One year later, the relationship seems preordained.
Karl Dorrell has instilled his brand of calm and cool into a Colorado football program that was in dire need of both — a program that had been ditched by its head coach, a program that was forever one win short, that had a fragile roster and lacked momentum and was consumed by uncertainty as the pandemic descended and society lurched to the edge.
One year later, the skeptics have been silenced.
Unflappable as the Flatirons, Dorrell provided instant stability, kept the roster intact, managed his staff, navigated the local health restrictions, demanded accountability, identified a quarterback, guided the Buffaloes to unexpected success and was named the 2020 Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
“He has done everything I thought he would do, and he has been exactly who I thought he was,’’ Colorado athletic director Rick George said recently as he reflected on the process that led to Dorrell being named head coach on Feb. 23, 2020.
“We wanted somebody who could stabilize the program, who cared about young men and shared the same aspirations for this program that I did and could bring back the success we had in the 1990s and early 2000s.”
Those shared aspirations formed the bond between George and Dorrell that sealed the deal on a pleasant Friday afternoon in an immaculate home in Lafayette, Colo., a few miles from the CU campus.
George extended the job offer while standing in Dorrell’s living room, near a giant container of Hershey’s Kisses, following a five-hour conversation, lunch from Jersey Mike’s and a timely interruption by Federal Express.
That conversation — the conversation that changed CU football — came approximately 12 hours after Dorrell’s name first appeared on George’s radar.
The 27th head coach in Colorado history went from zero-to-hired in one day.
Thursday, Feb. 20, lunchtime, Boulder.
Rick George was stuck. Nine days into his search, he had plenty of candidates but no coach.
Nobody felt right in his gut.
“When I think about where I was at that point,’’ he recalled, “I wasn’t sure if anybody we were looking at was the right person.”
Just two weeks earlier, George felt good about the state of the program and the man leading it.
Mel Tucker, fresh off his first season in Boulder, had been linked by media reports to the vacancy at Michigan State, where he once served as a graduate assistant under an up-and-coming head coach named Nick Saban.
On Feb. 8, George asked Tucker if he had any interest in the MSU job.
Tucker’s response: No.
On Feb. 9, the Spartans struck out with their preferred candidate, Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell.
George went back to Tucker.
“Are we good? Do we need to talk about anything?”
“Nope,” Tucker responded, according to George. “We’re good.”
On Feb. 10, George checked into a local hospital for back surgery.
He was home the next day but heavily medicated and spent the late afternoon asleep.
At 6:30 p.m., he awoke to a barrage of text and voice messages: The Spartans were coming after Tucker with full steam and a loaded wallet.
By midnight, it was over.
Tucker had …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports
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