The Dilemma at CU

Dan Hawkins‘ career ended yesterday as the head football coach at the University of Colorado.   Five years ago I thought he was a great hire for the school, coming over from Boise State who had caused a big splash on the national scene.  The ultimate positive guy whose glass was not only half full but overflowing,  Hawk was as interested in academics and life experiences for his players as he was football and had gone 53-11.  After a few years of prolonged scandals from the Gary Barnett era Hawk appeared to be the right guy.  Yet, he failed.  The university chewed him up and spat him out.  After five years of mediocrity and a 19-39 record he became the first CU coach to be fired mid-season.

So you need to ask the question why can’t a coach like Dan Hawkins succeed at CU?  If you ask 10 people you will get 10 answers and they’ll span the gamut – coaching, talent, strict admissions policy, lack of money, beauty of the surrounding area, competition from 4 professional sports teams (Broncos, Avs, Nuggets, Rockies), Boulder liberals, apathy, lack of alumni support, academics, the Big 12, skiing, tough schedule, etc.

One of the reasons you never hear is having a lame mascot.  Hands down, Ralphie is the single best mascot in college football.  Admittedly, on many days Ralphie’s pre-game and half time runs are the best thing that goes on at Folsom Field.  But I digress.

The excuses are just that, excuses.  If CU puts a winner on the field the fans will come.  Just like any other team in Denver.  Hawk just didn’t get it done and it was time to move on.  Simple.

I’m not a CU alum, but I am season ticket holder.  Folsom Field presents one of the best places to watch college football and on a nice fall day there is no better place to be.  The atmosphere can be as electric as any other when a big name team comes to town.  Georgia this year, West Virginia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and in 2011 Oregon, USC and Arizona.

It is concerning when a former coach says “CU’s biggest problem is itself”.  Where there is smoke there is usually fire.  I think there is something to the notion that the administration should do a better job in recognizing the importance of football to its financial well being.  CU should count their lucky stars that as many care for the program that do.  The financial implications of a winning program can not be ignored.  I’m sure everybody can do a better job supporting the program from the president on down.

But it isn’t too late.  There is just so much to work with here.  Yeah, we can’t pay a coach what other programs pay, but with a good search effort we can find the right guy.  Keep the faith CU fans.  It will get turned around.

Go CU.


About Mike

Mike has been an executive in the biotechnology industry for the past 20 years. Mike is a graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara, earning Bachelors degrees in Business Economics and Geography. Mike also earned his MBA in Finance from California State University, Fresno. Mike is married to the mother of his 3 children and currently lives outside of Boulder, CO. In his spare time Mike enjoys hiking, fishing, skiing, reading and coaching basketball.
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