The University of Colorado has made new defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt the highest-paid assistant coach in school history.

Coach Mike MacIntyre hired Leavitt last week to replace Kent Baer, who left for UNLV in December. Leavitt agreed to a three-year deal worth approximately $500,000 annually, surpassing the contract former CU offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy received in 2011 that paid him approximately $475,000 annually.

CU has not officially released the terms of Leavitt's contract because it still must be approved by the CU Board of Regents.

Leavitt spent the past four seasons coaching linebackers for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. Before his move to the pro level, he built the South Florida program from the ground up over a 13-year period and served as defensive coordinator at Kansas State in the early 1990s.

CU also hired Joe Tumpkin last week to coach safeties. Tumpkin spent the past five years as defensive coordinator at Central Michigan.

Leavitt and Tumpkin hit the ground running when they arrived in Boulder last week. The Buffs are slated to begin spring football Monday, and Leavitt, Tumpkin, MacIntyre and other members of the defensive staff had slightly more than a week to iron out the basics of the defense they will be teaching players this spring.

"We'll be in there the next week looking at it hard," MacIntyre said late last week. "I've already formulated all my notes and ideas and I'll listen to their notes and ideas and we'll kind of combine it."

When the 2014 season ended, MacIntyre said his top goal for the offseason was improving on the defensive side of the ball.


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MacIntyre said there will be some scheme changes this spring for players to adjust to but he plans to keep some parts of the defense. MacIntyre said he decided on the changes he wants to incorporate after studying film of next season's opponents over the holidays.

Kyle Ringo: ringok@dailycamera.com, on Twitter: @kyleringo