When the Colorado Buffaloes storm the field behind Ralphie V in Denver on Sunday to kickoff their 124th season they will be led by the 25th head coach in the program's history and a coaching staff that will break a 34-year-old streak.

Not since Chuck Fairbanks replaced Bill Mallory for the 1979 season has an entire coaching staff turned over in one offseason in Boulder.

In each of the six coaching changes preceding Mike MacIntyre's hiring, at least one assistant coach from the previous staff has been retained. MacIntyre, who was hired away from San Jose State in December, came to Boulder with seven of his San Jose State assistant coaches. He hired two assistants -- wide receivers coach Troy Walters and special teams coordinator Toby Neinas -- from other programs to round out his staff.

All of this has to lead Buffs fans and former players to wonder if they have to worry about traditions being lost in the transition. It has happened before even with Buffs on the coaching staff.

Former CU coach Dan Hawkins didn't endear himself to former players during his tenure because he did away with parts of the program held sacred by men who had worn CU uniforms in recent decades.

One such mistake was painting over a wall outside the CU locker room with bricks painted a different color with the date and score of big victories from the past.

The reality is, part of the reason the school went looking for a former Buff to lead the program when Hawkins was fired was because of the strong sentiment among former players that the program had lost touch with its roots. Ultimately, CU turned to Jon Embree, who didn't enjoy much success on the field, but deserves credit for restoring much of what had been lost and introducing current players to more of the program's history.

MacIntyre has promised not to stray from the past even as he and his staff and players try to write new chapters and add to the history. It remains to be seen how well he is able to stay connected to the program's past without a coach on his staff who has experience at CU.

But he has made a point of inviting former players to practices and to speak with the team and former CU quarterback Darian Hagan remains with the program as director of player development. MacIntyre regularly seeks Hagan's opinion or just information on issues when he needs historical context.

"It means a great deal to me," MacIntyre said. "It's one of the reasons I'm here is the past tradition, understanding what they could be, what they were and what they can be again.

"It wasn't that long ago, I know in football it's almost like dog years as coaches, but it really wasn't that long ago they were very successful. It means a tremendous amount to me to run out behind Ralphie and be a part of the Colorado tradition and help be part of putting it where it should be. It's not about Mike MacIntyre doing it. It's about all of us doing it together."

That sentiment was echoed by every one of MacIntyre's assistants throughout the past month of preseason practices leading up to Sunday's debut. While they come from different eras, parts of the country and backgrounds, all of the men leading CU have an appreciation for the program's rich history. They're hoping to restore the luster the brand carried throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.

Defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat is back in the Pac-12 Conference where he starred as a player at Arizona State when the conference was the Pac-10. Jeffcoat said coaching in the conference he played in is meaningful to him. He said his whole family is eager to experience the feel of a game day at Folsom Field from the home team's perspective and seeing dad running with Ralphie.

"I'm excited to have the opportunity to coach at such a prestigious university and all the things they have and the tradition," Jeffcoat said. "We just want to do the best we can."

Walters played wide receiver at Stanford in the 1990s when the Buffs were a powerhouse program regularly ranked in the top 25 and competing for conference championships and invitations to the best bowl games.

Walters said he always looked at Colorado with respect and admiration as a player. One of his previous coaching stops before being hired in Boulder was coaching at Texas A&M at Kyle Field, one of the best atmospheres the college game has to offer.

Being on the sidelines there during a game watching the swaying crowd and hearing the assorted yells Aggies fans practice on Friday nights can make the hair on the back of your neck stand at attention. Walters believes Folsom Field can once again be a place in that mold.

"It's special," he said. "It's truly a blessing to be a coach at the University of Colorado with all the history, tradition, Ralphie and all the greats that have played here and great coaches. To have a little say in what happens is just an honor and a blessing. I can't wait for Colorado State and to run behind Ralphie and then when we open here against Central Arkansas in Folsom Field, one of the toughest stadiums to play in."

It's hard to believe that defensive coordinator Kent Baer has spent four decades coaching college football, most of it west of the Mississippi River, and he has never coached a game or attended a game at Folsom Field.

Baer grew up in Utah and said he has watched plenty of the Buffs on television over the years whether he was in Utah or coaching somewhere else in the Pac-12. You might say the opportunity to run on to the field behind Ralphie here in Boulder is on his coaching bucket list. He is slated to coach from the box high above the field on the west side of the stadium, but don't be surprised if he tries to sneak in one run this year before hustling up to his seat.

When asked in early August why he chose to follow MacIntyre to Boulder, he answered, in part, "Because over the years this place has been tremendous and it can be again."

Contact staff writer Kyle Ringo at ringok@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/kyleringo