Colorado hired a former Pac-12 head coach to replace Mel Tucker.
Former UCLA coach Karl Dorrell was officially announced as Colorado’s coach on Sunday. The Buffaloes had been without a coach since Tucker left to replace Mark Dantonio at Michigan State. Dantonio resigned a day before National Signing Day.
Dorrell is a former Colorado assistant. He was the team’s wide receivers coach in 1992 and 1993 and came back and was the offensive coordinator from 1995-98.
“I’m excited to be back, it’s like coming home,” Dorrell said in a Colorado statement. “The thing that excited me about this job is that my experience in the past here for the most part has been very successful. We had a lot of good teams, went to a lot of good bowl games. It’s a top caliber program that has a lot of potential, and I’m excited to return it to that level.”
Saturday, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported that Dorrell had emerged as the favorite to get the job.
Sources: Karl Dorrell has emerged as the favorite in the Colorado search. Numerous coaches involved in the job have been told they aren’t getting it. No deal done yet. But the Dolphins assistant and former UCLA head coach is trending as the top name.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 22, 2020
Dorrell, 56, was the wide receivers coach with the Miami Dolphins. He’d been with the Dolphins for just one season after spending four seasons in the same capacity with the New York Jets.
Per a Colorado release, Dorrell will get a five-year, $18 million contract. His first-year salary of $3.2 million is approximately $500,000 more than what Tucker was making. Dorrell will also have an assistant salary pool
Dorrell was the coach at UCLA from 2003-07. He compiled a 35-27 record in five seasons and his teams went to four bowl games. But the Bruins just won one of those games — a victory in the 2005 Sun Bowl.
That Sun Bowl win capped UCLA’s best win under Dorrell. The Bruins were 10-2 and jumped to as high as No. 7 in the AP top 25. Dorrell was fired after a 6-6 regular season in 2007 and replaced by Rick Neuheisel.
With the exception of 2014, when he was at Vanderbilt, Dorrell has spent his post-UCLA coaching career in the NFL.
Colorado’s search had encompassed numerous candidates and Dorrell isn’t the first NFL assistant who had been named as a candidate. Colorado reportedly interviewed former Arkansas coach and current New England Patriots assistant Bret Bielema earlier in the week.
Former Colorado running back and current Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy withdrew his name from consideration. Bieniemy was immediately named as a possibility when Tucker left for Michigan State, but he seems likely to get an NFL head coaching job sooner rather than later. Alabama offensive coach Steve Sarkisian also reportedly interviewed for the position but is staying with the Crimson Tide.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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