Colorado denied a report that it has decided to fire Mike MacIntyre at the end of the season.
ABC 7 in Denver reported late Monday night that CU will “part ways” with MacIntyre “effective at the end of this season.” On Tuesday, the school responded with a statement from athletic director Rick George.
“We do not comment on speculation or unsubstantiated rumors with anonymous sources. Let me just say I have made no decisions regarding the future of the football program. As I’ve stated in the past, we continually evaluate all aspects of our 17 intercollegiate sport programs,” George said.
MacIntyre said Tuesday that he received “100 percent support” when he met with George two weeks ago and that he’d likely see his AD later in the day.
“Two weeks ago he came in and saw me and said he’s completely behind me. I’ve seen him multiple times since then. He’s never said a word to me about anything to this effect,” MacIntyre said.
“I don’t think my job is in jeopardy. But you’ve got to win games. I do know this: When I came here, this was the worst Power (Five) football program. A laughingstock of college football. When I went to San Jose it was the worst program in Division I football. And we turned that around. We came here and the gold helmet is not tarnished anymore.”
After starting the season 5-0, the Buffaloes have lost five consecutive games, including blowing a 31-3 lead in an overtime home loss to Oregon State. At his Tuesday press conference, MacIntyre used a photo of a “buffalo walking into a storm” as a metaphor for the team’s season.
MacIntyre is in his sixth season at CU, where he has a 30-43 (14-38 Pac-12) record. The Buffs were just 10-27 with two conference wins in his first three seasons before breaking through and winning the Pac-12 South in 2016. Since then, the team has been mediocre at best. CU went 5-7 in 2017 and is now on the verge of missing a bowl game for the fifth time under MacIntyre. In order to reach the postseason, Colorado must beat either Utah at home or Cal on the road.
Colorado had off-field turmoil involving an assistant coach
MacIntyre came under scrutiny in late 2016 for his handling of domestic abuse allegations against assistant coach Joe Tumpkin. An investigation concluded that MacIntyre and other administrators made mistakes in their handling of the claims made against Tumpkin by a former girlfriend. However, the investigation determined that there was no intent to cover up the abuse claims.
MacIntyre was ordered by the school to make a $100,000 donation to a fund “addressing domestic violence issues.” He also received a letter of reprimand and was instructed to undergo further training.
The woman involved informed MacIntyre of the abuse in December 2016, but MacIntyre allowed Tumpkin, the team’s defensive backs coach, to serve as CU’s interim defensive coordinator (after Jim Leavitt left for Oregon) in the Alamo Bowl in January. MacIntyre said he let Tumpkin coach in the game because “at the time of the decision, there was no police report or legal complaint.” He said that decision was approved by his superiors in the athletic department. George said he could have “handled the situation better.”
Tumpkin’s accuser once sued MacIntyre
In Sept. 2017, Tumpkin’s accuser, Pamela Fine, filed a lawsuit against Tumpkin, MacIntyre, George, Colorado president Bruce Benson and CU chancellor Phil DiStefano. It alleged assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress against Tumpkin and negligence and civil conspiracy against MacIntyre, George, Benson and DiStefano.
However, in July 2018, the four CU officials were removed from the suit. A judge dismissed MacIntyre and the other Colorado officials from the case because the university’s rules weren’t designed to protect Fine because she was not a university employee.
MacIntyre signed an extension through 2021
The deal extended MacIntyre’s contract through the 2021 season and was worth $16.25 million.
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