Colorado fires head coach Mike MacIntyre

Mike MacIntyre had a 30-44 record as Colorado’s head coach. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Mike MacIntyre had a 30-44 record as Colorado’s head coach. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Colorado is moving on from Mike MacIntyre.

Following a report from ABC 7 in Denver last week and further reporting from ESPN’s Chris Low, the school confirmed it has fired MacIntyre. CU athletic director Rick George informed the sixth-year coach of the decision not to retain him on Sunday. The news was subsequently shared with MacIntyre’s staff and the team later Sunday morning.

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Colorado started the season 5-0 and was ranked No. 19 in the country. Since then, the Buffs have lost six consecutive games, including a lifeless 30-7 home defeat to Utah on Saturday. MacIntyre will not coach the season finale at Cal. Kurt Roper, the team’s quarterbacks coach, has been named the interim coach. A win over Cal would clinch bowl eligibility for the Buffs. 

Following the loss to the Utes, Colorado dropped to 30-44 under MacIntyre, including a 14-39 mark in Pac-12 play. The Buffs were just 10-27 with two conference wins in his first three seasons before breaking through with a Pac-12 South title in 2016. Since then, CU went 5-7 in 2017 and is now on the verge of missing a bowl game for the fifth time in the last six years.

“I want to thank Mike for six seasons of hard work and dedication to the program, both on and off the field,” George said. “There’s no doubt that the 2016 season was magical, and it appeared we were headed back to taking our place among the nation’s elite. However, analyzing the direction of the program over the last two years, I felt this is the necessary time to make a change.”

After the Pac-12 South title season, MacIntyre signed a contract extension through 2021. The school said MacIntyre has $10.3 million remaining on the deal.

“If he obtains new employment in the National Football League or as a collegiate head coach, CU’s contract obligations will be reduced by his new salary amount,” CU said in a release. “The athletic department will make monthly payments from its budget over the course of next three years; none of the funds will come from tuition money, taxpayer dollars or the campus general fund.”

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MacIntyre: Colorado ‘a laughingstock’ before I arrived

MacIntyre said Tuesday that he didn’t think his job was “in jeopardy.” He also was blunt about the state of the CU program prior to his arrival from San Jose State. CU didn’t play in a bowl in the five seasons that preceded MacIntyre’s arrival, including its first two seasons in the Pac-12 following the transition from the Big 12.

“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,” MacIntyre said.

After Saturday’s game, MacIntyre told reporters he had opportunities to leave Colorado for another job, but chose not to.

“I had plenty of opportunities to leave,” MacIntyre said via the Daily Camera. “A lot of people told me to leave, just like a lot of people told me not to come here, and I wanted to come here. My family loves it here, we love it here. I definitely feel like this program … well, I know and you all know — you saw it before I got here — it was abysmal.”

He was also hopeful he would stick around. From the Daily Camera:

“No I don’t feel like it was my last game,” he said. “We’ve got one more; hopefully we can win that and go to a bowl game. Going to a bowl game would be big for this program — two out of the last three years when they hadn’t done it around here in a long, long time.”

MacIntyre 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. The investigation determined that there was no intent to cover up the abuse claims.

MacIntyre was given a letter of reprimanded and ordered by the school to make a $100,000 donation to a fund “addressing domestic violence issues.”

The woman involved informed MacIntyre of the alleged abuse in December 2016, but MacIntyre allowed Tumpkin, the team’s defensive backs coach, to serve as CU’s interim defensive coordinator in the Alamo Bowl. MacIntyre said he let Tumpkin coach in the game because “at the time of the decision, there was no police report or legal complaint.”

Tumpkin, who was charged with multiple felonies, was suspended Jan. 6, 2017, and resigned three weeks later. Tumpkin was offered a misdemeanor plea deal last month.

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