Bill McCartney is still the face of Colorado football in many ways, and the former coach was front and center this week as the Buffaloes prepared for Stanford.

McCartney was featured in the ESPN 30 for 30 film "The Gospel According to Mac," which premiered Tuesday. The documentary focused on McCartney's 13 years as head coach of Colorado as he built the Buffaloes into a national power while generating controversy on and off the field.

McCartney was happy with how the film turned out and used the opportunity to throw his support behind current CU coach Mike MacIntyre.

"What I see in him is a really fine man who's a man of his word and loves football," McCartney said of MacIntyre before the Buffs took on Stanford on Saturday. "I'm ready to take our time and let this thing build in the right way. Right now we're building something."

MacIntyre is trying to reach the heights McCartney did as the Buffaloes head coach from 1982-94. The pinnacle was beating Notre Dame in the 1991 Orange Bowl to earn a share of the 1990 national championship.

The film covered that championship season, which included the controversial fifth down game at Missouri. It also dealt with the legal problems some team members had as well as McCartney's faith and family, including his daughter having a child with the team's star quarterback out of wedlock.

"I was thrilled with the way it turned out because they asked me a lot more questions than turned up on the screen," McCartney said. "I've had enough controversy so I thought they did a good job balancing faith and football."


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The film comes at a time when the football program is far from where it was under McCartney. He struggled to win early but by his fourth year his team was going to bowl games. They were consistently ranked until he abruptly announced his retirement at the end of the 1994 season.

He has always kept an eye on Colorado football and thinks the program's location is a selling point.

"The best-kept secret in college football is Boulder, Colorado," McCartney said. "This is as good as it gets. Coaching at Michigan, in that big stadium in the Big Ten, and then coming here, that's when I learned that."

The Buffaloes honored the former coach by wearing traditional uniforms from when McCartney was at the helm. He was touched by the gesture.

"That really encourages me," he said, "You hope you can still connect, you can still relate. It encourages me that they're wearing a uniform today that they weren't normally going to wear. I was hoping they were going to do this."