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Building coaching staff first task for CU Buffs’ Karl Dorrell

Spring practices push the issue


Karl Dorrell is now in place as the new head coach of the Colorado football team. Now, he’ll work to assemble his coaching staff.

Among the first tasks for Dorrell is filling out his 10-member staff and the first name on the minds of CU fans is Darrin Chiaverini, who served as interim head coach during the transition.

“I want to thank coach Chiaverini for leading the program on an interim basis over the past two weeks, and ensuring that our student athletes were taken care of,” athletic director Rick George said. “Darrin is a great Buff who cares deeply about our program. I have a lot of respect and admiration for him.”

A former CU receiver – who was coached by Dorrell from 1995-98 – Chiaverini has been a part of the Buffs’ staff for the past four years, coaching receivers. He was co-offensive coordinator from 2016-18 and assistant head coach last season.

Chiaverini bleeds black and gold. He also interviewed for the head coaching position and had strong desire to get the job.

After Dorrell was hired, there were rumors that Chiaverini resigned, but he told Buffzone on Monday morning that he has not. However, the fact that the active tweeter has wiped his Twitter profile of CU graphics fueled the rumors.

“We would certainly like Darrin to be back and hopefully he’ll be back,” George said, “but that’s a conversation that the two of them (Chiaverini and Dorrell) will have.”

Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer
CU assistant coach Darrin Chiaverini confirmed to BuffZone on Monday that he had not resigned with the program. Chiaverini is know to have interviewed for the head coaching vacancy upon the departure of Mel Tucker.

Six of the 10 assistants from Mel Tucker’s staff are still with CU, but only two – defensive coordinator Tyson Summers and cornerbacks coach Travares Tillman – were on hand for Dorrell’s introductory press conference Monday.

Dorrell said he would begin the process Monday afternoon of assembling his staff.

“I met with everyone just briefly this morning at an introductory meeting, but we’ll get right into interviewing the guys that were highly recommended, which are the guys that are here,” Dorrell said. “I do need to work fast on building the staff. I feel it’s fair for me to get a chance to visit with them first and then we’ll kind of go from there.”

Dorrell said CU’s still will “consist of great teachers.”

Strength and conditioning coach Drew Wilson is another key part of the staff and George said Wilson and Dorrell will meet soon.

CU is increasing its salary pool for assistants to $3.8 million, up from $3.155 million last year.

“My salary pool is tremendous to me, and they awarded me with that and I’m very, very flattered to be able to work with those numbers,” Dorrell said.

Dorrell’s schemes

Also among Dorrell’s first tasks will be to work with the staff to develop offensive and defensive schemes.

A long-time offensive coach, Dorrell said, “The cornerstone of our program was our defense,” when he was an assistant with CU in the 1990s. He said having a great defense is vital.

The Buffs have had a 3-4 base defense in recent years and they are built for that.

“I’m good with that because it’s a great defense to adjust to with these offensive sets that offensive coaches do,” he said.

Offensively, the Buffs will play to the strengths of the players, Dorrell said, adding, “I think the goal is that we want to be balanced. We definitely want to have a run threat and be able to run the football, but we’re going to be able to throw the ball as good as anybody.”

Regents to vote

The final step to make Dorrell’s hire official is to get the contract approved by the board of regents. While the regents have approved recent contracts, the votes have not been unanimous.

In December of 2018, Mel Tucker’s contract passed by a vote of 6-2, with Jake Kroll and Linda Shoemaker voting against it and Irene Griego abstaining. Shoemaker has voted “no” the last three time football coaching contracts have come to the board.

Given recent history, it’s likely the vote will not be unanimous, but George said, “We’ve made sure as we’ve gone through this process, with the leadership of president (Mark) Kennedy and chancellor (Philip) DiStefano and our chair, Glen Gallegos, we’ve talked to our regents through this process. We’ve informed them on where we are and they’ve been incredibly supportive of where we are.”

As of Monday afternoon, the vote had not been scheduled.


William Peagler, who worked in quality control for offense last season under Mel Tucker has been hired by Tucker as running backs coach at Michigan State. Tucker has now filled out four assistant spots with former CU staffers. … Spring football has been scheduled to start March 16, but the process of assembling the coaching staff could impact the schedule.