New Colorado head football coach Deion Sanders is cleaning house.
On Tuesday morning, BuffZone learned through a source that nine of the 10 full-time coaches on staff, as well as quality control coaches, have been fired.
Running backs coach Darian Hagan, who quarterbacked CU to the 1990 national championship, was the only assistant not let go on Tuesday. It’s unclear, however, if Hagan will continue to coach the running backs under Sanders or be reassigned to a different role within the athletic department.
The four graduate assistant coaches were also let go and multiple sources told Buffzone that some members of the support staff have been dismissed. For now, the recruiting staff is in place with national signing day approaching on Dec. 21.
The future of all the assistants was in doubt after former head coach Karl Dorrell was fired on Oct. 2. Sanders, introduced as Dorrell’s replacement on Sunday, has already started assembling his own staff and made the choice to move on from the current coaches.
During Sunday’s press conference, CU athletic director Rick George praised interim head coach Mike Sanford for leading the Buffs through the transition period.
“I want to thank you for your leadership during a real difficult time,” George said to Sanford, who was present at the press conference and got a loud ovation from the crowd in attendance.
Sanford, who was hired on Dec. 17, 2021, as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was under contract for two more seasons with the Buffs.
Assistant head coach/receivers coach Phil McGeoghan, safeties coach Brett Maxie, tight ends coach/offensive coordinator Clay Patterson, cornerbacks coach Rod Chance, defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Gerald Chatman, offensive line coach Kyle DeVan and inside linebackers coach Mark Smith were all under contract through the 2023 season.
Including former defensive coordinator Chris Wilson, who was fired on Oct. 2, CU owes 80% of the remaining salary to the assistant coaches who were fired and still under contract. In all, CU is currently on the hook for about $3.86 million for those assistants, but that figure could be mitigated by the assistants getting jobs next year.
Linebackers coach Jeff Smart and special teams coach Chris Reinert were at-will employees and not under contract. Both were quality control coaches until they were promoted to on-field coaching positions on Oct. 2.
Including the $7.8 million owed to Dorrell for the next two years, CU could owe as much as $11.66 million to the coaches fired this year.
A BuffZone source on Monday said Jackson State assistants Tim Brewster, Andre Hart and Kevin Mathis and former FAU director of player personnel David Kelly are all joining Colorado’s staff and have already been working in the building at CU.
Former Florida Atlantic head coach Willie Taggart has been at CU this week, as well, but Pete Thamel of ESPN reported that Taggart has not taken a job with the Buffs.
Thamel also reported Monday that Kent State head coach Sean Lewis will be hired as the Buffs’ offensive coordinator.