Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn officially informed members of the football team this morning that Dan Hawkins will no longer be their coach.
In a statement released by the school Bohn indicated that the five-game losing streak the Buffs are on has taken a toll on the program and influenced the change.
"We collectively believed that it was important to provide the opportunity for Dan as head coach and his current staff to pull things together, and things looked bright just one month ago after we opened with a 3-1 record," Bohn said.
"However, things have gone downhill from there. While we recognize the progress that we have made in several areas during nearly five years under Dan, the negativity and divisiveness that is associated with the current leadership has become detrimental and is beyond repair to our current enterprise and it's time to make a change."
Bohn told the team longtime linebackers coach Brian Cabral will serve as interim coach until the 24th head coach in CU history is hired. Bohn did not mention any possibilities for who that might be.
It is the second time Cabral has filled the role on an interim basis. He also did so in 2004 when former coach Gary Barnett was suspended following controversial comments made about former place-kicker Katie Hnida.
Cabral is 54 and has been coaching inside linebackers at CU on a full-time basis since 1990. He joined the coaching staff in 1989 as a graduate assistant. Cabral also played linebacker at Colorado and went on to a successful playing career in the NFL, helping the 1985 Chicago Bears win the Super Bowl.
Bohn said a search committee would be in place by the end of the week, if not sooner to conduct a national search to name a replacement. While there is no established timetable to name a replacement, the school said Bohn is fully aware that coaches can begin making in-home recruiting visits on December 1.
Former coach Bill McCartney has said he is interested in returning to lead the program he coached throughout much of the 1980s and the early 1990s. The Buffs won the national championship under McCartney in 1990.
Meanwhile, Hawkins expressed regret for not producing winning results on the field in the school's release.
"I've met some tremendously special people and had some fantastic experiences during my time here at Colorado," Hawkins said. "Unfortunately, I was not able to bring the wins that so many Buff faithful wish for and deserve. My biggest pain comes from not being able to see the joy and happiness on our players faces on more occasions following a victory.
"CU has a great group of young men running out behind Ralphie every Saturday, those guys have worked very hard in the classroom, off the field, and on the field and have earned the right to win. I want the Buffs to experience that special feeling.
"I'd like to thank all the great people who surround and support the program, and especially those people on our staff who touch the players on a day-to-day basis; they are special," Hawkins added. "Please come out and support the University of Colorado football program and the players in the last two home games, as well as on the road in Lincoln, they need and deserve your encouragement. In the future I wish nothing but the best for CU as it moves in to the Pac-12, I hope everyone concerned with the program will pitch in and support the program on the path to another national championship."
Players and coaches began heading to the practice fields about 7:30. A press conference is scheduled later this morning.
Hawkins had two seasons remaining on his contract, which runs through Jan. 31, 2013. He is scheduled to make $1,119,271 in guaranteed compensation this fiscal year, four months of which he has already been paid for. He will be owed about $2 million in additional guaranteed compensation for the 2011-12 fiscal year and seven months of the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau also has one of six multi-year deals allowed CU by state law, and a separation agreement would also have to be worked out with him if CU opted not to retain him as part of the next coaching staff.
Hawkins had been under fire since early in the 2009 season for a lack of wins from his program. The Buffs have never produced a winning season during his tenure and would need to win their remaining three games this year as well as a bowl game to do so.
The Buffs are 19-39 since Hawkins took over the program prior to the 2006 season. They are 10-27 in Big 12 Conference games and are 2-23 on the road, including 15 consecutive losses in true road games and 17 losses in a row in games played outside the state.
The loss at Kansas on Saturday was the final blow. The Buffs led 45-17 after the first play of the fourth quarter but surrendered 35 unanswered points to lose 52-45.
Hawkins addressed his mindset about the future and his fate on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference on Monday morning when asked if he was concerned about keeping his job.
"Life makes no promises. It doesn't. Life's an adventure," Hawkins said. "There is always risks to be taken, and that's the nature of this job and that's the nature of this profession. I don't think you walk around with that haunting you. I don't think that's your driving force by any means."