Update: 11-9-10. I like Bohn's comment, it sums up the situation perfectly. "While we recognize the progress that we have made in several areas during nearly five years under Dan, the negativity and divisiveness that is associated with the current leadership has become detrimental and is beyond repair to our current enterprise and it’s time to make a change." -link
The deed is done. Brian Cabral is, once again, the interim head coach of the CU football program because Dan Hawkins has been fired.
I remember the day Hawk arrived in Boulder. He had stayed with Boise St. for the bowl game, and had delayed his arrival with the team. He showed up like a whirlwind, talking about "Hawk Love" and "getting this thing going." I was genuinely excited. Here was one of the brightest names in the national coaching ranks; someone who even the likes of Notre Dame had discussed as a potential coaching candidate was coming to Boulder. I thought for sure that he would be the spark that could bring the football program out of the post-"scandal" doldrums. We now know that wasn't the case.
Hind-sight is always 20/20, and I'm not going to sit up on my high horse saying "I knew it all along" simply because I didn't. I thought Hawk was the guy, I even thought this as recently as last Fall before the CSU game. But it became clear over the years that something was rotten in the state of the program, and that Hawk needed to go.
It's weird, I still kind of like Hawk. I think he has an attitude that could work in Boulder. I even still think he's got a good football mind; I just think he's been battered with some bad circumstances, and been unwilling to changes his ways. Essentially, at the end of the day, the thing that has hampered him the most was Cody's decision to switch his commitment from BSU to CU. Realities aside, the appearance and perception was that Cody was the guy as long as he had eligibility left because he was the coach's son. How many QB's have we lost over the past 5 years in recruiting battles and to transfers? I'll bet you the majority of those kids thought that, fairly or not, they would never see the field because of Cody. How would this team look right now with emerging All-America QB talent like Landry Jones under center?
Over the past 5 years Hawk has refused to admit when "his guys" couldn't get the job done. Why does Kent Riddle still have a job? Because Hawk couldn't bring himself to fire the guy. He may even realize that Riddle can't get the job done at this level, but the man stays loyal. Personally, I find that a noble trait; I'm big on loyalty. However, as a paying customer, I demand accountability that Hawk was never willing to provide. At the end of the day, this accountability issue, more than anything else, is why he had to go; it was a systemic flaw in his ability to lead the program to success.
Hawk realistically should've been fired last November. By all accounts Mike Bohn even got on the plane to Hawaii having already made the decision to fire him when he got back to Boulder. But circumstances conspired to make the situation linger. Key votes in the Colorado Legislature would've voted against an initiative that CU desperately needed to stay financially viable as a whole had Hawk been fired last fall. It was a pragmatic decision to retain him, and one that I'm sure was a bitter pill for Bohn to swallow. Even this year, Bohn stuck with his belief that you should never fire a coach mid-season far longer than he should've. Combined, this gave Hawk and extra three-quarters of a season that he could've used to save his job. The schedule even lined up, and, by the end of non-conference play, I looked at our schedule and saw possibilities of 8 or 9 wins. Instead that opportunity was thrown away. Hawk continued to game plan the exact same way he had for the past 3 years when that style hadn't brought so much as a road win. He refused to adapt or correct course midstream; he had, in essence, given up. I am somewhat surprised that he didn't put up more of a fight.
In the end, it's a net positive day for CU. While I still think it would've made no difference to keep Hawk for 19 additional days, it's absolutely understandable to make the move now. We can all breathe a sigh of relief and move on with our lives. I wish it would've worked out with Hawk, but it hasn't and Bohn made the move that needed to be made. It's a new day for the football program; the Pac-12 era officially starts at high-noon.