By Christine Larsen
Many students are optimistic about the future of the Buffaloes after the formal renouncement of Head Coach Dan Hawkins Tuesday.
The announcement came Tuesday morning to immediately release Hawkins of all duties with the football team and bring Brian Cabral, long-time assistant coach, to the forefront as interim head coach, according to a CU news release.
The decision did not seem to surprise many students, some who said they thought it was long overdue.
"Finally," said Oliver Cheng, a 21-year-old senior economics major. "This has taken long enough to happen."
With a 3-6 record this season with three games remaining, a 0-5 standing in the Big 12 Conference and Hawkins at 19-39 in his fifth season, many students said the Buffs have seen better days.
"I remember days of previous coaches and we were generally a top-25 team," said Jordan Rice, a 20-year-old junior news-editorial major. "After [Gary] Barnett and [Rick] Neuheisel left, the program went downhill."
Some students said they do not expect a sudden change in the team.
"If CU does a good job of finding the right coach, the next season, at best, will show improvement," said Kyle Casinelli, a 20-year-old junior architecture major. "It takes a while to warm up to the next coach."
Casinelli, a member of the varsity hockey team, said he understands the importance of a good leader.
"When a coach comes into the locker room and the team is losing, the coach can say something to you to get you going," he said.
Annie Rasser, a 21-year-old senior architecture major, said that she thinks it looks much better to recruits to be on a winning team than a losing one.
Others students said they agreed with Rasser.
"A lot of students do not want to come play here," said Kate Cooley, a 20-year-old junior communication major. "A new coach and a new program would draw in more students. We want a coach that can represent our school well and refusing to talk to the press does not show that."
According to a cbssports.com report, Hawkins will be paid around $2 million to leave. Some students are concerned about adding this bill to the already large deficit the university faces.
"It sucks how much money we will lose ending his contract early, but I do not like how he has been coaching," said Jennifer Dailey, a 20-year-old junior international affairs major. "He is obviously not doing a good job."
According to the news release, Hawkins is the first coach in CU's 121-year football history to be relieved of his duties at any point during the regular season.
Athletic Director Mike Bohn said in the release that negativity and divisiveness with the current leadership influenced the decision to cut Hawkins loose.
"We collectively believed that it was important to provide the opportunity for Dan as head coach and his current staff to pull things together, and things looked bright just one month ago after we opened with a 3-1 record," Bohn said. "However, things have gone downhill from there. While we recognize the progress that we have made in several areas during nearly five years under Dan, the negativity and divisiveness that is associated with the current leadership has become detrimental and is beyond repair to our current enterprise and it's time to make a change."
Some students said they feel it would be a wiser decision financially to keep him until the end of his contract.
"It is a waste of money," said Jilian Locricchio, a 20-year-old junior architecture major. "CU is in so much debt and to spend that much money on cutting him seems ridiculous. I do not think it was necessary in the middle of the season and it was a poor decision to renew his contract in the first place."
Many students said they have high expectations for the change, especially with the coming move into the Pac 12.
"In also changing the conference, there is a lot of change going on in one year," Daily said. "But everything has been changing anyway, so we might as well change our coach. I want us to start winning."
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Christine Larsen at Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org.