Now that he is officially the head coach of the Colorado football team, Mel Tucker has to assemble a coaching staff.
CU’s 10 assistant coaches, plus strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson, are still under contract, but it will be up to Tucker to decide whether any of them remain with the Buffaloes.
In an interview with 104.3 The Fan in Denver on Wednesday evening, Tucker said, “I’m going to evaluate the entire situation and the staff and we’ll make a decision in short order.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, most of CU’s coaches had not met Tucker, but he is scheduled to meet with the coaches on Thursday. (He is also expected to meet with the team on Thursday).
According to BuffZone.com sources, CU administration would like to see co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini remain on staff, although not necessarily in a coordinator role. Chiaverini was in his first season calling the offensive plays and the Buffs struggled on that side of the ball, especially late in the year.
Chiaverini, who played at CU from 1995-98, is viewed as a top-notch recruiter who has strong relationships in California and Texas, two of CU’s primary states for recruiting.
Chiaverini has been in a co-coordinator role the past three seasons, and with his history with the school and his son, Curtis, being a walk-on receiver with the Buffs, he would like to return for his fourth year on the staff.
Running backs coach Darian Hagan, a legendary CU quarterback who has also coached some of the best running backs in program history, is considered a candidate to return, as well. CU administration views Hagan as an important part of the program.
Tucker has spent his entire career coaching defense, including 14 seasons as a coordinator in college and the NFL. He was Georgia’s defensive coordinator the past three years.
While Tucker is used to calling plays on defense, he told The Fan that he isn’t sure if he’ll continue to do so as a head coach.
“I’ll be heavily involved with the defense, but in terms of calling the defense, that will be a decision that I will make down the road, relative to our staff makeup,” he said.
CU showed significant improvement on defense this past season in D.J. Eliot’s second season as coordinator. Eliot, who has family ties to the area, would prefer to stay and continue his work with the Buffs.
“I love Colorado,” Eliot said. “It’s home to my family and CU is a great place and an awesome program. I think we’ve put a lot of hard work into recruiting these defensive players and developing these defensive players. They’re on the cusp of doing something really great.”
With the exception of tight ends coach Gary Bernardi, each of CU’s other nine assistants are under contract for at least one more season. Chiaverini, co-offensive coordinator Klayton Adams and Wilson all have two more years on their contracts.