CU football: Toby Neinas resigns as specials teams coordinator

Toby Neinas was the Buffs specials teams coordinator for the past three seasons.
Cliff Grassmick / Daily Camera
Toby Neinas was the Buffs specials teams coordinator for the past three seasons.

Colorado has parted ways with special teams coordinator Toby Neinas.

On Thursday, CU athletic director Rick George told the Daily Camera that Neinas “resigned earlier this week to pursue other opportunities.”

A graduate of Boulder High School, Neinas came to CU as part of head coach Mike MacIntyre’s original staff on Feb. 25, 2013.

According to ESPN’s team efficiency rankings, CU’s special teams unit ranked 82nd in the country this season, a jump from 103rd in 2014 and 120th in 2013.

However, the Buffs had several issues with special teams this season.

CU had six punts/kicks blocked, just one shy of the school record, and three times as many as the Buffs had from 2012-14 combined.

A blocked punt on the opening possession of the season, on Sept. 3 at Hawaii, set the tone for a 28-20 loss. A blocked field goal on the opening possession of the finale against Utah was the start of a disappointing 20-14 loss to the Utes.

In addition, the Buffs ranked last in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (62.1 percent, 18 of 29), ninth in punting average (36.7-yard net average) and 10th in punt return average (6.2 yards).

Not all was bad with special teams.

The Buffs ranked among the top four in the Pac-12 in kickoff return average the past three seasons. They also improved their kickoff coverage each season under Neinas.

In addition, Neinas helped freshman punter Alex Kinney improve throughout this season. Kinney struggled early this year, but by the second half was one of the Pac-12’s top weapons in terms of pinning opponents inside the 20- or 10-yard lines.

Neinas has been in coaching for 21 years. He came to CU after one season at Montana State. He worked at New Mexico from 2009-11 and San Diego State from 2006-08.

While Neinas will be replaced, the Buffs won’t necessarily hire a dedicated special teams coach.

Earlier this week, CU hired Darrin Chiaverini as co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach. Chiaverini has been the special teams coordinator at Texas Tech the past two years, helping the Red Raiders rank 12th at ESPN in special teams efficiency.

Head coach Mike MacIntyre could lean on Chiaverini and other coaches to spread out the special teams duties.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or