9NEWS learned about CU's decision on Monday night. It came after the Buffs had a massive collapse in the fourth-quarter on Saturday, the biggest in Colorado history. CU gave up 35 points to the Kansas Jayhawks to erase a 45-17 lead.
The Buffaloes are 3-6 this season and 0-5 in the Big 12, the last time the team will play in the Big 12 because it joins the Pac 12 next season. The Buffs have also lost 17 straight road games. If the Buffs had won, it would have been their first road win since 2007.
CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn had reportedly planned to wait until after the season ended to terminate Hawkins, but the collapse in Kansas forced his hand. He told Hawkins he was fired, effective immediately, on Monday.
In his time with CU, Hawkins accumulated a record of only 19-39.
Associate Head Coach Brian Cabral will take over as interim head coach while the school runs a national search for Hawkins' replacement.
Hawkins' son, Cody Hawkins, will remain as the Buffs' quarterback. He is the only healthy quarterback on the roster because Tyler Hansen is recovering from a hard hit that hospitalized him two weeks ago.
Hawkins was one of the hottest coaches in the nation when he took over at Colorado in 2006 after going 53-11 at Boise State. He replaced Gary Barnett, who lost his job after two scandal-plagued years and a 70-3 loss to Texas in the Big 12 title game after the 2005 season.
Meanwhile, Hawkins' former assistant, Chris Petersen, has built Boise State into a national championship contender, leading many critics to suggest that Bohn hired the wrong man away from the Broncos.
Bohn, Chancellor Phil DiStefano and President Bruce Benson took heavy criticism for not firing Hawkins after the Buffs finished 3-9 last season.
Hawkins also alienated alumni and former players by saying the program was "burned to the ground" when he got there even though the Buffaloes had reached the league championship game several times under Barnett.
This year, Hawkins moved practices from their traditional afternoon time slot to early mornings and took players' names off the backs of their jerseys. The culture of losing and Hawkins' curt public persona in the face of so much criticism has stayed the same.
After starting 3-1, the Buffs have lost five straight and will have to beat Iowa State and Kansas State at home and Nebraska on the road to avoid a fifth straight losing season.
Hawkins' contract runs through Jan. 31, 2013. He was awarded a contract extension in 2008 following his only bowl appearance in 2007 and signing a nationally ranked recruiting class that year.
(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)