Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dan Hawkins's 5th Year at Colorado... What It REALLY Means For Dan Hawkins

At the end of his fourth season as University of Colorado head football coach, Dan Hawkins sported a dismal 3-8 record and was facing a season-ending home game against the heavily favored and CU rival Nebraska Cornhuskers. Approaching the end of a season which began with a shameful home loss to Colorado State and a humiliating road loss to Toledo and never really improved, Dan Hawkins was ready to do what he does best... blame someone else for his own failings.

What Is The Significance Of A College Coach's Fourth Year?

In major college sports, a fundamental axiom of coaching success is that a coach is best measured in his fourth year. During that year, a successful coach is still riding a wave of enthusiasm over his "newness" and a failure of a coach can no longer blame a previous regime's players since he has 4 year's worth of his own players. In fact, former Colorado basketball coach told a booster group, "If we aren't winning in our fourth year, there is no one to blame but Jeff Bzdelik." Sure enough, Bzdelik headed to Wake Forest following his third year in Boulder.

But back to Hawkins and his fourth season at Colorado. Clearly an on-field failure, it was time for Hawkins to be fired. However, with a cash-strapped athletic program facing a nationwide financial recession, Chancellor Phil DiStefano, it is believed, overruled Colorado Athletic Director Mike Bohn, who had made the decision to fire Hawkins and enter 2010 with a new coach. Some people close to the program even believe that Bohn actually TOLD Hawkins he would be fired, but the always-charismatic Hawkins made his case to Bohn's boss DiStefano, and Bohn was overruled. It was likely during this period where Hawkins thought he was being fired that he made the unfortunate "burned to the ground" comments.

What Do Hawkins's Comments Say About His Character?

From Hawkins's first days on campus in Boulder in 2006, those who knew him least liked him most. He brought enthusiasm, a sunny attitude, a Boulder-friendly "Zen" approach to coaching, and a commanding 54-11 record from his previous stop, Boise State. Fans, the media, Boulder locals, boosters... they all showed what came to be knows as "Hawk Love." But for those closest to Hawkins, "Hawk Love" faded and "Hawk Hate" prevailed before Hawkins had even coached a game. Off the record, even those boosters closest to the program said that Hawkins was arrogant, shirked alumni relations duties, was aloof during meetings with potential boosters, and even spent an entire in-home "get to know you" session with prominent donors on his cell phone. "A true asshole" was how one person close to the program described Hawkins... before he had even coached a game.

As the losing seasons mounted, Hawk Love dissipated even in those not-so-close to the program. Attendance at Hawkins booster events dwindled as tension as those events grew. Rather than make nice with boosters, Hawkins chose public venues to argue with and criticize those people who wanted nothing more than to see the same thing Hawkins supposedly wanted... to see the University of Colorado football team win. Late in the 2008 season, Hawkins's third at CU (and third losing season), Hawkins responded to online critics - often the most passionate, vocal, and knowledgeable segment of a fan base - by painting them all as "internet scum."

And as his 4th season became yet another failure, Hawkins resorted again, as is his wont, to cheap shots lobbed from the balcony when he made the now-infamous "burned to the ground" comment. People close to the situation believe that Chancellor Phil DiStefano, immediately before Colorado predictably lost its final 2009 game to Nebraska, was wowed by Hawkins's charisma, enthusiasm, and unfortunately Hawkins's most prominent characteristic, his excuse-making. There is even a belief in some quarters that Hawkins presented to DiStefano an elaborate PowerPoint presentation to lobby for a fifth year, a presentation allegedly seen in other venues by other folks who say it includes myriad excuses for Hawkins's failure, including the previous regime, the bad luck of close losses, the loss of key players due to injuries, and even a rationale of how firing Hawkins could financially sting the CU Athletic Department. Of course, no mention of on-field success was made by Hawkins. And he got his fifth year.

What The Fifth Year Means For Dan Hawkins

Hawkins's fifth year at Colorado has been, predictably, more of the same. Embarrassing home losses, a complete failure on the road, 5 straight conference losses, and the biggest blown lead in school history in a loss at inept Kansas. But his record isn't what will stick with Hawkins - everyone already knew he was a failure as a major college coach. His off-field performance IS what will stick with Hawkins as he attempts to seek work in the future.

Here's how Dan Hawkins failed OFF the field, and why no reputable athletic director will ever hire him again:

1. Refusal to Take Responsibility - rather than own up to his failings and be classy about his exit from CU, Hawkins chose to blame the past by saying the program was "burned to the ground". Hawkins will probably continue to blame everyone other than himself for his obvious failure as a football coach at CU. Conversely, if the next guy is successful at CU, expect to see Hawkins claim that he laid a great foundation...
2. Lack of Respect - Hawkins has repeatedly shown a lack of respect for boosters and fans, as discussed above. Further, Hawkins has showed the media extreme disrespect by acting like a boor on Big XII conference calls, and in his shameless, curt dismissal of CU Announcer Mark Johnson during a postgame interview at Kansas.
3. Lack of Perspective - Hawkins, in the face of everything obvious, continue to believe that his team is "close" to achievement, and claims illogically that success was only "a few plays away". In reality, even Hawkins's 3-9 2009 team, the key fourth year team, was 2 plays away from a dismal 1-win season, although Hawkins never admits that, instead claiming insanely that his team was "10 plays away" from a bowl.
4. Lack of Class - Hawkins, an obvious failure, has not only failed to resign and set an example for his players and for young fans of the program, he has demonstrated that he is willing to do ONLY what he is contractually obligated to do to retain his bloated salary. Curt, actually rude, contractually obligated media appearances have become the norm as a small, selfish man does the bare minimum to get paid. And recruting? Forget it... Hawkins has done almost nothing, truly leaving the talent cupboard for the poor soul who replaces him in 2011.

Remember, athletic directors are a fraternity...

Do You Think Anyone Will EVER Hire Dan Hawkins Again?
Probably Not... and It's Because He Got A Fifth Year at Colorado


  1. Division 2 Danny can suck my ball sack. What a worthless hire. Went form talking aobut winning national champoinships to talking about winning doens't mean anything. And now lost a game he should have won because he wanted to pad his son's stats.

    Needs to tied to a rail and ran out of town.

    FIB from AB

  2. Fuck Hawkins.

    -18 winning seasons out of 21 before he arrives
    -CU had only lost to 19 unranked teams in the past 20 years before this douchebag came to CU and has lost to 24 unranked teams in 5 seasons.
    -CU had been 57-30-1 in their last 88 road games before Hawk came, CU has now lost 16 road games in a row

    ...And Bohn, DiStefano & Co. still do not have the balls to fire the conartist that has absolutely ruined our Colorado Buffaloes and made Dear Old CU a laughingstock. It is unbelievable that not one of these fools can comprehend how schools with successful athletics are in a position to increase their applicant pool and excel academically

  3. I never thought anyone could decimate a football program as bad as Bill Callahan did in his four years at NU, but I think Hawkins may have "accomplished" more than that CU. With the damage Hawkins has inflicted, it is going to take years to recover.


  5. ^^^^ Nebraska fan ^^^^^


  6. Hawkins has been such a complete failure that mentioning him in same breath as Bill Callahan is a slap in the face to Callahan. Billy C. for all his failures had a record about 7 games above .500 (not near acceptable at NU) and he was a pretty solid recruiter.

    Many of the players that are the corp of Pelini's first years are Callahan recruits. Joe Ganz, Marlon Lucky, Matt Slauson, Nate Swift, Pierre Allan, Jerad Crick, Prince Amukumara, LArry Asante, Matt O'Hanlon, Eric Hagg, Ricky Thenarse, Lydon Murtha and big Suh. All Callahan recruits and now Pelini is adding to that with a top 10 class.

  7. Arrogance is ignorance. Hawkins will carry his legacy with him. There must be a high school in Idaho that needs a coach. He can talk them into giving him a good contract.

  8. Poor ol' Hawkins can sit on his fat ass, with millions oozing from his pockets, whithout a care in the World about being hired again.
    Hopefully he moves far from here. Him and Mr. Ballon Boy (Richard Heene) would make a nice pair of cons down in Florida.