One member of the University of Colorado football coaching staff won`t have job security fears to deal with this fall regardless of how the Buffs perform on the field.

The school is completing a three-year contract for offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau, the first year of which has already been served.

Athletic director Mike Bohn confirmed to the Camera on Friday that he first offered Kiesau one of the school`s six long-term deals in the spring of 2009 when coach Dan Hawkins` staff was being raided by other programs. Kiesau accepted the offer, which covers the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons.

While Kiesau and Bohn agreed on the basic terms of the deal more than a year ago, the Board of Regents only recently gave Bohn permission to finalize the deal.

Eric Kiesau, CU offensive coordinator.Cliff Grassmick / April 25, 2009
Eric Kiesau, CU offensive coordinator. Cliff Grassmick / April 25, 2009 ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )
Bohn said neither party has signed the contract yet.

It seems peculiar for the school to be awarding a member of the beleaguered coaching staff a multi-year deal on the verge of a make-or-break season for Hawkins. However, Bohn said he is simply honoring a promise he made.

"It`s really not now, we did it a year-and-a-half ago, and now we`re just executing what we told him we would do," Bohn said. "Eric Kiesau is one of our best recruiters. He is one of our most respected coaches and it doesn`t guarantee that he will be the offensive coordinator. It doesn`t do anything except allow us to show a commitment to somebody we have a lot of confidence in and believe is a key part ofus making progress.



Bohn said Hawkins asked that Kiesau be given a long-term contract after former offensive line coach Jeff Grimes left for Auburn and Oregon hired former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich in the spring of 2009. Bohn said Oregon also had offered Kiesau a job and CU was able to keep him on staff by offering him the security of a multi-year deal.

Kiesau moved from wide receivers coach to offensive coordinator as well. Bohn said Kiesau will not receive a raise with the contract. He makes about $218,000 annually.

Hawkins has gone 16-33 in four years in Boulder. Kiesau has been a member of the coaching staff in each of those seasons. The school contemplated firing its football coaches at the end of a disappointing 3-9 season last fall, but opted to give Hawkins another year.

Bohn said Hawkins` request for help stopping the erosion of his staff wasn`t the only reason he decided to give Kiesau a multi-year deal. He said it establishes an important precedent for using two of the school`s long-term deals on football staff members.

The program has struggled for years to keep continuity among its assistant football coaches. There has been only one year since the late 1980s in which the program has gone through an offseason without losing at least one assistant football coach.

Colorado state law limits schools to six long-term deals. Most institutions and athletic departments around the country don`t operate under similar restrictions and are able to offer coaches more security through multi-year deals.

The fact that the contract doesn`t mandate that Kiesau be the offensive coordinator provides flexibility if the school does decide to fire Hawkins at some point this fall. Hawkins` replacement wouldn`t be forced to have Kiesau as offensive coordinator.

The decision to give Kiesau a multi-year contract recently paid off in recruiting.

Valor Christian High School quarterback Brock Berglund committed to Colorado late last month, in large part, because he knew Kiesau would be at the school beyond the coming season. Kiesau also coaches quarterbacks.

Berglund said he was on the verge of committing to UCLA and former CU coach Rick Neuheisel when he received an email from Kiesau requesting that Berglund call him.

During a three-hour conversation, Berglund said Kiesau informed him of some things he did not know, including the fact that he will be in Boulder beyond the 2010 season.

"I think there had to be some security element," Berglund said. "Whether that was him staying or just something to give me that added comfort. So that it wasn`t like, 'Well, if we win six games, I`ll be here.` So that there wasn`t like that big questions mark.

"I think that confidence really helped me make my decision. I`m not saying I wouldn`t have done it if that wasn`t there because there were a lot of things we talked about on top of that, but that security made it an easy decision."