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The rise and fall of CU football

2:44 AM, Nov 27, 2012   |    comments
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Larry Zimmer was at the Orange Bowl in Miami calling the game the night the Buffaloes claimed a share of the national championship on January 1, 1991. It was certainly a high moment in the school's history.

"There was an unquestioned commitment on the part of the university to have a good football program, because the President, Gordon Gee wanted that," Zimmer said. "It was a solid program in '90 and it continued to be."

Zimmer believes the CU football program took a turn for the worst in 2004 when multiple allegations of sexual assaults by players were investigated. While no players were ever arrested in connection with the alleged assaults the program suffered by association.

"I do think from that point on the program went downhill," Zimmer said.

Gary Barnett, head coach of the team during the scandal was fired on December 9, 2005. Seven days later CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn introduced Dan Hawkins as the new head football coach.

"I think that there is no question that we found the right fit for the Colorado Buffaloes in Dan Hawkins," Bohn said at a news conference when introducing Hawkins.

Hawkins served as head coach at CU for five seasons, but losses came much quicker than wins.

On November 9, 2010 Bohn fired Hawkins. He left CU with a record of 16 - 33.

Less than a month later, on December 6, 2010, Bohn introduced Jon Embree as the head coach of the Buffaloes.

"We are now poised for a bright future as a team behind our new coach," Bohn said, as he introduced Embree, a former CU football player.

Embree's teams struggled as CU moved to the PAC 12. In his first two seasons Embree's teams won just four games while losing 21. In his final season the team finished 1 -11.
The downward spiral of the football program has alumni and fans debating the cause.

"I don't think they've had the talent here in the last 8 years," Zimmer said.

He believes recruiting failures and aging athletic facilities have played a part in the program's demise. While the last eight years have left the CU football program in turmoil, Zimmer believes the university can right the ship.

"I think Colorado will. The university is too great to not have a great football program, but it is going to take time and it is going to take the right guy to come in here and do it," Zimmer said.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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