFL can be rough on coaches; it's even worse for high school guys. Gus Malzahn made the jump from high school to college by paying his dues as a coordinator. I know Logan doesn't want that, but that's the only way I'd accept him on the east sideline of Folsom. If Coach Logan really wants the CU job he needs to swallow his pride (and the hole in his wallet) and become a coordinator; then we can talk again in 5 or so years. If not, then he needs to stick with endorsing plumbers.
John Embree - Redskins Tight Ends Coach - Never been impressed with his resume. Maybe for a coordinator spot, but he just doesn't do anything for me as head coach. Would be cheap-ish, and is definitely a Buff....
Brian Cabral - CU LB Coach - A sentimental pick, and I think he deserves a promotion. He's essentially come with the keys to Dal Ward for the past 20 years, and knows through osmosis what it takes to win here. He needs to get a serious look at D-coordinator, but I'm a little wary about him in the big chair. I love the guy; he is the poster-boy for being a Buff, and he is an asset to the program. His players run through walls for him. However, I'm not sold he's the guy to get us where we want to be. Maybe the final 2 games will change my mind, but, for now, I'm looking elsewhere. He does look great in a lava lava, however....
Legend who's thrown a monkey wrench into the process -
Coach Mac - Retired CU Legend - When I first started considering coaches I thought Mac would be the front runner. Cheap-ish, program Godfather, beloved by donor base, openly wants the job; lots of good things. He's got a 50 point plan, for Christ's Sake! However, Mac brings with him the burden of hiring a staff to basically run the team. (along with the baggage of 16 years hippie exile for being extremely religious) Mac would essentially be a "motivator-in-chief;" I want a head coach to be the guy. Couldn't he be just as involved in the program as an Assistant AD? In addition there would be a fair assumption by both parents and their prospective students that this would be a temporary thing. If parents and kids don't want to go somewhere were a coach might be fired in a year or two, why would they go somewhere where the coach might retire in a year or two? His name isn't enough to cover that gap; he's not JoePa or Bobby Bowden. He's not the answer.
It's hard because he's openly campaigned for the job,and it becomes a "thing" if we turn him down and look "outside the family." Mac's head-fake toward coaching again has backed us into a corner, and the only acceptable answer is to gravitate towards "CU" Guys. And that means there's only option:
The Guy -
Eric Bienemy - Vikings RB and Assistant Head Offensive Coach - He's got it all: the CU pedigree, the recruiting background, Pac-12 footprint experience from his UCLA days, coaching experience at all levels, NFL gravitas from playing and coaching in the league, the Mac-father's blessing, the donor backing, and, most of all, a cheap-ish price. Bienemy wouldn't come in here looking for an exit after 2-5 years, he'd be here for the long haul. Some may question his problems with the community during his playing days, but that was in the past. He's a proven recruiter, and he can lead the program with the passion of a "True Buff."
It even lines up; with the impending implosion of the Vikings staff, he'll soon be available. Sure, we'll look elsewhere, and maybe Les Miles will shock the world and come here for a massive pay-cut, but, in all reality, Coach Bienemy is the only option that makes sense. With the Vikings missing the playoffs for sure after this season, he can be installed no later than Jan 3rd (the day after their season ends). While a little on the late side, I'm sure he'd hit the ground running; if Brad Childress gets fired before the season ends, we might even be able to get him sooner.
Message to Mike Bohn: you gotta make this happen!