Dan Hawkins: RIP to his CU coaching career -- or will the university give him another reprieve?
Last year, Dan Hawkins so thoroughly wrecked CU football that his sacking appeared inevitable. Hence, my post dubbing Hawkins a dead man talking, because he seemed to think he could yammer his way out of getting fired -- which he did, to the shock of all. Now, after an even worse season, observers like the Post's Dave Krieger think Hawkins's job may not last for another week, let alone another season. But could CU do the wrong thing again?
Look at the evidence. In 2009, Hawkins's attempt to positively spin a disastrous loss to Missouri -- following in the syllables of a remarkable news conference intended to excuse away a Kansas State win -- was doomed from the get-go, particularly after high-profile recruit Darrell Scott decided to dump CU amid the carnage. And his late November mea culpa about recruiting his son Cody Hawkins to play quarterback was just sad. Yet CU gave Hawkins a fifth year anyhow, for reasons chancellor Phil DiStefano explained to the Denver Post like so:
"(The team) has good students. They're staying out of trouble. They're doing well academically. But they're not winning. That's the one issue, and that's what I think is the disappointment. But everything else seems to be falling into place.
"Winning is important... But again, this is a university. And it's my job to make sure all of our students graduate and become good citizens. That includes our student-athletes."
Of course, everyone knew this spiel was so many buffalo pies. Simply put, Hawkins lived to coach another day because the university still owed him $3.1 million, and the powers that be decided they couldn't afford to pay him to go away.
Now, presumably, the situation's different -- as in much more dire. This weekend's 52-45 loss to Kansas, during which the Buffs blew a 28 point fourth quarter lead to a team they'd been favored to beat on the road, is the sort of catastrophe capable of scarring generations of CU fans. Plus, the Buffs are heading into the Pac 12 -- a new beginning for the program. But can CU administrators really sell this move as a fresh start with a head coach obviously well past his sell-by date?
To anyone with a fully functional brain, the answer to that question is an obvious "No!" Yet Hawkins remains at the helm, to the amazement of the college football community. Witness the astonished-sounding headline of a Saturday ESPN blog: "CU's Dan Hawkins Still Coaching the Buffs."
That can't remain the case for much longer -- or can it? After last season's decision to keep Hawkins for another year, which could well set the program back years, I'm unwilling to guarantee anything about his future in Boulder... other than that the team has no chance of being anything other than a laughingstock until he's cleaned out his desk.
More from our Sports archive: "Dan Hawkins's in-state recruiting success hits the skids."