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As head coach search continues, CU Buffs lose another assistant to Michigan State

Colorado inside linebackers coach Ross Els is heading to Michigan State, according to multiple sources.
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado inside linebackers coach Ross Els is heading to Michigan State, according to multiple sources.

Mel Tucker is taking another coach from Colorado to Michigan State.

BuffZone sources have confirmed a report that inside linebackers coach Ross Els is leaving CU to join Tucker’s staff.

Tucker spurned CU after one year as head coach to take over the program at Michigan State last week.

Els is now the third assistant coach to follow Tucker to East Lansing, Mich. Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jay Johnson and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic officially joined MSU’s staff earlier this week.

Meanwhile, CU’s search for Tucker’s replacement continues and is expected to go into next week.

According to BuffZone sources, CU was hoping to have a coach in place by Friday after interviewing seven candidates this week. However, athletic director Rick George and associate athletic Lance Carl have decided to extend their search.

BuffZone sources have confirmed reports that CU pursued Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, but that the Buffs’ legend elected to remain with the Super Bowl LIV champions. CU’s all-time leading rusher, Bieniemy has interviewed for seven NFL head coaching jobs in the last two winters and he’s expected to be a top candidate for an NFL job next winter.

Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian interviewed with CU, but it was reported Thursday that he would remain with the Crimson Tide.

CU interim coach Darrin Chiaverini and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun both interviewed this week, as did New York Giants outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema, who is formerly the head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas.

Chiaverini, a former CU receiver who has been on the Buffs’ coaching staff for four years, would love to have the job and is still in the mix. It’s unclear if Bielema or Calhoun have been ruled out.

After Air Force spring practice on Thursday, Calhoun took several questions from reporters about rumors he had interviewed. He neither confirmed or denied reports and repeatedly said he just wanted to talk about that days’ practice.

Other potential candidates could include Missouri defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, who played at CU; Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch; Southern California offensive coordinator Graham Harrell; and Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford, who played at Colorado State.

Former UCLA head coach Jim Mora, who has been in broadcasting the past two seasons, has expressed his interest in the job. However, CU has not shown much interest in Mora, according to sources.

As for Els, he was originally hired at CU on Feb. 24, 2017, by former coach Mike MacIntyre. He coached inside linebackers, while helping with special teams during two years under MacIntyre.

When Tucker was hired on Dec. 5, 2018, he kept Els on staff to coach the inside linebackers and coordinate special teams. It is believed that Els will be the special teams coordinator at Michigan State.

Els was halfway through a two-year contract that paid him $275,000 annually. Per the terms of contract, he would owe CU $50,000 for terminating the agreement at this time.

In addition to the three coaches going to MSU, Tucker hired CU’s director of player personnel, Geoff Martzen, to fill the same role with the Spartans.

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