November 26, 2009
Given his 16-32 record and characteristically manic attempts at defending himself and taking stock of his regrets over the last month, it was easy to assume the sand had run out of Dan Hawkins' hourglass after four straight losing seasons at Colorado. A good guess as the Buffs wrap up their fourth straight losing season, but also a wrong one as of this morning, when Hawkins got the official go-ahead to return to the CU sideline in 2010:
University of Colorado officials decided to bring back football coach Dan Hawkins for a fifth season Thursday with no stipulations for changes in his coaching staff and without setting a target number of wins for next season.
Citing a need for stability and continuity and the results Hawkins' players have produced in the classroom, athletic director Mike Bohn said he and Chancellor Phil DiStefano chose to give their football coach another year to show improvement in the Big 12 standings.
The upshot: A "renegotiation" of Hawkins' contract (currently in place through the end of the 2012 season) is likely on the horizon, to "[give] the school more flexibility," in the words of the Boulder Daily Camera -- i.e., to reduce the $3 million buyout if Colorado fires Hawkins without cause, rumored to be a major stumbling block for any designs the cash-strapped university had on parting ways with Hawk.
The situation next year will resemble Greg Robinson's awkwardly lingering death rattle at Syracuse last year in that both captains were invited back for a final, futile attempt to raise the ship from depths to which it hadn't descended in decades, despite no discernible progress in any major area. In a make-or-break year, the Buffs lost their first two games to Colorado State and Toledo; watched two of their more talented members, cousins Darrell Scott and Josh Smith, both jump ship for UCLA; and sit four points against Kansas away from sole possession of last place in the Big 12 North with no prospects of forthcoming improvement. This is the guy already best known for his "This is Big 12 Football! Go play innermurals! rant, so it tells you all you need to know about the surprise of his return and the grim prospects of its long-term success that he's only just now become the easiest coaching target in the country over the next year.