Chance Named CU Cornerbacks Coach
BOULDER — University of Colorado head football coach Karl Dorrell announced on Friday the addition of Rod Chance to his staff as the Buffaloes' new cornerbacks coach.
As with all hires of this nature, it is subject to the approval of CU's Board of Regents.
Chance, 37, wrapped up two seasons as cornerbacks coach at the University of Oregon on Wednesday night in the Valero Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma. He first crossed paths with Dorrell at Vanderbilt University in 2014, when he was in defensive quality control and Dorrell the Commodores' offensive coordinator.
"Rod comes to us as a coach that can develop our corners and impact our defense right away," Dorrell said. "He is known as a developer, a strong recruiter and has the defensive knowledge to help our secondary improve and play at a high level."
"I'm excited and privileged to join such a great staff of good people," Chance said. "I am looking forward to get right to work and help the foundation that's being built in Boulder. At Vanderbilt, I had the privilege of learning and developing under Coach Dorrell and Coach (Brett) Maxie (CU's secondary coach) and it's exciting to be reuniting with them. I want to thank coach and athletic director Rick George for having the faith in me for this opportunity."
A Closer Look at Rod Chance
Chance has coached seven seasons at Power 5 schools in three conferences (Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten) with experience both as a defensive backs coach and a defensive coordinator. He completed two seasons at Oregon under head coach Mario Cristobal, with the Ducks winning the Pac-12 title in 2020 and the league's North Division in 2021. He actually returned to Oregon after spending the 2019 coaching the cornerbacks at Minnesota. He was a defensive analyst for Oregon in 2018.
In his second stint in Eugene, Chance helped the Ducks to their second straight Pac-12 Conference championship and a berth in the 2021 Fiesta Bowl opposite Iowa State. He had the task of coaching the cornerbacks in a secondary that lost three of its starters to opt-outs because of COVID-19, including corner Thomas Graham Jr., a three-year starter. The Ducks were 14-7 in his last two seasons, which also included the Pac-12 North Division title and a berth against Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl.
Despite the absence of Graham, Chance coached a pair of corners in 2020 that earned All-Pac-12 honors. Mykael Wright, Graham's replacement, claimed first-team recognition from the Associated Press and the league coaches after leading the Pac-12 in passes defended with nine (1.29 per game). Deommodore Lenoir earned second-team honors from both AP and the coaches.
Lenoir joined three other Oregon defensive backs selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. San Francisco selected him in the fifth round, while opt-outs Graham, Jevon Holland and Brady Breeze all were drafted. Chance had coached Graham (Chicago, sixth round) and safeties Holland (Miami, second round) and Breeze (Tennessee, sixth round) during the 2018 season when he was an analyst. That season, Chance brought his defensive coordinator experience to Oregon's staff. The defense continued its steady improvement and helped the Ducks a 9-4 record, capped by a 7-6 win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl, the second-fewest points surrendered by Oregon in the school's bowl history.
Oregon's youthful secondary was a big part of the improvement on the defensive side of the ball that year. The Ducks tied for 11th nationally with 17 interceptions (four returned for touchdowns). Oregon was one of two teams that saw four players intercept three or more passes. Seattle selected safety Ugochukwu Amadi in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, thus totaling five players in all that Chance coached who would go on to the NFL.
In his one season at Minnesota, he helped the Gopher defense finish No. 9 nationally against the pass for in 2019. Minnesota finished 11-2, shared the Big Ten's West Division title, defeated Auburn in the Outback Bowl and finished No. 10 in final Associated Press poll, the school's highest finish since 1962. As cornerbacks coach, he saw the Gophers improve from 51st to ninth in passing defense, with much of the credit going to starting cornerback duo of Coney Durr and Benjamin St-Juste, who both earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. His guidance also helped Minnesota's defense finish tied for 10th nationally in passing touchdowns allowed (14), tied for eighth in fewest 20-yard pass plays allowed (30) and tied for 17th with 14 interceptions.
He originally joined Oregon from Southern Utah University, where he was the defensive coordinator for two seasons (20-16-17). In 2017, Chance's defensive unit finished third in the Big Sky Conference in scoring defense and forced 29 turnovers (including 15 interceptions) to help lead SUU to a 9-3 record and the league championship. Over his two seasons in Cedar City, 11 different players earned Big Sky All-Conference honors, including three first-teamers. In 2017, cornerback Jalen Russell was named a Freshman All-American by Phil Steele's College Football.
His first coaching opportunity in the collegiate ranks came at Rhode Island, his alma mater, for spring practices in 2013, where he coached and developed the cornerbacks. He had an opportunity to jump from the FCS to the FBS later that year, and joined the Vanderbilt University staff as an offensive quality control analyst for the 2013 season.
He was hired by James Franklin at Vanderbilt, and worked daily with the offensive line and assisted in all on-campus recruiting efforts. After Franklin left for Penn State, Derek Mason took over the program in 2014 and retained Chance but switched him into defensive quality control. At Vandy, he was involved in the daily development of the secondary, with particular emphasis with the cornerbacks. Over his two seasons with the Commodores, he gained invaluable experience in several areas involving the secondary and defense overall.
Chance soon went into teaching after his playing days, first as a long-term substitute at his high school alma mater in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. It is also where he started his road down the coaching profession at Alpharetta (Ga.) High School. Over the course of four seasons there (2009-2012), he was the offensive and defensive coordinator for the football team, while coaching the defensive backs and wide receivers; in addition, he was the head track coach and assistant boys basketball coach. Following the 2012 season, 12 players from Alpharetta signed letters-of-intent with Division I programs, with several joining Power 5 schools. In the classroom, he was a special education teacher in math and science, where he developed lesson plans and implemented individualized education plans.
Chance graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies in 2005. He was a four-year starter at cornerback, finishing his career with 108 tackles, 11 interceptions and nine pass deflections. A team captain as a senior in 2005, he was voted URI's Defensive Back of the Year that same season. In his final semester, he worked as an intern in the Ram's media relations office.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, he enjoyed a standout prep career at the city's St. Thomas Aquinas High School, as he lettered in football, basketball and track. He had two summer minority internships with NFL teams, with the Tennessee Titans in 2014 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, and was selected to the AFCA "35 Under 35" Coaches Leadership Institute in 2020. Prior to entering the teaching profession, he was the athletic coordinator for the City of Atlanta.
|2009-12||Alpharetta (Ga.) High School||Defensive Backs/Wide Receivers/Special Teams|
|2016-17||Southern Utah||Defensive Coordinator|