I grew up around the Colorado Football program. For as long as I can remember, it has been an organization rich with tradition, pride, and excellence.
I will never forget pacing my living room as a ten year old on September 24th,1994, witnessing the nail-biting moment that we now all refer to today as the "Miracle In Michigan".
I was at Folsom Field in 1994 when CU hosted Iowa State: the day Rashaan Salaam rushed for over 2,000 yards that would eventually lead him to his Heisman Award later that same season. The image of that packed stadium, pulsing with energy as fans waved thousands of bright gold signs with 2,000 emblazoned in bold, black numbers will be forever ingrained in my memory.
I was on the sidelines in November, 2001 when the scoreboard reflected the 62-36 victory over Nebraska; overcome with emotion as fans and players alike rushed the field. To this day, a win has yet to feel as satisfying as it did that cold Friday night under the bright lights.
I went to every CU Bowl game from 1998-2004, and watched the Buffs win almost all of them.
I remember sitting in that team auditorium growing up, silent and wide-eyed as Coach McCartney, Coach Neuheisel, and eventually Coach Barnett lead the team in a speech and group prayer post-game, every game-win or lose, and always finishing by singing the fight song together as a team. Back then, the walls of the Dal Ward were covered with everything that made the program great: the "Wall of Big Wins", Coach McCartney's infamous quote, "The pride and tradition of the Colorado Buffaloes will not be entrusted to the timid or the weak" and the picture of Coach McMahon, which hung as a precious reminder and inspiration to all who knew him, of just how much courage and strength it took to battle cancer while leading a football team through a grueling yet winning season.
It was never a question that I would one day be a Colorado Buffalo myself; just to share that indescribable connection of being a part of a dynasty without ever taking a snap on that field. THOSE were traditions. THAT was Colorado Football. Sure, the culture and dynamics are bound to change a little each season with every new coach and athlete that leaves their individual mark on the program, but the foundation that this organization was built upon stayed the same, and that is why we were great. That was why I bled black and gold.
Those days, Colorado Football had a steady, strong heartbeat. Today, it barely has a pulse. The walls have been repainted; wise words that players used to abide by are now covered by a meaningless “scorecard”, and pictures of former heroes and leaders of our once elite football program have been taken down from their rightful places throughout the office and team meeting rooms. "The Wall" boasts no victories of "big wins" over the last 4 seasons. Football, as CU fans had grown so accustomed to cherishing and supporting has ceased to exist in Boulder.
Dan Hawkins, although he acquired this program with the best of intentions, has led this team so far from the fundamentals it was built upon that it is longer recognizable. When one Buffalo strays from the herd, its chances of survival are slim to none; which is eerily prevalent as Dan Hawkins demonstrates on a much larger scale while he stampedes this team so far from its roots and tradition that it now faces unavoidable defeat. Instead of taking accountability for a losing season and letting us know how he intends to turn these losses around, he is holding press conferences and reading aloud letters from former Boise State players and friends about how he builds "great character" in young men, and all these losses can be accredited to nothing more than a bad hotel stay in an opposing team's home town.... and their loud fans. The fault is not with our talented young athletes, their character, or the team travel, rather with the lack of leadership of Dan Hawkins and his undeniable inability to comprehend how to not only recognize and harness those raw skills in each individual, but also motivate and inspire each individual, and ultimately convert that talent and drive to one cohesive success on the football field so their greater efforts comprise a team that is capable of excelling at the D-1 level. I’m not ignoring the success he had at Boise State, but this is Big 12 football; or at least it used to be.
It's time to reestablish the program that Boulder was always known for and get Colorado Football back to its traditions. Bring in Jon Embree as our head coach; a decision that should have originally been made when we interviewed him the first time after Gary Barnett left. Jon is a former Colorado Buffalo, both as a record-setting player and prestigious coach who still has successful players in the NFL today because of what he instilled in them while they took the field in Buffaloes jerseys as his players. He understands as well as anyone why that program produced such great athletes and successful young men because he lived it for so long and worked with only the best. It was coach Mac who saw something in Jon and brought him on staff; taught him the true meaning of what it was to be a part of Colorado Football, and how to mentor and coach young men to be their personal best, both on the field and off. Let's give all this fresh young talent at CU the chance they deserve at success; both in the college, and eventually, the pro levels. NFL Draft Day can be something Colorado fans can look forward to again. Right now we are robbing these athletes of the head coaching they deserve to have a winning program, and more importantly of the pride they should feel while donning a Colorado jersey because of what it used to mean to be called a Buffalo.
University of Colorado Alum
Class of 2005