CU Buffs’ Mike MacIntyre takes home two more awards

Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer
Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre was named the AP national coach of the year and the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year on Thursday.

Mike MacIntyre received two more national honors on Thursday.

The Colorado head football coach also confirmed the departure of a man who helped him win those awards.

MacIntyre was named national coach of the year by the Associated Press and was also announced as the winner of the FWAA/Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.

MacIntyre led the Buffaloes (10-3), who are ranked No. 11 by the AP and No. 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings, to the Pac-12 South division title and a trip to the Dec. 29 Valero Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State (9-3).

A footnote to that press release from CU was MacIntyre’s comments and confirmation about defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt leaving the Buffs to take the same job at Pac-12 rival Oregon.

“Jim and our defensive staff did an excellent job with our defense the last two years,” MacIntyre said in a statement from the school. “Jim brought a lot of expertise and energy to our defense. I wish him the best in his move to the University of Oregon and thank him for all the hard work, time and energy he gave to the Colorado Buffaloes.”

That was the first confirmation from CU or Oregon that Leavitt has indeed taken the job with the Ducks, as first reported by Fox Sports on Wednesday. It’s been reported that Leavitt has accepted a four-year contract from Oregon that will make him the highest paid assistant coach in Pac-12 history.

Leavitt was the highest paid assistant in CU history, making roughly $512,000 per year. He earned it, taking CU’s defense from near the bottom of the country to near the top in only two years.

Led by Leavitt and a host of talented veteran players, the Buffs ranked 17th nationally in total defense (allowing 328.3 yards per game) and 18th in scoring defense (20.5 points per game).

Linebackers Jimmie Gilbert and Kenneth Olugbode and safety Tedric Thompson have all earned various All-America honors this month, while cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon have also earned All-Pac-12 honors.

CU’s exceptional play on defense played a major role in the Buffaloes’ remarkable turnaround season. The Buffs also had one of the most prolific seasons on offense in program history, averaging 32.8 points per game – their fifth-highest total ever, and best since 2001 (33.0).

During MacIntyre’s first three seasons in Boulder, the Buffs went 10-27 overall and 2-25 in Pac-12 play. A year ago, they were 4-9 overall and 1-8 in the Pac-12.

The turnaround from 1-8 last year to 8-1 this year was the largest single-season improvement in the history of the conference.

Directing CU’s turnaround helped MacIntyre earn 109 points and 25 first-place votes from the panel of AP voters. Penn State’s James Franklin was second, with 98 points and 16 first-place votes.

The Eddie Robinson Award was voted on by the members of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), which has been in existence for 76 years.

“I’m honored and privileged to be the recipient of both the AP Coach of the Year and the Eddie Robinson Award,” MacIntyre said in CU’s press release. “It is a testament to our players and coaches for all their hard work and dedication. It is an honor to accept these awards on behalf of our team, our coaches and our fans.”

Thursday added to an impressive list of awards for MacIntyre, who has already been named national coach of the year by six different organizations.

Earlier this month, MacIntyre was named the Walter Camp Coach of the Year, ESPN Home Depot Coach of the Year, SB Nation Coach of the Year and CBS Sports Coach of the year.

MacIntyre has also been named the AFCA Region 5 Coach of the Year, and he was selected as Pac-12 Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, as well as in a vote of conference coaches.

More awards could be coming for MacIntyre, who is a finalist for the following national coach of the year honors: Maxwell Football Club George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year (announced Dec. 29), Bobby Dodd Trophy (Dec. 30), American Football Coaches Association national Coach of the Year (Jan. 10), and Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year (Jan. 11).

Prior to this year, CU had collected seven national coach of the year awards — all by Bill McCartney in 1989 — in program history.


On Thursday, the Buffs added another JUCO transfer, signing Chris Mulumba to a letter of intent. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound outside linebacker/defensive end is from Diablo Valley College. He is expected to enroll at CU in January, along with cornerback Dante Wigley and defensive tackle Javier Edwards, who signed on Wednesday. ,,, CU was given an allotment of 6,500 tickets for the Alamo Bowl and according to the school, only a few remain unsold. Students have purchased 230 tickets.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or