One of the more interesting coaching searches in the country revolves around the opening at the University of Colorado. A lot of discussion has been made over how Jon Embree was fired, but there’s been even more banter about who will replace him.
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn has said all along that his target for the opening is a current D-1 head coach. However, rumors began circulating around names such as Mark Mangino and even Bobby Petrino, but neither of those former coaches are viable due to their past troubles. Other names that have come up are Tim DeRuyter of Fresno State, Bronco Mendenhall of BYU and most people’s top candidate, Utah State’s Gary Andersen.
With that said, the best candidate for the Colorado job opening is Cincinnati’s Butch Jones. Let me tell you why.
In his two previous coaching positions, at Central Michigan and now with the Bearcats, he’s compiled a 49-27 record and has become one of the hot names in coaching circles around the country.
It almost seems like Jones was made to coach at Colorado because he’s everything that the Buffs are looking for. They want a more offensive-oriented coach and Jones has showcased his offensive success at both of his previous stops. His is up-tempo spread offense is what Colorado needs to be more successful in their new conference. He recruits well for his system and even though his classes aren’t highly regarded, he knows how to coach them for his style of play. He focuses on making sure his athletes represent the term student-athletes first as his Bearcats were No. 1 last year in the Big East in academics. Finally, he knows how to win at a high level on a low budget, as evidenced by his fifth bowl appearance in six seasons as a head coach.
As Woody Paige of the Denver Post pointed out, Jones could be comparable to Brian Kelly and the success that he’s having at Notre Dame. Kelly coached at both Central Michigan and Cincinnati before leaving for Notre Dame in 2010 and Jones succeeded him at both schools. It isn’t that farfetched to think that Jones could have success at Colorado if he were to become the next head coach. The one concern is that Kelly built the teams up for Jones to inherit and if he came to Colorado, would he be able to build up an unsuccessful team himself?
However, Jones is a hot commodity in the coaching carousel as Tennessee, Auburn and Purdue have all shown interest in him for their respective job openings. On top of that, before Kentucky hired Mark Stoops, it was rumored that Jones turned them down twice.
Cincinnati won’t want him to leave and they have showed him that with contract extensions. After signing a five-year deal in 2010, Jones signed an extension through 2017 that will pay him $1.575 million with increases each season. If Jones were to leave after this season, his buyout would total around $1.75 million. His salary at Cincinnati makes him a perfect candidate under Colorado’s salary stipulation, seeing that Bohn is willing to pay the next head coach around $2.5 million per year.
Although the Colorado job opening is not as attractive as the other job opening around the country, there is still plenty of opportunity to succeed in Boulder.
Hopefully Jones recognizes that and realizes that he is the perfect fit to be the next leader of the Colorado Buffaloes.
At least the Colorado fans hope so.