The Mike MacIntyre era is over at Colorado and athletic director Rick George won't waste any time in finding a replacement.

"I want to move quickly, but I also want to be very thorough to insure that we get this football team back to national prominence," George said.

In seeking a replacement for MacIntyre, George said he will look for a coach that cares for the student-athletes, is a great recruiter and has the right character and integrity to lead the team. MacIntyre possessed those qualities, but didn't win enough football games. That, ultimately, will be what George wants in a new coach.

"I want to win," he said. "I want our student athletes to win. I want them to be successful. I think it's important that we get somebody in here that has the same expectations I do, and that's to win."

Former Colts head coach and Boulder native Chuck Pagano’s most recent college experience was as North Carolina’s defensive coordinator in 2007.
Former Colts head coach and Boulder native Chuck Pagano's most recent college experience was as North Carolina's defensive coordinator in 2007. (John Leyba / The Denver Post)

George praised MacIntyre for the work he did with the football program and said, "He has really elevated this football team since he arrived in 2013."

That, George believes, will make CU an attractive job for potential candidates.

"This is one of the great jobs in all of sport," he said. "To be able to go to school at the University of Colorado, to play Folsom field with that backdrop, to be in the conference that we're in, there's not a better job in America than here at Colorado. I'm committed to hiring the very best coach we can and we're going to begin that search immediately."

Here's an initial list of some potential candidates for the job at Colorado, listed in alphabetical order.


Blake Anderson, Arkansas State head coach: Now in his fifth season with the Red Wolves, Anderson, 49, has taken them to bowl games every season. This year, Arkansas State is 7-4. He has been a long-time offensive coach, including stints as an offensive coordinator at Southern Miss and North Carolina.

Neal Brown, Troy head coach: The former offensive coordinator at Texas Tech and Kentucky, Brown, 38, is in his fourth season as the head coach with the Trojans. At 9-2, Troy is one win away from a third consecutive 10-win season and will play in a bowl for the third year in a row.

Ryan Day, Ohio State offensive coordinator: In his second season at Ohio State, Day, 39, led the Buckeyes through coach Urban Meyer's suspension earlier this year, going 3-0. He was quarterbacks coach for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles (2015) and San Francisco 49ers (2016), working for head coach Chip Kelly. He has also been offensive coordinator at Boston College and Temple.

Bryan Harsin, Boise State head coach: CU fans might cringe at the thought of hiring a Boise State head coach again, after the disappointing Dan Hawkins era, but Harsin, 42, is 51-14 in his fifth season at his alma mater. The Broncos (9-2) are ranked No. 21 and will play Utah State this week, seeking their fourth Mountain Division title under Harsin. He also went 7-5 in one season (2013) at Arkansas State.

Jim Leavitt loves Boulder and wants to become a head coach again.
Jim Leavitt loves Boulder and wants to become a head coach again. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Jim Leavitt, Oregon defensive coordinator: Leavitt's success as CU's defensive coordinator (2015-16) makes him an attractive option. Leavitt, who turns 62 on Dec. 5, loves Boulder and wants to become a head coach again. From 1997-2009, he went 95-57 as the head coach at South Florida, taking the Bulls to bowls in his last five seasons. He was fired on Jan. 8, 2010, after an altercation with a player.

Mike Norvell, Memphis: In his third season with the Tigers, Norvell, 37, has a 25-12 record, including 7-4 this season. They will go to a bowl for the third year in a row and finished the 2017 season ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press poll. Norvell is familiar with the Buffs and the Pac-12, having worked as offensive coordinator at Arizona State from 2012-15.

Chuck Pagano, NFL consultant: The former head coach of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts could be an intriguing hire for the Buffaloes. Pagano, 58, is a Boulder native and graduate of Fairview High School. His most recent college job was as North Carolina's defensive coordinator in 2007. Most of his experience in the last 18 years has been in the NFL, including as Colts head coach from 2012-17. He went 53-43 with the Colts, taking them to the playoffs three times.

Kurt Roper, Colorado interim coach: Because he was named interim head coach Sunday, he may be the most likely member of the current staff to earn the full-time job. Roper has never been a head coach, but has an extensive background as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Current CU players, especially the quarterbacks, have earned great respect for him in just his first season on the job.

Jeff Tedford, Fresno State head coach: The Bulldogs (9-2) lead the Mountain West's West division. Tedford, 57, is 19-6 in two seasons at Fresno, which went 4-20 in the two years before he was hired. From 2002-12, Tedford was the head coach at California, going 82-57 with eight bowl appearances in 11 seasons. A California native, he also spent four seasons (1998-2001) as the offensive coordinator at Oregon.

Matt Wells, Utah State head coach: In his sixth season in Logan, Utah., Wells, 45, is one of the hottest coaches among group of five schools right now. His Aggies are 10-1 and ranked No. 14 in the country. He is 44-33 with the Aggies and will take them to a bowl for the fifth time in six years. He was also the offensive coordinator during the 2012 season, when the Aggies went 11-2.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or