Although the Colorado Buffaloes might be close to filling an assistant coach vacancy, they aren’t quite done with the hiring process.
On Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported that CU is “expected to hire” former NFL linebacker and coach Joe Bowden as a linebackers coach. Sources confirmed that report, but BuffZone.com learned Wednesday night that CU has not hired anyone at this point and is still in the interviewing process.
The Buffs are looking to replace former defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach Tyson Summers, who was dismissed last week.
Bowden, who played in the NFL from 1992-2000 and later coached with the St. Louis Rams (2012-15) and San Francisco 49ers (2016), has interviewed for a position to coach the Buffs’ inside linebackers.
Bowden and CU defensive line coach Chris Wilson were teammates at Oklahoma and were both NFL draft picks in 1992. Wilson is believed to be a candidate to become the Buffs’ defensive coordinator.
Since 2017, Bowden has been the defensive coordinator at Missouri Baptist University, where he has worked under Spartans head coach Jason Burianek, a former CU receiver with ties to several members of the Buffs’ staff.
“It’s been great working with him,” Burianek said of Bowden. “He’s a close friend and like a brother to me. It’s been a blessing to have him on our staff. He’s a hard worker, great coach and the guys love him, so I know we’ll miss him (if CU hires him). It’ll be a great fit.”
Burianek graduated from Boulder High School and played receiver for the Buffs under head coaches Rick Neuheisel and Gary Barnett. During Burianek’s final three years as a player at CU, and also during his one year as a graduate assistant, Wilson was the Buffs’ defensive line coach in the early 2000s.
Burianek also has a relationship with current CU head coach Karl Dorrell, who was Burianek’s position coach in 1998.
Burianek said he and Wilson have talked in the past about helping Bowden get back to the NFL or Division I level of coaching. Burianek also said he introduced Bowden and Dorrell at the NFL Combine a couple years ago.
“I don’t know if (Dorrell) remembered him from that time, but we had a chance to hang out, the three of us, a little bit and talk,” Burianek said. “Maybe that helped facilitate (an interview).”
Bowden was the Big Eight defensive player of the year in 1991 and then played eight years with the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans (1992-99) and one season with the Dallas Cowboys (2000).
After coaching in the high school ranks, he was hired by the Rams as an assistant linebackers coach in 2012. In 2016, he left the Rams to coach inside linebackers for the 49ers.
The Buffs are also looking to replace tight ends coach Taylor Embree, who is reportedly leaving to join the New York Jets’ staff, and strength and conditioning coordinator Drew Wilson, whose expiring contract is not being renewed.