Let’s Speculate! Potential Colorado head football coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is Colorado, coached for the past 2+ seasons by Karl Dorrell (fired on Sunday).

  • Eric Bieniemy – Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator
    • Bieniemy’s credentials in KC are indisputable and worthy of a head coaching opportunity that for some reason has yet to come his way in the NFL. He is the all-time leading rusher in Colorado history, finishing 3rd in the Heisman voting and winning a national championship with the Buffs in 1990. His career has been split between college and the pros, as was previously an assistant for seven years at Colorado (2001-02, 2011-12) and UCLA (2003-05). He could very well choose to continue working with the most electric QB in the NFL and wait for a pro team to call, which could happen very soon if the Chiefs have another big year. But in our opinion he has to be Option #1 for AD Rick George.
  • Bryan Harsin – Auburn head coach
    • Things are not going well for Harsin at Auburn, there’s no denying it. It’s likely this will be his last year there, one way or another, and I think many in college football would chalk it up more to a lack a fit than anything else. Harsin’s agent will be fielding calls looking for better situations for the former Boise State head coach who was once considered one of the best in the game (69-19 over seven years, including five 10+ win seasons and a 2014 Fiesta Bowl win).
  • Troy Calhoun – Air Force head coach
    • Calhoun has racked up a 115-76 record in 15+ seasons as head coach at his alma mater, Air Force. Considered a candidate at Colorado back in 2020, Calhoun has built the state of Colorado’s most consistent program over the last couple decades and makes sense as a candidate for any major conference school – especially CU.
  • Kalani Sitake – BYU head coach
    • Colorado – and any number of other programs across the country – would be thrilled to land a coach like Sitake. He’s coming off back-to-back 10+ win seasons at BYU and has consistently had the Cougars in the AP Poll over the last several years. With plenty of Pac-12 experience (Utah and Oregon State) and a track record of winning at the college level (currently 50-30 overall as a head coach), Sitake would be a great fit. But would he leave his alma mater for the Buffs job?
  • Blake Anderson – Utah State head coach
    • Anderson has been climbing the college football ranks, having gone 51-37 in seven seasons at Arkansas State before taking the Utah State job in 2021. The Aggies are off to a slow start this year but last year went 11-3 (6-2) under Anderson and finished ranked 24th in the AP Poll. The 53-year-old Anderson had spent the majority of his career in the South but now recruits and coaches right in Colorado’s backyard.
  • Jim McElwain¬†– Central Michigan head coach
    • The former head man at Florida and Colorado State has taken the Chippewas to two bowls in three seasons with two MAC West titles. The Montana-native and Eastern Washington QB was a success during his short stint at CSU, which included a 10-2 record in his third and final year. He won a lot but not enough in Gainesville, as he fired during his third season with a 22-12 overall record. McElwain might not have the resume as some other guys on this list, but he warrants a look for sure.
  • Tom Herman – former Texas & Houston head coach
    • When Texas hired Herman in 2017 it was a no-brainer, as he was a year removed from a 13-win season at Houston and was 22-4 overall in his two season there. And by many measures his 4-year tenure was successful: 4-0 in bowl games, finished in the Top 25 three times (Top 10 once) and won 64% of his games there. That wasn’t good enough for Texas, but Herman is going to catch on somewhere else soon. Is Colorado the right place for him to re-capture the magic from his Houston days? He’s coached largely in the South and Midwest but he did grow up in California and should be able to recruit Pac-12 country.