The Karl Dorrell era at Colorado began with raised eyebrows and ended with furrowed ones, as the program tumbled hard and fast. Colorado fired Dorrell on Sunday after an 0-5 start.
Colorado hired Dorrell in February 2020, weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Promising coach Mel Tucker had left Boulder after only one season for big money and a better platform at Michigan State. The hire of Dorrell, a former Colorado assistant who had spent most of the previous 15 seasons in the NFL, left many scratching their heads. Tucker had undoubtedly left Colorado in a tough spot, but the program really couldn't do better?
Dorrell actually handled the COVID season well, going 4-1 to reach the Alamo Bowl. But his first full season brought a steady decline, a 4-8 record and the Pac-12's worst offense. Significant roster turnover followed, and Colorado began this season getting outscored 175-57 in its first five games. Dorrell left Colorado's administration little choice with how poorly the team performed.
Colorado's heyday of the late 1980s and early 1990s is fading away, but the program has tradition, a decent fan following and a great stadium/campus combination. Athletic director Rick George will make his third coaching hire and try to find a spark and stability. George got unlucky when Tucker left, but the Dorrell hire was uninspired from the start. He needs to create a spark, especially on offense after the struggles of the past two seasons.
Here are some of the candidates Colorado could consider to replace Dorrell, starting with the most likely options.