Courtesy of Colorado football, we officially have the most unexpected hiring of the 2019-20 coaching carousel.
To the surprise of most of the free world, word began to circulate Saturday that Karl Dorrell was the front-runner to replace Mel Tucker as the Colorado football head coach. Sunday evening, the Buffaloes confirmed that Dorrell has indeed been named as the 27th full-time head coach in the program’s history.
The hiring serves as a reunion of sorts as Dorrell has twice spent time on staffs at Colorado football. From 1995-98, Dorrell was CU’s offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Prior to that, he was the Buffs’ receivers coach in 1992-93.
“I’m excited to be back, it’s like coming home,” the new Colorado football head coach said in a statement. “The thing that excited me about this job is that my experience in the past here for the most part has been very successful. We had a lot of good teams, went to a lot of good bowl games. It’s a top-caliber program that has a lot of potential, and I’m excited to return it to that level.”
After being fired as the coordinator at Vanderbilt in December of 2014, Dorrell has spent the past five seasons in the NFL. The California native was the receivers coach for the New York Jets from 2015-18. This past season, he served in that same role with the Miami Dolphins. He also held the title of assistant head coach with that organization.
Dorrell was also the head coach at UCLA for five seasons (2003-07). He won either six or seven games in four of those five years. The lone exception was a 10-win campaign in 2005.
Overall, he went 35-27 with the Bruins overall and 24-18 in Pac-12 play.
“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” athletic director Rick George said in his statement. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”
According to the school, Dorell, upon approval of the university’s Board of Regents, will sign a five-year contract worth “$18 million, in which the first-year salary would be $3.2 million and then increase by $200,000 annually.” In his final season in Boulder, Tucker was paid $2.4 million in guaranteed compensation.
By moving to Michigan State, Tucker more than doubled what he would’ve made as the Colorado football head coach in 2020.