Boulder, Co. — What does University of Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn have to say to doubters and detractors who contend he’s sticking with football coach Dan Hawkins only because he couldn’t come up with the $3.1 million buyout and the millions more it would take to replace him?
Twelve seconds of silence.
“Yeah,” Bohn responds when asked if he’s still there. “I’m thinking about what I want to say.”
Another 18 seconds of silence.
“Our financial, uh ... Can you ask me the question again so I can get a little excited? I slept in my clothes last night. I’m a little slow,” asks Bohn, who flew back into Denver early Thursday after accompanying the men’s basketball team to the Maui Invitational in Hawaii.
So, what does he have to say to those critics who will insist that money and not merit guided his decision to keep a coach who is 16-32 with a 2-20 road record and a 10-21 mark in the Big 12?
“Well, money is always a consideration in big-time college football,” Bohn said. “It wasn’t THE determining factor. The bottom line was Dan Hawkins is the right coach for CU at this time.”
Hawkins has cleaned up a program tarnished by scandal under Gary Barnett, but he’s been unable to find success on the field and has endured four straight losing seasons, which usually lead to moving trucks, not reiterations of support.
The Buffaloes (3-8, 2-5) wrap up their season Friday against Big 12 North champion Nebraska (8-3, 5-2) at Folsom Field in a game that many thought would be Hawkins’ farewell.
Chancellor Philip DiStefano and Bohn informed the team after its walkthrough on Thanksgiving Day of their coach’s status to quell doubts about his future.
“It was really important for me to look these kids in the eye and Dan in the eye rather than being out in Maui” and doing it by phone, Bohn said.
DiStefano said he supports Bohn’s decision to honor Hawkins’ contract, which runs through 2012.
“Dan represents the university’s values on and off the field, and his team has been competitive this year,” DiStefano said.