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Catching Up With The Buffs: Koy Detmer Has High Praise For Dorrell

Sep 18, 2020

BOULDER — Koy Detmer played for the Colorado Buffaloes when winning was the norm, bowl games were a given and top 20 finishes were the expectation.

Detmer played for the Buffs from 1992 through 1996, spanning the end of the Bill McCartney era and covering the first two years of the Rick Neuheisel regime. In that time, the Buffs went 48-10-2, played in five bowl games and finished in the top 20 all five years (and the top 10 three times).

"That was a lot of fun," Detmer said in a recent interview. "We had a lot of really good players and a lot of really good coaches. We had some great times."

Detmer played a full season only once in his career in Boulder, thanks to a knee injury that sidelined him midway through the 1995 season.

But his name is still sprinkled liberally throughout the CU record book. He is seventh on the all-time passing yards chart, he owns four of the top 10 passing games in CU history, his five 400-yard passing games are more than twice as many as any other Buffs quarterback (Joel Klatt is next with two) and he is still the all-time Colorado leader in passing efficiency for a season (189.4) and completion percentage for a season (68.4).

Detmer was a seventh-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1997, and spent nine years in the NFL. He then returned to his home state of Texas and eventually got into coaching, first working for his dad, legendary Sonny Detmer, then taking over the reins of Mission High School in 2016, where he starred as a prep.

He has since added the title of Athletics Coordinator at Mission, and is entering his fifth season with the Eagles as their head coach.

But he still keeps a close eye on the Buffaloes — and believes they made the right choice in selecting Karl Dorrell to head the program.

Detmer is quite familiar with Dorrell's work. He remembers when Dorrell coached CU's wide receivers in 1992 and '93, and then worked closely with him in 1995 and '96, when Dorrell was the Buffs' offensive coordinator.

"I liked playing for him — he's always been a real sharp offensive guy," Detmer said. "He knows his stuff and he knows how to put the best guys in position to make plays and be effective."

The Buffs were no doubt rolling in high gear in 1996, Detmer's senior season. In 11 games that year, Detmer threw for 3,156 yards and 22 touchdowns as the Buffs rolled to a 10-2 record that included a Holiday Bowl win over Washington.

But what Detmer also remembers well has nothing to do with Xs and Os. 

"He's just got a great demeanor as a coach," he said. "He knows how to deal with players. He's a really even-keeled guy and players respected him and trusted him. He was a players coach then and I'm sure he'll be a players coach now. He always had us ready to play and he made it fun while you were working. I know he'll do a great job there."

Like every other coach in America, 2020 has presented a long host of challenges for Detmer. Along with his program being put on hold by the Covid-19 pandemic, Detmer also had to deal with the effects of a hurricane that brought torrential rain to Mission in July. The resulting flood damaged a huge chunk of the Eagles' equipment, which he has been steadily restocking since.

And, the pandemic has hit close to home. One of his player's father died from the virus, as did two school employees.

"There's been some things that have made it tough," he said. "Dealing with all the pandemic stuff, the hurricane … it's just been one of those years."

But the Eagles finally received some good news earlier this week when they got the go-ahead to begin practice on Sept. 28 and then — hopefully — begin playing games after three weeks of practice.

"Right now, things have been looking better (with the virus), so we feel pretty strongly that we'll get a chance to start practicing on that date and hopefully get up and running," Detmer said. "But we're going to be starting from ground zero. We haven't been able to do anything with our kids since the end of June, so we're going to have to get up and going in a hurry."

Detmer was hired at Mission to help bring back the success the program enjoyed when he played there for his father in the early 1990s. He has led the Eagles to a league title and the 6A state playoffs the last two seasons, but the late start this year won't make the job any easier.

"We play seven games and then hopefully the playoffs," he said. "There's not much margin for error."

Detmer recently added the duties of athletics coordinator at Mission to his plate.

"It's never really something I thought I'd get into, but it's been a good learning experience," he said. "I always figured I'd get into coaching, but this has been something new. There's some things I really enjoy. You get to be involved with all the different sports and there's something going on all year. There's always some competition to keep you busy."

Detmer always figured to follow in his father's coaching footsteps, so it's no surprise that his son, Koy Jr., is doing so as well, working in his first year as an assistant at Texa A&M-Kingsville as the running backs coach.

"He likes it," Detmer said. "I think he's going to be a good one."

Contact: Neill.Woelk@Colorado.edu