The Rise will have a new defensive coordinator in 2017 with Jim Leavitt exiting CU in favor of the Oregon Ducks according to Bruce Feldman. The fiery assistant coach will likely be replaced by defensive backs coach Joe Tumpkin, who’s been invaluable to coach Mike MacIntyre’s staff.
According to reports, Leavitt’s new four-year contract is worth roughly over $1.2 million per year guaranteed, making him one of the highest paid assistant coaches in Pac-12 history.
Leavitt finished his second season of a three-year contract with the Buffaloes that was signed before the spring of 2015. The buyout terms for the remaining year of the contract between Colorado and Oregon were undisclosed.
The move comes two weeks before No. 10 Colorado plays No. 12 Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl, no word if that will be Leavitt’s final game for the Buffaloes.
The highest paid assistant in CU’s history helped revive the defense from being ranked 112th when he started to currently being 24th in the nation. Before the Pac-12 championship, the Buffs held the nation’s longest forced turnover streak at 25 games.
I love CU, players, Boulder and all alum! Been great to me! Couldn't pass up opportunity for family! South Champs! Been a great ride!!— Jim Leavitt (@CoachJimLeavitt) December 15, 2016
The Ducks fired coach Mark Helfrich after a 4-8 season with the worst record in more than two decades. Leavitt joins new Oregon coach Willie Taggart to help the Ducks 114th ranked defense.
Leavitt came to Boulder after serving as the linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers under current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh from 2011-14.
Prior to his time with the 49ers, he started the football program at South Florida and was head coach of the Bulls from 1996-2009. Leavitt was fired by USF in Jan. 2010 after being accused of hitting a player, but later received a $2.75 million settlement for wrongful termination.
Tumpkin helped lead CU’s secondary to the best passing defense in the Pac-12 this season with All-American Tedric Thompson, Akhello Witherspoon and Chidobe Awuzie. The group ranked 13th in the nation, allowing 182.0 passing yard per game and a total of 15 interceptions.
MacIntyre released a statement about Leavitt's departure saying, "Jim and our defensive staff did an excellent job with our defense the last two years. Jim brought a lot of expertise and energy to our defense. I wish him the best in his move to the university of Oregon and thank him for all the hard work, time and energy he gave to the Colorado Buffaloes."