Darian Hagan has a new role with the Colorado football program, but he’s still making an impact in the running back room.
When new head coach Deion Sanders was hired in December, he brought in an entirely new coaching staff, but he did retain Hagan, although in a much different role.
CU’s running backs coach the past seven years, Hagan is now the Buffs’ executive director for community engagement and outreach and a football ambassador. He’s also been able to help new running backs coach Gary Harrell during the transition this offseason.
“We come from that same tree,” Harrell said. “I was able to go to Howard University and win early in college and won a national championship. He was here (at CU) during the championship days. Anytime you have someone with that type pedigree, with the understanding they have that championship mentality, you’re able to show someone where you’re going, because you’ve been there.”
Hagan is one of the all-time great players at CU and one of the best option quarterbacks in college football history. Hagan quarterbacked the Buffs to the 1990 national title and finished his playing career with a 28-5-2 record as a starter (19-0-1 in Big Eight games).
This will be Hagan’s 19th season on the CU football staff, including 12 as the running backs coach (2006-10, 2016-22).
“I think he does a good job as far as understanding the Colorado culture,” Harrell said. “He knows what it takes to win and he don’t deviate from that. He don’t accept anything less than that. So, I learn a lot from him as far as understanding what goes on here. He’s well tied in, so I want to always want to make sure he’s connected to pour that into the individuals and then we’re just continuing to grow as a staff in the running back room.”
During his time as the Buffs’ running backs coach, Hagan has mentored Phillip Lindsay (second in CU history with 3,707 career yards) and Rodney Stewart (third, 3,598), as well as Hugh Charles, Travon McMillian, Alex Fontenot and 2020 Pac-12 offensive player of the year Jarek Broussard.
For now, most of the running backs at CU were recruited and coached by Hagan, including senior Deion Smith, junior Jayle Stacks, sophomore Anthony Hankerson, freshman Victor Venn and walk-on sophomore Charlie Offerdahl.
“It’s good. I love it,” Offerdahl said of having Hagan still on board. “Coach Hagan has been a big role model for me in my time here.”