Why Jon Embree shouldn’t have been fired

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Jon Embree should not have been fired. It’s that simple. Firing him was the most ridiculous thing Athletic Director Mike Bohn could have done. Embree didn’t even have a chance.

After only two seasons and only one and a half recruiting classes the Buffs are looking for their third head football coach since 2005. Who would ever want to take this job?

Colorado head coach Jon Embree watches a replay on the video board during the second half of Saturday’s 28-30 loss to Sacramento State. CUI’s Scott Annis discusses why Embree shouldn’t have been fired. (James Bradbury/CU Independent)

When asked if the next coach is going to succeed at the helm of the Buffs, “”How long does he have?” Embree said.

No coach is going to want to come in and take over the mess that is the Colorado Buffaloes football program knowing that if he fails right away he will be given the hook.

Well, it’s not a complete mess. The Buffs had one of the top 30 recruiting classes in all of college football last year. Thanks to Embree things were looking promising for Colorado unlike when his predecessor, Dan Hawkins, was here. That is all down the drain now.

Colorado already has 14 recruits committed for next season including a four star quarterback out of Washington. They were coming here because Embree recruited them and some have already started to question whether they will stay committed to CU.

Embree had a good thing going and said in his final press conference that even without him the Buffs will be a better football team next year. Most of his work will show down the line and with his early departure, he won’t get the chance to watch his team come to fruition.

Why didn’t it work this year? Youth. Colorado started more freshmen than anyone else in the country. They started with 16 on the season-opening depth chart out of the 22 positions. That is the most in Colorado history.

Their best wide receiver, Paul Richardson, was lost for the entire season due to a knee injury and the quarterback situation was the definition of instability. Given more time it is inevitable that Embree would have found a better quarterback.

The reason Embree had to start so many freshmen was because the players he recruited were that much better than the upper classmen that Hawkins already had in place. The inexperience led to the loss of some games but the alternative was playing subpar players who were older.

In eight of Colorado’s 12 games they were within two touchdowns at halftime. Most of those games ended in blowouts owing to the youth and inexperience of the team. Older teams know how to finish games and the Buffs would have been there if given time.

Many players came to show their support of Embree at his final press conference, including quarterback Jordan Webb.

“We all really liked Coach Embree a lot,” Webb said. “And he loved us, also. Sad to see him go.”

Along with players being upset about his departure, there were financial issues. Bohn said that part of his firing had to do with ticket sales being down and fans not attending games. At the same time though, the Buffs now have to pay Embree $1.625 million to honor his contract. That’s a hefty pay day for doing nothing the next three years.

With Hawkins still on the payroll that means that CU will be paying three coaches next year. That doesn’t sound like the fiscally sound decision Bohn thought it might be.

Off the field Embree boasts 10 players who made the Pac-12 All-Academic team including four on the first team.

There was obviously no reason for Embree to be fired. Especially not the way it was done this year. Having been assured all season that his job was safe, Bohn blindsided Embree with his decision.

This isn’t the way we should treat one of our own, a CU alum and a good coach. We might have a better football team next year but only because of the pieces that Jon Embree put in place.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Scott Annis at Robert.annis@colorado.edu.

Scott Annis

Scott is a Senior at CU majoring in Creative Writing. He grew up in Thornton, CO but spent time living in the Bay Area and North Carolina. Scott spends most of his time focused on sports. When he isn’t writing about them or watching them he plays on the CU Rugby team. Follow Scott on Twitter @SportsbyScott. Scott also writes for throughthefencebaseball.com.

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