Dorrell out as coach at Colorado after 0-5 start to season

Colorado fired football coach Karl Dorrell after a 5-0 start that saw the Buffaloes lose by more than 20 points in every game.

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Colorado fired football coach Karl Dorrell after a 5-0 start that blew the Buffaloes by more than 20 points in every game.

The school announced the decision on Sunday, a day after a 43-20 loss in Arizona. It is only the fourth 0-5 start in Colorado history (1980, 1984 and 2006).

“I want everyone to know that I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Dorrell and the way he has run our football program with integrity,” said Rick George, Colorado athletics director. “He has helped us through the challenges of COVID-19 and has done so with class. He has made our young men better both in the classroom and in the church. He has guided our program to the highest GPA in our history and his team have been involved in many different community activities.

“Karl is a good man, I have a lot of respect for him and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

“However, the performance on the pitch fell far short of our expectations,” added George. “I know it starts with me. I hired Karl and it didn’t work out the way neither of us wanted. There are no excuses and I own my part of where we are today.”

Dorrell, 58, was hired as a backup when Mel Tucker rushed to Michigan State out of the blue in February 2020.

Dorrell’s appointment was met with surprise as he has been away from college coaching for some time. He was then an assistant with the Miami Dolphins but served as UCLA’s head coach from 2003-2007.

Dorrell, who had built a home in the Boulder area, agreed to a five-year, $18 million deal that ran through 2024. The acquisition, which is funded from the athletic department’s budget, is valued at about $8.7 million, but it could still be reduced to his next assignment.

Though the Buffaloes have only had two winning seasons since 2006 — and one of them was their 4-2 record during the pandemic in 2020 — George said he has confidence Colorado can regain prominence.

“We will do whatever is necessary to bring a winning football team back to this pitch,” said George. “…This place can and will be a football powerhouse. We have the facilities. We have the location. We have the programs. We have everything we need to be successful on the football pitch.”

George also called on local businesses to step up and make CU more competitive when it comes to NIL opportunities for the buffs.

Colorado waited to announce the news until Dorrell had a chance to brief his staff and players in a meeting. Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson was also fired.

Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford will serve as interim coach. Defensive coach Gerald Chatman will serve as the team’s defensive coordinator, while passing play coordinator/tight ends coach Clay Patterson will serve as offensive coordinator.

The Buffaloes are idle this week before hosting California. They have seven games left and Sanford said the goal is to get an eighth game — a bowl berth.

“We haven’t been eliminated in a postseason yet and it all starts off with a fantastic farewell week,” said Sanford. “…These players didn’t stop. They showed nothing but struggle.

Dorrell didn’t have a major offseason schedule in his inaugural season due to coronavirus restrictions, but he led the Buffaloes to a 4-2 mark — they started 4-0 — and an appearance at the Alamo Bowl. Dorrell was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

From then on it went downhill.

Colorado went 4-8 last season and saw several key starters exit the transfer portal. This season, Colorado has cycled through three quarterbacks to fuel an offense that ranks near the bottom end of the FBS ranks. The Buffaloes and rival Colorado State, who have a new coach in Jay Norvell, are the only two teams to go without a win in the FBS.

The loss to Arizona was the final blow for Dorrell, whose team was outplayed by a 216-67 lead. The Wildcats were a team predicted to finish 11th in the preseason Pac-12 media poll, with Colorado last. The Buffaloes’ defense gave up a total of 673 yards Saturday — the most since Arizona conceded 616 yards in 2015.

Dorrell has weathered some rocky moments during his time in Boulder. A year ago, he apologized a day after losing his calm and pushing a photojournalist’s camera on his way off the field after a 37-14 loss to Southern California.

He also came under fire last season for skipping his usual post-game radio show after a 30-0 loss to the Gophers. Additionally, Dorrell drew scrutiny when he failed to make his players available after a 55-23 loss to Texas at the Alamo Bowl.

Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, the Buffaloes have turned to coaches like Jon Embree, Mike MacIntyre, Tucker and Dorrell to try to turn the Buffaloes around. MacIntyre led the Buffaloes to the 2016 conference championship game, but it was his only six-win season.

Tucker appeared to have the Buffaloes on track, bringing several top prospects with him before leaving for Michigan State after one season. That opened the door for Dorrell, who served as receiver coach and later offensive coordinator for Colorado in the 1990s.

A national search for a coach is set to begin soon. Dorrell out as coach at Colorado after 0-5 start to season

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