Hawkins to return for fifth season

Updated: November 26, 2009, 10:27 PM ET
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

Colorado has announced that Dan Hawkins will continue to coach the Buffaloes and return for his fifth season next year.

Hawkins and his team met with Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn and Colorado chancellor Philip DiStefano Thursday morning, where they were informed of the decision. The team was completing its walkthrough practice before its game Friday against Nebraska.

"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. "He has done all that we have asked him to do, and although we all desire more victories, we also recognize starting over with a new coach right now takes us away from, not closer to, our goals for CU football."

Hawkins' job status had come under heavy scrutiny as the Buffaloes posted a 3-8 season, although three of their losses have come by seven points or less. They will miss a bowl trip for the third time in Hawkins' four-season tenure and were the first Big 12 team eliminated from bowl consideration.

Despite those struggles, Bohn said that Hawkins will remain Colorado's coach.

"Dan is our coach," said Bohn. "We continue to have candid, constructive discussions with each other, with campus leadership and with related constituents to review all aspects of the football program. We recognize the importance of continuity to reach our desired competitive results. We have made progress on many fronts, but fully realize the importance of improvement and growth of the program in all areas."

Several published reports indicate it would cost Colorado more than $3 million to fire Hawkins.

So, what did Bohn 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' contract with CU runs through the 2012 season; he originally signed a five-year agreement when hired prior to the 2006 season, and received an extension in October 2008.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report

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