The University of Colorado announced Monday that it had reached a deal with San Jose State University’s Mike MacIntyre to take on the beleaguered CU football program.
MacIntyre will be the 25th head football coach in CU history. He has signed a five-year contract with a salary of $2 million annually, subject to final approval by the CU Board of Regents.
The CU Athletic Department fired former head coach Jon Embree in late November after just two seasons on the job. Embree went 4-21 during his time at CU, posting a 1-11 record for the 2012 season.
Last week, the Buffs were busy recruiting the University of Cincinnati’s Butch Jones, hosting his visit to campus on Monday and offering him at least $2.5 million per year with a five-year contract. After days of deliberation, Jones turned down the CU job. Jones still left the Bearcats, but opted instead for the head coaching position at the University of Tennessee.
While Jones had an impressive record at Cincinnati, going 23-14 over his three seasons as head coach, MacIntyre comes with credentials more applicable to CU. MacIntyre took the helm at San Jose State in 2010, taking over a team that had posted a 2-10 record in 2009. This year, the Spartans finished the season ranked 24th in the BCS rankings and went 10-2 on the season, the team’s first 10-win season in 25 years.
Talk about rebuilding.
At a news conference Monday night, MacIntyre said his experiences at San Jose State have prepared him well to build Colorado back into a competitive program.
“We will work tirelessly, we will work correctly, and we will work with passion,” MacIntyre said. “Yes, we’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve been there before and I know what to do.”
MacIntyre said he received a phone call from the CU Athletic Department shortly after Jones declined the job offer. He had not paid close attention to the process of Colorado recruiting Jones, as he was focused on his SJSU team and its bowl game preparation. Still, he said he was pleased to hear from the Buffs and is ready to turn his focus to his new team. He was unsure at the time of the news conference whether he planned on coaching the Spartans in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27.
“I’m going to do whatever Colorado wants me to do,” MacIntyre said. “My heart is at the bowl game, but my mind and body are here working … I think they’ll be fine without me. They are prepared, they’ve had a great season … I think they’ll be successful and get their 11th win and be the winningest team in San Jose State Division I history.”
MacIntyre said he would begin recruiting next year’s Buffs right away and would work on getting to know the current players on a more personal level.
“It starts with the young men,” MacIntyre said. “I’m going to meet with them individually when I get back, dive into their lives, find out who they are as people and what makes them tick. It’s more than X’s and O’s, and it’s more than the weight room … it’s a year-round process.”
The new coach emphasized changing the mindset and culture of the team and strengthening the players’ will to win.
“If you don’t believe you can win, you’re not going to win. Will we win every game? I don’t know,’ MacIntyre said. “My slogan is, ‘No excuses, no regrets.’”
MacIntyre closed the conference by introducing two very important pieces of his identity: his wife, Trisha MacIntyre, and his sense of humor.
“Looking at her, you can definitely tell I can recruit,” MacIntyre said. “She said no three times before she ever went on a date with me, and now she’s been stuck with me for 24 years.”
Many of the Buffs’ football players were dismayed at Embree’s sudden firing and expressed their shock on social media when it happened. But reacting to the news about MacIntyre, some, like offensive lineman commit Jonathan Huckins, seem to have made their peace with the change.
“Looking at this past season at SJSU, I am excited to see what he can do!” Huckins (@bighuck77) said on Twitter.
Freshman quarterback Shane Dillon (@shanedillonqb7) tweeted, “Heard some great news from coach, very excited for what’s to come!”
The hashtag #MacAttack has started trending on the social media site as a reference to the new hire. Follow @CoachMikeMac on Twitter for updates from the coach himself.
MacIntyre has the credentials to rebuild a struggling program. Just as importantly, he has a passion for the Colorado football legacy.
“When I was growing up and playing ball, Colorado was special,” MacIntyre said. “And I think we can get there again.”
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Caryn Maconi at Caryn.firstname.lastname@example.org.