Sources told the Camera on Thursday Embree has hired former CU linebacker Kanavis McGhee to serve as defensive ends and outside linebackers coach. McGhee is the first member of Embree`s staff with no significant major college or NFL coaching experience.
McGhee did serve as a defensive assistant coach with the Amsterdam Admirals in NFL Europe in 2006. He has been living in Houston and working as a high school teacher and coach most recently.
McGhee was a standout outside linebacker with the Buffs from 1987-1990.
He was named to various All-America teams as a sophomore, junior and senior and was a three-time first team Big Eight selection. He was drafted in the second round by the New York Giants in 1991 and played for three different teams in his professional career.
McGhee joins his former CU teammate, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, on the new CU staff along with longtime linebackers coach Brian Cabral, defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiososopo and defensive coordinator Greg Brown.
Embree has three coaches still to hire unless he chooses not to retain former offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau as either wide receivers coach or quarterbacks coach. If he parts ways with Kiesau, Embree would have four openings remaining and the schoolwould have to buyout the final year of Kiesau`s contract.
Sources said Embree is considering multiple options for rounding out his staff, including not hiring a secondary coach and having Brown coach defensive backs along with his duties as defensive coordinator.
Embree is believed to be discussing jobs with five candidates, including Kiesau, for three or four offensive positions. He has ruled out coaching a position himself, as former coach Dan Hawkins did in the 2009 season when he served as wide receivers coach.
That means Embree needs an offensive line coach, a quarterbacks coach, a wide receivers coach and a tight ends coach, which is the position Embree played and has coached primarily during his career.
Bieniemy, who is the school`s all-time leading rusher and a career running backs coach, will likely coach running backs on top of his responsibilities as offensive coordinator.
Embree visits Berglund
Embree visited CU quarterback commit Brock Berglund at his home on Thursday night. Berglund is the leader of the Class 4A state championship team at Valor Christian High School and one of the best recruits in the state.
Berglund, a dual-threat quarterback, said he doesn`t know for sure who will coach his position when he arrives in Boulder. He said Embree was still trying to finalize that plan when they spoke.
"He said he has all kinds of guys who have been calling him from the NFL and colleges and he really doesn`t know right now," Berglund said.
Berglund grew up a Buffs fan and said he still loves the idea of playing in black and gold. He said the only thing that could prevent him from signing with CU in February is if something strange was to happen or if he discovered that he doesn`t get along with his future position coach.
When Berglund committed to CU in the summer, he said his relationship with Kiesau and the fact that Kiesau was going to be at the school beyond this season was a big factor in choosing the school over at least a dozen other schools.
"Person to person, we fit great," Berglund said, assessing what he knows of Embree so far.
Berglund said he watched video of NFL tight ends with Embree. He said it was entertaining because of some of the background information Embree was able to provide to help further explain some of the results. Berglund said it was a compliment that he was the first recruit Embree chose to visit.
"That`s cool," he said. "There`s no doubt about it."
Colorado senior Nate Solder was named to the Walter Camp All-America team on Thursday during the ESPN College Award Show.
Solder was the first CU offensive tackle to earn All-America honors in 31 years.