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McCartney Leaving Colorado : College football: Coach who built program into power will stay through bowl game.

November 20, 1994|From Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. — Colorado football Coach Bill McCartney, who turned around a moribund program and produced a national championship in 1990, resigned on Saturday, moments after the Buffaloes' 41-20 regular season-ending victory over Iowa State.

McCartney, 54, will coach the Buffaloes through whichever bowl game they appear in, but he urged the administration to quickly appoint a successor so as not to disrupt recruiting.

"I've been thinking about this for some time now," McCartney said at a postgame news conference, with his wife Lyndi at his side and his family in attendance. "I've been here 13 years. It's time. There are things I want to do as a family.

"This chapter has ended. I don't know quite what's around the corner."

McCartney, the winningest coach in Colorado history with a 92-55-5 record, has guided the Buffaloes to a 10-1 record this season, the loss to No. 1 Nebraska.

"There are no negatives here," he said. "Everybody--from (Athletic Director) Bill Marolt to the administration--has been tremendous. This has strictly been a very positive situation. We love this place a lot. I don't want to put a damper on what we accomplished here today, but it's time."

McCartney refused to rule out any future coaching ventures.

"I don't know," he said. "I don't anticipate coaching soon, but I don't rule it out."

He did deny speculation that he might be interested in the vacant Michigan State coaching position. "I would put to rest any rumors about going to Michigan State," he said.

"I just want to celebrate the 13 years of friendships we've had. I'll coach through the bowl game, but then I want to get out of the way. We'll need a new coach prior to next year's recruiting."

McCartney signed a "lifetime contract" in 1990. "It's true I had a 15-year arrangement, but I had a five-year contract, and it will expire Jan. 1, 1995," he said.

He said he informed Marolt and his assistant coaches earlier in the day of his decision, and told his players after the game.

"I tried to talk him out of resigning," Marolt said, "and so did university President (Judith) Albino. When I talked to him this morning, it was the first time I had any indication. I was totally surprised, shocked. As I saw this program move forward, I thought he'd be in this for the long haul. He's been a tremendous asset to this program. We're going to miss him."

Marolt said he would begin searching for a successor immediately.

"We want to make it quick but not so quick that we make a hasty decision," he said.

At least three assistants on McCartney's staff--offensive coordinator Elliot Uzelac, defensive line coach Bob Simmons and quarterback coach Rick Neuheisel--are believed to be coaching prospects.

"I know he doesn't do anything knee-jerk," Neuheisel said. "This has been a long, thought-out scenario, so he's doing the right thing."

Said running back Rashaan Salaam: "It's a big loss. I'm used to seeing Coach Mac with his crazy look on the sideline. Not to see that is going to be real weird. People broke down and started crying when he told us."

Said safety Steve Rosga: "We're in disbelief, in shock. It's kind of like losing a dad."

McCartney, an assistant at Michigan, was named Colorado's coach in June 1982, assuming a program that had gone 3-8, 1-10 and 3-8 the three previous seasons. He was 2-8-1, 4-7 and 1-10 his first three seasons in Boulder, but a 7-5 record in 1985 began a string of 10 consecutive winning seasons, including an 11-1 mark in 1989 and an 11-1-1 record in 1990.

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