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Four CU Buffs assistants to be retained by Karl Dorrell

Darrin Chiaverini, Darian Hagan, Brian Michalowski, Tyson Summers staying with Buffs

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini was one of three assistants retained by new head coach Mel Tucker.
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Darrin Chiaverini will be staying with the Colorado Buffaloes, and so will several other assistant coaches.

CU announced Thursday that Chiaverini, Darian Hagan, Brian Michalowski and Tyson Summers will all be retained by new head football coach Karl Dorrell, who was hired on Sunday.

BuffZone reported Wednesday that Michalowski and Summers would return, but the decision on all four became official Thursday.

The exact roles of all four has yet to be determined, according to CU, but BuffZone sources have indicated that Summers will remain as defensive coordinator and Michalowski as outside linebackers coach.

According to CU, Dorrell is waiting to fill the remaining six assistant positions before determining roles of the coaches.

“It’s always important if you can maintain some continuity during a coaching change,” Dorrell said in a press release.  “I’ve been around enough college and professional teams where doing so offers some stability.  I had great conversations with all four and while I haven’t determined their exact roles as of yet, I am excited that we share the same goals and vision for the program.  I am excited about all four and am looking forward to working with them.”

Chiaverini interviewed for the head coaching position this month and there was some question about his status after not getting the job. There was never any question about his desire to remain at CU, however.

From 1995-98, Chiaverini played receiver for the Buffs and his position coach was Dorrell. Chiaverini returned to CU in 2016, hired by former head coach Mike MacIntyre as co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach, a role he held for three seasons. Last year, Chiaverini was retained by Tucker as receivers coach and assistant head coach.

Named a Rivals.com top 25 recruiter the last three years, Chiaverini has played a key role in recruiting several players on the current roster, as well as in the incoming 2020 class. Since Chiaverini was hired in 2016, CU has expanded its recruiting base in Texas.

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado running backs coach Darian Hagan.

Hagan, who quarterbacked the Buffs to the 1990 national title, will be working for his sixth head coach at CU. He was hired as an offensive assistant by Gary Barnett in 2005 and then coached running backs from 2006-10 under Dan Hawkins.

Under coach Jon Embree in 2011-12, Hagan shifted to a role as director of player personnel. When MacIntyre was hired in 2013, Hagan worked three years as director of player development before shifting back to coaching running backs in 2016. Hagan was retained as running backs coach under Tucker and will fill the same role under Dorrell.

Over the years, Hagan has coached two of the top three rushers in CU history: Phillip Lindsay (2014-17) and Rodney Stewart (2008-11). The last four 1,000-yard seasons at CU came with Hagan as running backs coach, with Stewart in 2010, Lindsay in 2016 and 2017 and Travon McMillian in 2018.

Michalowski and Summers both came to CU last year with Tucker.

Summers, a former head coach at Georgia Southern, was defensive coordinator and safeties coach last season and played a big role in CU’s in-season improvement on that side of the ball.

Despite a rash of injuries and player defections – especially in the secondary – CU’s defense got better as last year went along. After giving up 34.9 points and 486.9 yards per game in the first eight week, they allowed an average of just 25.8 points and 352.0 yards the last four games.

Michalowski was in his first season as a full-time assistant coach at the FBS level in 2019, but was widely praised by players and Tucker for his role in the development of the outside linebackers. Tucker also praised Michalowski’s role as a recruiter.

Tight ends coach Al Pupunu and cornerbacks coach Travares Tillman will not be retained. Four other assistants from last year’s staff have moved on to other jobs.

Tucker, who left CU for the head coaching position at Michigan State earlier this month, brought three Buffs’ assistants with him: linebackers coach Ross Els, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jay Johnson and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic.

Defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh left CU for Tennessee, where he was named co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.