Colorado to introduce Hawkins as head coach

Updated: December 16, 2005, 11:10 PM ET
Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- Colorado hired Dan Hawkins as its head coach Friday, giving him responsibility for restoring the flagging reputation of a program hammered by problems on and off the field.

University President Hank Brown confirmed the appointment. A news conference was scheduled later Friday.

Hawkins went 53-10 over the past five years at Boise State, winning the Western Athletic Conference four times -- including a tie for first with Nevada this season -- and building a reputation as someone who runs a clean-cut, forward-thinking program.

Hawkins replaces Gary Barnett, who was forced out last week after a troubled tenure that included a sordid recruiting scandal and allegations of financial mismanagement brought to light in a state audit released Monday.

Barnett's team also lost 70-3 to Texas in the Big 12 title game, a loss that accentuated how far CU has fallen from the elite program it once was in the early 1990s under Bill McCartney.

Many think the 45-year-old Hawkins would have been in line for some of the big openings last year -- like at Notre Dame or Florida -- had another up-and-comer, Urban Meyer, not shined so brightly at Utah during the same season.

At the beginning of this season, Boise State was viewed by many as this season's Utah, a non-BCS team that might inject itself into the national title picture. Back-to-back losses to open the season, including a nationally televised 48-13 thumping by Georgia, sullied those hopes but didn't taint Hawkins' reputation.

He recruits well in California, which is one place CU must do better. Last week, the Buffs' 2006 recruiting class was ranked 74th in the nation and last in the Big 12 by

Hawkins is also expected to play well with finicky boosters in Boulder -- he has, after all, been known to ride his mountain bike to work -- who are known to want a top-notch program but have been unwilling to accept the inevitable warts that come with it or shell out the big money to finance it.

"I thrive on proving myself," Hawkins said Thursday during a news conference in Boise. "I think there is a certain side in all of us that wants to get comfortable, and not that there is anything wrong with that. What I think it really gets down to is challenge and opportunity versus doing what you have been doing."

He plans on coaching Boise State Dec. 28 against Boston College in the MPC Computers Bowl. The Buffs are playing Dec. 27 in the Champs Sports Bowl and will be led by interim coach Mike Hankwitz.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press