Colorado State football coach Steve Addazio fired after two seasons

Addazio out following 3-9 season, 4-12 overall record with Rams

Colorado State head coach Steve Addazio looks displeased during a timeout Saturday evening Sept. 11, 2021 as the Rams face Vanderbilt at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins, Colo. (Michael Brian/For The Reporter Herald)
Colorado State head coach Steve Addazio looks displeased during a timeout Saturday evening Sept. 11, 2021 as the Rams face Vanderbilt at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins, Colo. (Michael Brian/For The Reporter Herald)
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FORT COLLINS –– The Steve Addazio era has concluded at Colorado State.

Following several reports of Addazio’s expected firing, CSU’s athletic department confirmed its termination of the head football coach on Thursday.

Less than one week following his second season with the Rams, Addazio is officially out as CSU’s search for a new program head commences.

“After a thorough review of where our program stands today and our outlook for the future, looking at the totality of factors, I felt this was a necessary step,” Parker stated in a press release.

“These decisions are hard,” he later added during a press conference Thursday on campus. “It’s never fun to change the trajectory of other people’s lives. We appreciate the work and effort that they put into the time that they were here. But now we have to shift gears and turn the page and look at what’s ahead. And what’s ahead is always what I’ve felt is ahead for Colorado State football. And that is a bright future.”

Constituting the Mountain West Conference’s second-highest-paid coach, Addazio accrued $1.55 million in 2021 and was set to make $1.6 million in 2022.

Addazio’s contract buyout stood at $5 million before Thursday, when it decreased to $3 million –– which, though CSU will still endure financial obstacles moving forward, certainly prompted the timing of Parker’s decision to relieve Addazio of his duties.

“That’s the one thing that I can control, minimizing the financial impact of it,” Parker said. “But it’s not a trivial number by any means and it will be stretched over for what the remainder of Addazio’s employment agreement was. So we’ve got three years to manage and mitigate it.”

In 16 total games with CSU, the Rams posted a 4-12 record under 62-year-old Addazio. The Rams stumbled to a 3-9 campaign this year, during which they dropped six consecutive contests to conclude their fourth straight losing season. In 2020, Addazio’s CSU squad went 1-3 during the COVID-19-condensed stint.

“I saw many positives and a great trajectory as it related to building a culture of toughness and accountability,” Parker said. “But we’re also about winning and putting a product on the field that keeps people engaged with our football program.”

Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker addresses the media at Canvas Stadium after terminating head football coach Steve Addazio on Dec. 2, 2021. (Eddie Herz/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Parker hired Steve Addazio in December of 2019, shortly following Boston College’s decision to fire the coach after his seventh season at BC’s helm. Addazio’s overall head-coaching record in 11 seasons at Temple, Boston College and CSU stands at 61-67.

Urban Meyer’s suggestive guidance influenced Parker and CSU president Joyce McConnell substantially during the previous coaching search. Meyer previously served as a CSU assistant while Addazio formerly operated under Meyer.

After arriving at CSU, controversy quickly began jeopardizing Addazio’s image off the field. Specifically, allegations from members of the football team concerning racial remarks and violations of coronavirus protocols induced an investigation into the program’s conduct.

However, 2020’s investigation produced no concrete findings of wrongdoing. Parker said the prior claims against Addazio and staff did not impact his decision on Thursday.

“There were no findings,” Parker said. “It really didn’t play a role in my decision as it relates to coach Addazio.”

Though Parker refused to provide a specific timeline, he won’t waste any time when searching for CSU’s next head coach.

While commencing said process immediately, the athletic department has already hired a national firm in Collegiate Sports Associates to lend a helping hand. Parker has also already received plenty of interest in the vacant role.

“I told the team today that this is something we’re gonna deal with urgency and attention,” Parker said. “And I’m really excited about the interest we’re already seeing in the job. I’m excited about the foundation that’s in place. I believe the building blocks of the culture have been assembled. I think it will be a great platform for a new leader to come in and build upon.”

Upon searching for the Rams’ third head coach in four seasons, Parker stressed that he will navigate the market in open-minded fashion.

Parker also described how head-coaching experience represented a key priority amid his prior search.

This time around, that won’t necessarily be the case.

“I want to really approach this with an open mind and do our best to cast the net far and wide,” Parker said. “I want someone that’s going to view themselves as a culture builder and a committed educator.”

“Balanced offense is always nice,” he continued when asked about the type of coach he prefers. “Maybe a little bit more lean to pass versus run…I’d like to find someone who would be willing to build upon what we’ve already put in place over the last two years. But we’re gonna find the right person regardless of style of play.”