In a deluge of hardware encompassing just a few short weeks, Mike MacIntyre earned more accolades than most football coaches can hope for during an entire career.
Name the national coach of the year honor, and the leader of the Colorado Buffaloes probably won it. That list includes the Associated Press, Walter Camp Foundation, and the Eddie Robinson Award. On Thursday MacIntyre will learn if the Maxwell Football Club's Bobby Dodd Trophy will be added to that lengthy list, an honor his father won in 1982.
It's enough to make MacIntyre's Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year honor, a first for a CU coach since the Buffs joined the league, seem almost trivial. Yet MacIntyre hardly did it alone, from Darrin Chiaverini and Brian Lindgren meshing as co-offensive coordinators to a committee approach to special teams that made those units far more functional, if not yet a team strength, than in 2015.
Here's a glance at the most meaningful contributions from MacIntyre's staff.
Jim Leavitt (Defensive coordinator)
While Leavitt already has moved on to take the same role at league rival Oregon, his contributions cannot be understated in turning the Buffs' defense from a sieve to a brick wall in just two seasons in Boulder. CU ranked first in the Pac-12 in passing defense (182.5), second in total defense (328.3), third in scoring defense (20.5) and second in defensive third-down efficiency (31.6) while ranking in the top 20 nationally in all four categories.
Darrin Chiaverini (Co-offensive coordinator)
A CU alum who brought passion to Boulder like black-and-gold brimstone, Chiaverini brought an immediate presence to the recruiting trail when he was hired a year ago and oversaw a group of wide receivers that dominated throughout the fall. The quartet of Shay Fields, Bryce Bobo, Devin Ross, and Jay MacIntyre took turns making big plays, and as a unit the group put on a clinic all season in how to maintain blocks downfield all season.
Brian Lindgren (Co-offensive coordinator)
Lindgren could have sulked or pouted when MacIntyre brought on Chiaverini and added the "co" to Lindgren's job title. He did neither, helping the Buffs' offense to show marked improvement in every major statistical category. Under Lindgren's guidance as CU's quarterbacks coach, Sefo Liufau set a program record for attempts without an in interception (148), while redshirt freshman Steven Montez stepped in admirably in a three-game stint as a spot-starter, throwing for 823 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions while leading the Buffs to a 2-1 mark.
Klayton Adams (Offensive line)
Debate about the biggest weakness of the 2015 Buffs generally ended with the mention of the offensive line. Adams made certain that was not the case this fall, molding a unit that not only displayed marked improvement, but became a team strength. Senior center Alex Kelley developed into the veteran leader any team wants anchoring its offensive line, while redshirt freshman Tim Lynott started all 13 games at right guard with the look of a player turning into a budding star.
Darian Hagan (Running backs)
Diminutive running back Phillip Lindsay turned into a star under Hagan, becoming CU's first 1,000-yard rusher in six years. Lindsay jumped from 4.66 yards per attempt in 2015 to 5.17 per attempt this year, and his 16 rushing touchdowns are the most by a CU running back since Chris Brown's 18 in 2002. Lindsay also is an under-appreciated blocker in passing sets.
Jim Jeffcoat (Defensive line)
Although Leavitt technically was the position coach for outside linebacker Jimmie Gilbert, it was the wisdom of Jeffcoat, a former NFL standout pass rusher, that helped Gilbert accumulate 10.5 quarterback sacks. Jeffcoat also oversaw a durable and dependable defensive front of seniors Jordan Carrell, Josh Tupou, and Samson Kafovalu, all of whom started all 13 games.
Charles Clark (Cornerbacks)
Clark's job perhaps was made easier by the presence of Chidobe Awuzie, yet a big reason for the step forward taken by CU's defense this season was the improved play of Awuzie's counterpart across the field, Ahkello Witherspoon. Sophomore Isaiah Oliver appears ready to step into a starting role somewhat seamlessly next season.
Joe Tumpkin (Safeties)
A candidate for CU's vacant defensive coordinator job who will call the defensive shots in the Alamo Bowl, Tumpkin can take credit for the amazing season turned in by Tedric Thompson, whose seven interceptions matched a CU single-season record.
Gary Bernardi (Tight ends)
Tight ends? What tight ends? A group that collectively had more drops than receptions was easy to overlook. However, the Buffs would not have enjoyed the consistent ability to break big plays in the running game without their dedicated work blocking on the edge. Keeping the group focused on the dirty work while being ignored in the passing game was a commendable achievement.