MacIntyre's motto: 'No excuses'
There's no getting around it; Colorado football has not been good lately. Even before this season's 1-11 campaign, the worst in school history, things have not gone well in the program for a while. The Buffs haven't seen a winning record since 2005 and it's been an uphill battle toward competitiveness in the Pac-12.
The school has gone 4-21 the past two seasons. There may not be a tougher BCS-level rebuilding job than the one in Boulder.
But in the wake of their surprising move to let go of Jon Embree over Thanksgiving weekend, athletic director Mike Bohn and the administration gave fans more than a glimmer of hope on Monday when the school announced the hiring of former San Jose State coach Mike MacIntyre. One can never judge a football hire at the outset, but the hire is a home run given what MacIntyre brings to the table.
MacIntyre is the perfect blend of an up-and-coming coach who also has the resumé the Buffaloes need to turn things around.
Colorado needed a program builder.
MacIntyre transformed San Jose State from 1-11 in his first year to a team that posted the program's first 10-win season, a bowl game and top 25 ranking in 2012. The Spartans nearly knocked off Pac-12 champion Stanford in a three-point game and scored wins over BYU and Louisiana Tech - and new Cal head coach Sonny Dykes - this year.
Colorado needed somebody who can recruit California, Texas and the South.
MacIntyre found success with in-state recruits at San Jose State by taking his summer camps to various cities, increasing exposure and building relationships with high schools. He knows how to recruit in the South from his days as Duke's defensive coordinator. He's also familiar with Texas after working as a secondary coach for the Dallas Cowboys (something that will play well with players from the state) and learned from a pretty good mentor in Bill Parcells while he was there.
"We're going to absolutely blanket Colorado and we're going to blanket California," he said. "I look at California as 'in-state' recruiting."
Colorado needed somebody who can work around facilities that are not state of the art. MacIntyre did that and more in San Jose.
Colorado needed somebody who could deal with unique restrictions such as limitations on staff contract terms and a focus on academics. MacIntyre's resume suggests he'll handle whatever it thrown at him.
"My slogan is no excuses, no regrets," MacIntyre said Monday. "Find a way."
With the Pac-12 looking like the wild West with so many offensive-minded head coaches, Colorado needed somebody who could keep the Buffs in striking distance. MacIntyre's speciality in coaching the secondary should be helpful for a team that lost by by an average margin of 28.2 points per game the past two seasons.
But above all, Colorado needed somebody excited for the challenge of rebuilding the program. A coach's son who understands what it takes to win in places that haven't had much success, MacIntyre jumped head first into an even tougher job in an even worse off conference and came out relatively unscathed in just three years at San Jose State.
"There's no question about it: We hired a football coach that all Buffs can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with," Bohn said on Monday. "We couldn't be prouder of Mike. He's a fit with our guiding principles and high academic standards at Colorado. He's a proven recruiter, a teacher and a leader who executes a plan to build a fundamentally strong program."
At his introductory press conference, the 47-year-old looked giddy to be in Boulder.
There's a lot to like about the job, despite the issues as of late. From picturesque Folsom Field to promises of facilities upgrades to a large fan base just looking for some success to a roster full of young-yet-experienced players, Colorado can return to relevance quicker than most think. Heck, the program has as many national titles the past 25 years as Texas and Oklahoma.
"I felt a sense of total commitment to getting it done it here," MacIntyre said. "When I was growing up, Colorado was special. I definitely think they can get back there again."
Coaches with more titles and wins on their resumes have failed before MacIntyre at Colorado. But in his first time standing in front of the media as the head coach of the Buffaloes, it sure did sound like he had a plan to turn around the program and was ready for the long climb back to the top.
"There's no reason Colorado shouldn't be at the top of the Pac-12 and competing year-in and year-out," he said. "I'm excited about that."