A visibly distraught and emotional Jon Embree gave his final press conference Monday after being dismissed as the head coach of the CU football program.
News broke Sunday that Athletic Director Mike Bohn made the decision to relieve Embree of his duties despite just being two years into his five-year contract.
Embree had a record of 4-21 in his two years as head coach. This season’s 1-11 finish is the worst in school history since 1920.
CU has not had a winning record in the past seven seasons. This marks the first season in history the Buffs failed to win a game at home.
It was evident that the decision came as a shock for Embree, who was under the impression that he would be given more time to fix a failing program he inherited from former coach Dan Hawkins.
Embree said he felt he was not given enough time to see his changes turn into success.
“It is what it is,” Embree said. “Obviously I’m not in the right frame of mind to answer some of that stuff. I don’t agree … I thought I would be here to be able to build and at least have an opportunity to see it through.”
However, it seems that the decision to let Embree go came sometime late Saturday night with little to no indication prior. Bohn would not give an exact date when asked when he made the decision to dismiss the coach.
Embree gave his emotional address on campus in the Dal Ward Varsity Room with his family, players, assistant coaches and other school officials in attendance. Teary-eyed, he reflected on what he has achieved as a Buff.
“I’m obviously disappointed sitting here today,” Embree said. “You know, I did things the right way. I don’t care what they say, or what anyone says. We had the highest GPA the last three semesters here at this school that the football program has ever had. We stay out of trouble. You guys represented yourselves well and all the guys that played before you. You set a legacy and a standard.”
Despite the lack of success on the field, Embree believes his largest impact was what he did for his players off the field.
“Seeing them change,” Embree said. “Seeing some come in as a freshman and knowing how they change year to year and leaving as a man. That’s the unique thing about college football. You get to see someone go from a boy to a man. That’s what I’ll miss.”
Mike Bohn was adamant that the decision was based purely upon the results of these last two seasons. Bohn indicated that he felt there wasn’t enough progress towards improvement, nor had the necessary changes in personnel been made.
He added that alumni support wasn’t a factor either.
“Our booster’s resources have never been a factor, especially in my tenure,” Bohn said. “The erosion of our tickets and our fan base certainly doesn’t help.”
Given the recent success of the Colorado basketball team and the job Tad Boyle has done in his short tenure as head coach, it’s understandable why the athletic department wanted to see drastic changes made to an ailing football program.
“In the end, it’s about our functionality and the way our enterprise is run and the proactive approach we take to try to be competitive,” Bohn said.
Whatever direction the school decides to head with the program, expect major changes. Whoever is chosen to pick up the reins will have a daunting task ahead to meet the rising expectations of the athletic department and find a way to win in the Pac-12.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Shay Knolle at Shay.firstname.lastname@example.org