Part Two: Football coach evaluated on player conduct
Head football coach Dan Hawkins may lead the players on the football field, but his athletes say he is also a leader off of it. Along with incentives built into his contract regarding the academic progress of the football team, there is also a clause regarding player conduct.
In addition to Hawkins’ $900,000 annual salary, $50,000 of a potential $200,000 in incentives can be awarded to the coach based on the athletes themselves.
The second of three incentive objectives states that Hawkins can receive up to $25,000 every six months for “welfare and development of the football program student athletes, including citizenship, and support for the football program engendered from the UCB student population.”
This is a community- and campus-driven clause, said Tom McGrath, the senior associate athletic director. He said it looks into the actions of the student-athletes themselves and how coach Hawkins directs that.
Coach Hawkins requires members of the football team to perform two hours of community service each fall and spring semester. Senior Hugh Charles said this was not a requirement when former head football coach Gary Barnett was at CU.
“(Hawkins) wanted everybody to know and he wanted the community to know that we are there for them, and we need them for us in order to be successful,” Charles said. “I think it has come a long way with the fans supporting us.”
The athletes read or speak at hospitals and elementary schools, as well as visit nursing homes.
Coach Hawkins said being positively involved in the Boulder community is a large part of what the football team does, and players said he encourages community involvement.
Under this clause, Hawkins also emphasizes the importance of players’ actions off the field beyond community service.
Senior Chase McBride said Hawkins stresses character and representing CU even when the players are not in uniform.
Sports Administration Series
“He thinks that is important, he mentions it all the time,” McBride said. “You’re a role model, people look up to you, and you have got to make sure you are putting your right foot forward.”
In the period from July through December of 2007, Hawkins received $22,000 of the potential $25,000. This dropped from the previous period, in which he received the full $25,000.
At the end of June, sophomores Michael Sipili and Chris Perri were involved in a fight with two fellow CU students on the Hill. Perri was suspended three games by Hawkins for his involvement in this fight and another fight with fellow teammate Taj Kaynor, who was suspended for one game.
Sipili was not arrested until the beginning of August, whereupon Hawkins suspended him indefinitely. After the linebacker pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge in September, the university suspended him from school for the remainder of the semester.
Athletic Director Mike Bohn, who writes the incentive amount, said he does not base the incentive salary on just how the players behave off the field. Bohn said he focuses on how Hawkins handled the situation.
“The incentive related to behavior of members of the team is not designed to punish the coach if there are challenges,” Bohn said. “We are going to have challenges anytime you are working with 120 young men. The evaluation process is in how Dan and our other coaches handle that process and are engaged in it and are committed to improvement and are committed to following the process that’s on campus.”
While Bohn said he could not speak to specific instances because of privacy of personnel information, he did speak to general disciplinary occurrences in the memorandum he sent to Chancellor G.P. “Bud” Peterson outlining his reasoning behind the incentive payout.
“In instances requiring discipline, (Hawkins) has been swift in addressing issues and has supported the university policy and response,” Bohn said. “He has mandated sessions for team members to participate in educational sessions focusing on behavior.”
When athletes do get into trouble off the field, Hawkins said he generally addresses these issues on a situational basis.
“There is always a fine line in there,” Hawkins said. “There are certain things I have zero tolerance for, but I have been doing this for 25 years, and when you are dealing with young people, you have standards. And there has to be limitations in there, but there also has to be somewhere in there where you are going, ‘okay, you know, what was the nature of what you did, can you learn from it?'”
Hawkins said he has no tolerance for violence or crimes against other people, and his stance varies depending on the situation when alcohol is involved. He said he has done anything ranging from speaking with a player to kicking a player off the team, depending on the severity of the issue.
McBride said the student-athletes know Hawkins’ stance on behavior off the football field.
“Responsibility is first,” McBride said. “Take care of your business off the field, and football is your last priority here.”
Since January of this year, five football players have had some sort of run-in with the police. Of the three players arrested, two were suspended indefinitely from the team, and one was permanently released from the team. These decisions came directly from coach Hawkins.
Look for the third part of the three-day Campus Press series on Dan Hawkins’ contract this Thursday.
Contact Campus Press Assistant Sports Editor Margot Schneider at email@example.com.