Publish date:

What Next In Colorado? It won't be easy to find a successor to Barnett

University of Colorado president Elizabeth Hoffman may have found
it hard to live with football coach Gary Barnett, but she may
also find it difficult to replace him. Barnett, who was placed on
paid leave last week, probably won't learn his fate until April
30, when an investigative panel convened by the school presents
its findings. But with the program reeling from rape allegations
against its players, there is a shortage of quality candidates
should Barnett and the school part company. The top local
prospect, Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, turned down
the job in 1999--and that was when it came with a lot less
baggage. (Not to mention brighter prospects: Colorado had a
losing record in two of the past four seasons.) Purdue coach Joe
Tiller also said no thanks in '99. Bob Simmons, a Notre Dame
assistant who was on Bill McCartney's Buffaloes staff in the
'90s, but was passed over in favor of Rick Neuheisel in '95,
would be a logical candidate. However, five years ago, while head
coach at Oklahoma State, Simmons was faced with his own unseemly
situation when four Cowboys players were accused of rape. (No
charges were filed.) Offering Simmons the job might appear
insensitive, underscoring the dilemma faced by a school looking
to clean up its image. "The administration is going to be under a
lot of pressure to hire someone with a spotless record, and that
is tough to find," says one Big 12 coach. Anyway, he adds, "Isn't
that what Gary had when Colorado hired him?"

--George Dohrmann