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CU reaches out to Eric Bieniemy for its head coach vacancy, sources says

Besides showing interest in Chiefs' offensive coordinator, AD Rick George will also formally interview interim head coach Darrin Chiaverini for the full-time job.

BOULDER, Colo. — The University of Colorado has reached out to alumni and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy about its vacant head coach position, a source told 9NEWS.

Per the source, there is preliminary mutual interest between CU and Bieniemy.

A second source told 9NEWS that CU athletic director Rick George will formally interview interim head coach Darrin Chiaverini for the full-time position. Chiaverini was named interim head coach Wednesday to at least temporarily replace Mel Tucker, who abruptly resigned Tuesday night to become head coach of the Michigan State Spartans.

Michigan State reportedly doubled Tucker’s salary to have him replace Mark Dantonio, who retired last week after 13 years as head of the Spartans’ program.

After Tucker left, Bieniemy seemingly emerged as the most popular replacement candidate among Buff fans. He was CU’s star running back during the school’s run at the national championship under coach Bill McCartney from 1987-90. CU finished ranked No. 2 in the nation in 1989 with an 11-1 record and earned the co-national championship in 1990, when Bieniemy rushed for 1,628 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Credit: AP
Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy during the second half of the AFC Championship NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

After a 9-year NFL playing career, Bieniemy moved into coaching as the CU running backs coach from 2001-02. He later coached the Minnesota Vikings running backs from 2006-10 before returning to CU as Jon Embree’s offensive coordinator in 2011-12.

That stint didn’t go well but Bieniemy then began a successful stint as running backs coach and offensive coordinator for the Chiefs in 2013.

Bieniemy, 50, was considered a top head coaching candidate for several teams this offseason, but was bypassed each time. His stock rose after the high-scoring Chiefs behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid defeated Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco 49ers 10 days ago in Super Bowl LIV.

Chiaverini, 42, is a former Buff receiver who played four years in the NFL. He has been CU’s receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator since 2016 and was elevated to assistant head coach in 2019.

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