Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
While Colorado football fans are just getting to know new head coach Mel Tucker, the Buffaloes’ former head coach and defensive coordinator are on their way to new jobs.
There will also be at least one familiar face remaining with the CU coaching staff.
Buffzone.com sources have confirmed multiple reports from Sunday that former CU head coach Mike MacIntyre has accepted an offer to become the defensive coordinator at Mississippi.
Meanwhile, D.J. Eliot, CU’s defensive coordinator the past two years, is set to be introduced Monday as the defensive coordinator at Kansas. According to a Buffzone.com source, Eliot is finalizing a deal to join head coach Les Miles’ staff, but as of Sunday evening had not yet signed the deal.
On Sunday night, Darrin Chiaverini, the Buffs’ co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach the past three years, announced on Twitter that he will be a part of Tucker’s staff.
It has not been determined what role Chiaverini will have on the staff, but the former Buffs’ receiver is pleased to remain at CU, where his son, Curtis, is a walk-on receiver.
“Excited I’m staying at the University of Colorado!,” Chiaverini wrote on Twitter. “We will continue to build our roster and do something special together in Boulder!!”
MacIntyre was fired Nov.18 after compiling a 30-44 record in nearly six full seasons as the Buffaloes’ head coach.
With three years remaining on his contract, MacIntyre is owed roughly $10.3 million by CU. According to his contract with CU, the amount of the buyout can be mitigated if MacIntyre is hired as a college head coach, but not as an assistant.
SuperTalk Mississippi reported that MacIntyre has agreed to a three-year deal with Ole Miss that will pay him $1.5 million annually. That means MacIntyre could collect roughly $14.8 million over the next three years from CU and Ole Miss combined.
MacIntyre previously worked at Ole Miss from 1999-2002, first as receivers coach and then as defensive backs coach. MacIntyre worked with current Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke with the Rebels (1999 and 2002) and again at Duke (2008-09).
Tucker was announced as CU’s head coach on Wednesday and has not made decisions on his coaching staff yet. All of the Buffs’ 10 assistants have remained under contract since MacIntyre was fired, and Eliot is the first to move on to a new job.
Hired in January of 2017, Eliot took over a major rebuilding job on defense, with eight full-time starters and two other major contributors graduating from the 2016 team.
The Buffs struggled on defense in Eliot’s first season, but showed significant improvement this past season, particularly against the run. CU ranked 109th nationally in run defense in 2017, but improved to 45th this year. Yards per rush allowed dropped from 5.23 in 2017 to 3.74 this year.
Eliot has one year and $700,000 remaining on his contract with the Buffs. His contract states that if he terminates the deal before Dec. 31 of this year, he owes $300,000 to CU, but given the circumstances of the coaching change, and the fact that Eliot may not have been back anyway, that has been waived, according to a source.
Aside from Chiaverini, it remains to be seen who will be on Tucker’s staff at CU, but Tucker said he understands the urgency with the early signing period for recruits beginning Dec. 19.
“There is obviously a sense of urgency, but I’m not going to make any rash or knee-jerk decisions on guys,” Tucker told Buffzone.com. “I’m going to be meticulous and do my homework and make sure we have a great staff. I owe it to our players and the university to make sure we get the right fit in here. I’ve always believed it’s not just collecting players and collecting coaches; it’s building a team.
“When you build a staff, that staff has to be a team. When you have a staff that works well together and is cohesive and everyone is on the same page, that translates to the players and they see that. The players are going to be a reflection of your staff.”
Tucker said he has met with each of CU’s full-time assistants to get to know them.
“My experience has shown me it’s not always bad (going into a new situation), so I think it’s wise to evaluate the coaches that are here and then make a decision,” he said.
Tucker said he’s also received a lot of outside interest from coaches wanting to join him in Boulder.
“This is a very attractive opportunity for coaches,” he said. “My phone rings or I get a text probably every 30 seconds. Everyone sees the opportunity here and what this place can be and what we can do, and I think everybody knows what I’m all about. I feel confident that we’ll put a great staff together that will put the players first.”
Contact staff writer Brian Howell at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.