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Ultimate Buffalo Tournament: Coaches Region

The third region of the Buff Bracket has some tough matchups

Track and Field: MPSF Indoor Championships Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the first two regions of the Buff Bracket were a resounding success. There have been upsets (Sal Aunese getting knocked out in the first round) and disappointing picks for myself (Jay Humphries is one of my favorite CU players ever), but chalk rules the day. This is where the brackets get a little more research-based. The Coaches bracket was a lot of fun to put together, largely because of the history of CU that got uncovered. Without further ado...

Alert! There are also AD’s on this list.

#1 Mark Wetmore vs. #16 Linn Long

Let’s talk about the absolute legend of Mark Wetmore. He’s been at Colorado for 21 years, and he has unprecedented success and longevity. He is a 28-time conference coach of the year and a five time national coach of the year. He has coached 81 athletes to 262 All-American selections, 11 athletes to 22 national championships, and 60 individual conference champions. He is simply the best at his job in the country. Linn Long is no slouch, either. After a successful wrestling career with the Buffs, he returned to coach his school at the sport he loved, and he was quite good at it. In eight years, he coached eight All-Americans and three individual national champions.

#8 Fred Folsom vs. #9 Frosty Cox

Ah, two legends of their time. Fred Folsom’s name is more recognizable, but of these coaches help build their respective programs. Fred Folsom is the longest tenured coach in Colorado football history, and he had extended success during his run. He had ten conference titles, but because he coaches at the turn of the 20th century, that was the extent of the competition. He also was the baseball coach for a while. He also gets extra points for Folsom field. Frosty Cox came a little later, in the 30s, but he stayed for a while, too. In his thirteen years, he won two NIT titles, the more prestigious tournament at that time, and three NCAA tournaments. He ended his career at CU with a 62.3 win percentage and 147 wins, two marks that would stand for a long time as records. he also was the backfield coach for football, which means he coached Whizzer White, so he gets bonus points.

#5 Dal Ward vs. #12 Harry Carlson

We have two coaches/ADs in this matchup, and they actually spent time together at CU. Dal Ward, who has his name on the facilities, guided CU into big time college athletics. He coaches the football team to a 60% winning percentage over 11 seasons (63-41-6 from 1948-1958) and stood toe to toe with Oklahoma. In this role, he helped push the Buffs into the Big 7 conference, which led to the Big 8, which led to the Big 12. This grew CU exponentially on the national scene. He then spent 12 years as an administrator. Carlson’s career is much more AD-based. He started his career as athletic director in 1927, and stayed in Boulder for 38 (!!!) years. With Dal Ward, he helped guide the Buffs into the Big 7 conference, and also presided over 11 league titles as the baseball coach. He get bonus points for approving the name “Buffaloes” in 1934 for all sport teams.

#4 Richard Rokos vs. #13 Eddie Crowder

Rokos is the second active coach on this list, and it’s no coincidence that he and Wetmore are so highly seeded. They both have high-level success and longevity. Rokos has been CU’s skiing coach for 27 years, and he has produced. To get more specific, he has produced eight national championships, 38 individual national champions, and 227 (!!!) All-Americans. His program is simply the best ski program in the country. Eddie Crowder has similar length in his career. He started as head football coach in 1963, assumed athletic director duties in 1965, continued coaching until 1973, and finally retire as an AD in 1985. He rebuilt the Buffs after 1962 NCAA punishment and achieved a #3 ranking in 1971. Here’s his best resume point- he hired Bill McCartney and Ceal Barry, #2 and 3 on this bracket.

#3 Ceal Barry vs. #14 Sox Walseth

Speaking of Ceal Barry, here she is. The winningest coach in Colorado athletics history, regardless of sport. Very few programs are defined by a coach at CU, but Colorado women’s basketball is Ceal Barry. She led the women’s basketball team to 12 NCAA tournament appearances, as well as six Sweet 16’s and three Elite Eights. She won four regular season Big Eight titles. She coached All-Americans, but also graduated her players at an extremely high rate (over 95%). Simply put, she put CU women’s basketball on the map. And she’s facing up with another ball coach in Sox Walseth. He coaches the men’s team for 20 years and the women’s team for three (and never lost at home with the women’s team). He is the winningest coach in CU basketball history at 261-245 and won three Big Eight titles. He also presided over Scott Wedman, Cliff Meely, and Ken Charlton, absolute studs at Colorado. His Buffs were solid, and he had the court at Coors Event Center named after him.

#6 Frank Potts vs. #11 Tad Boyle

Frank Potts’ career is absolutely insane. Think about how much America changed from the 20’s to the 60’s. Think about the world. Now imagine a coach staying at one place THAT WHOLE TIME. Frank Potts was at CU from 1927 to 1968 and he was successful the whole way through. As a cross-country and track coach, he helped start the strong tradition of Buffalo runners, though he coached them before they were called the Buffaloes officially. He coached CU’s first national champion, Gil Cruter, as well as four more individual champions. His stability helped bring CU to the national forefront. Now we switch gears to Tad Boyle. In seven years, he has led the basketball program to unprecedented success. His 149 wins already rank second all-time, and his .611 win percentage is the second best in school history. He has already won the Pac-12 conference, and his four tournament appearances are a third of the program’s overall tally.

#7 Bill Marolt vs. #10 Frank Prentup

This is one of the more intriguing first round matchups. Bill Marolt is one of the most successful ski figures in the world, not just at CU. His nine year run as CU’s ski coach, from 1969-1978, led to seven straight national champs from 1972-1978. After this ridiculously successful run, he coached the national ski team until 1984, when he returned to CU as the athletic director. He was wildly successful in this role as well, presiding over a national championship in football, the construction of the Dal Ward center, and the addition of women’s soccer, volleyball, and golf. Frank Prentup, on the other hand, had more focused accomplishments. As the longest tenured baseball coach in CU history, Prentup had a hand in keeping the Buffs relevant at baseball through the transition to the Big 7. He also spent 15 years as a football assistant. As the competition got stiffer, Prentup kept winning, and Buffalo baseball had sustained success under Prentup.

#2 Bill McCartney vs. #15 Bob Beattie

We finally land on Bill McCartney, probably the most famous coach in this bracket. This man had a 30 for 30 made about his time at CU, after all. His 11 year run, from 1982 to 1994, is the most historically successful time in Colorado history. He holds the records for most games coached at 153, most wins at 93, and most conference wins at 58. He coached the 1990 national championship team, and generally brought the Colorado Buffaloes back to national prominence. During his time, the Buffs were generally a top-10 team. There is no quantifiable measure for what McCartney did for the football program. He resurrected the Buffs from the ashes and turned them into a phoenix again. Bob Beattie, was much more of a trailblazer. As the ski coach from 1957-1965, he brought CU its first ever team national championship in 1959. Then, in 1960, he did it again. Colorado owes much of its ski program success to Beattie for his foundation.

Alright, everybody, the matchups are set, go determine the winners.