The Last Candidate Standing

Dear Mike Bohn,

Since your impulsive and short-sighted decision to fire Jon Embree, my disillusionment with your leadership of the University of Colorado athletic program has grown by the hour.

Thus far, you have offered virtually no insight into the reasons for Embree’s firing other than:

  • It was your idea, conceived in isolation, over the course of the past week or so; and
  • The program trajectories were headed in the wrong direction.

I anxiously await some clarity of your analysis of the Embree era.  Frankly, I would settle for an acknowledgement that Embree was hired to make a U-turn in a sinking, archaic, Soviet-constructed battleship, that he was hired to do so as the lowest paid head coach in a BCS conference, and that the school failed to alleviate any of the unnecessary baggage it heaps on the desk of its head coach. 

As I look for answers in the ashes of your decision-making, I am further disillusioned with the vague nature of your pending head coach selection process.  To this point as the fearless leader athletic director of the University of Colorado, you have clearly stated two things about the next head coach:

  • You would like to hire an experienced head coach; and
  • You have a candidate picked out.

The lack of clarity, thoughtfulness, and consideration behind your leadership are horrifying, Mike.  I can imagine more inspiring leadership from any athletic director in America.

I remember the day that Dan Hawkins was hired to run a clean program that emphasized academics and good citizenship.  I also remember when Jon Embree was hired to bring back the roots and traditions of the Golden Age of Colorado football – in fact, that was not very long ago.  You assured us that a seasoned Buff with insider experience would solve all that ails us.  And now, you have vaguely committed to seeking experience; not experience in dealing with the administrative nonsense that will likely forever plague Colorado’s head coach, but experience coaching sub-FBS conference college football.  I am disappointed.

In spite of my distaste for the recent decision-making and unclear direction of the football program, as a spirited, loyal, and contributing supporter of the school’s football program, I offer the following advice.

The next head coach at the University of Colorado should – and can – have all of the following resume items.

  • Previous Division-IA (FBS) head coaching experience;
  • Head coaching experience at an outstanding public, flagship university;
  • A successful track record as a head coach in the aforementioned environment;
  • The ability to recruit and develop NFL-worthy talent;
  • The reputation as an excellent position coach at the NFL level;
  • Character, leadership, and motivational skills;
  • Previous experience on the University of Colorado coaching staff; and
  • Popular appeal in Colorado with experience coaching the Denver Broncos.

The last candidate standing in the coaching search of 2012 should be Karl Dorrell.

Currently the quarterbacks coach of the Houston Texans (proud owner of the best record in the NFL at this time), Mr. Dorrell’s diverse track record overwhelmingly trumps all other rumored candidates.

Mr. Dorrell served as CU offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995 – 1998, a period of offensive success in Boulder.  He coached Denver Broncos wide receivers from 2000 – 2002, when Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey re-wrote the franchise’s receiving record books catching passes from a mediocre NFL quarterback.

Subsequently, Mr. Dorrell coached UCLA for five years, compiling a 35 – 27 record and taking the program to a bowl game in each of those years.  His 10-win season in 2005 is exactly equal to three more wins than any Colorado football team has put up in a single season during your tenure.  In the aftermath of his misguided firing in 2007, UCLA did not make another bowl game until this year.

His UCLA tenure should be viewed sympathetically in light of the heightened academic requirements and lagging facilities at the school – traits shared by the University of Colorado. Dorrell has recruited and developed NFL players (see Maurice Jones-Drew), frequently won Pac-10 football games, and worked among great professional and collegiate coaching minds in his career.

I am disheartened to have not seen Mr. Dorrell on any lists of potential hires for the University of Colorado.  Perhaps this is another example of your choice to keep all of your ideas and decisions close to the vest.  I am not confident that is the case, but will be relieved to know that it is.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I am a CU season ticket holder of three years, a program donor, and proud supporter of the athletes in the football program.  Given these factors, I hope that my input will be considered as strongly as those “other” boosters that wanted Embree fired and the ticket holders who no-showed the Washington game that occurred over the school’s Thanksgiving Break.

I love Colorado football, and I want to see the program succeed.  I am willing to unite with my fellow fans in the support of the football program if you hire a qualified, experienced, and quality coach to steward the program.  I will renew my season tickets and program contributions if you and yours make the right choice in this matter by hiring Mr. Dorrell.

Respectfully Submitted,


P.S.  Karl Dorrell is an African-American.  You have the opportunity to seize the limelight by becoming only the second program in the history of major college football to hire a previously-fired African American head coach.  I’m sure you don’t relish the headlines, but you might want to consider it.

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