Thu Aug 26 11:56am EDT
A university-wide cash crunch more or less forced Colorado to bring back coach Dan Hawkins for a fifth season last November rather than pony up for a hefty buyout of the last three years of Hawkins' contract, followed by a big payday for his successor. But it hardly muffled the death rattle echoing across the Rockies over the last nine months, when Hawkins topped every "hot seat list" and was largely invisible in the exultation of CU's impending defection to the Pac-10. Seemingly every interview has been accompanied by the assumption of another below-the-fold finish and the Grim Reaper.
But you know what might clear the air of all that doom and gloom? A firmer commitment to Dan Hawkins:
In a meeting of head coaches in the Colorado athletic department earlier this summer, a senior staff member asked the Buffs` head football coach if there was one thing the department could do to help his program succeed this season, what would it be? Multiple sources in the room that day told the Camera Hawkins responded by saying the school could give him a contract extension.
Hawkins confirmed the story after practice Wednesday. When asked why he chose to answer the question the way he did, he said, "Just the continuity, stability."
Sources said Hawkins` remark surprised everyone who was present, including athletic director Mike Bohn, who took heavy criticism, along with Chancellor Phil DiStefano and President Bruce Benson, for keeping Hawkins in Boulder following a 3-9 season last fall. Bohn did not respond to the request in the meeting.
The headline in the Boulder Daily Camera is "Hawk floats extension idea"; they were extremely generous to avoid adding, "Idea instantly sinks, drowns, is mercilessly devoured by 3-D piranhas."
Hawkins told the paper he asked for the extension for "continuity" and "stability" in recruiting which he apparently believes the three years reamining on his current deal fail to provide – an astute observation, really, since no one else seems to think so, either. But Hawkins may be the only one still willing to operate under the assumption that the situation may be some sort of oversight that can still be corrected off last year's 3-9 disaster without, say, eight wins this fall. That may be enough for him to get his wish, but looking at the schedule, I can't imagine how he's going to get there from here.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.