JOE BIDDLE: Colorado next step for Mike MacIntyre

JOE BIDDLE: Colorado next step for Mike MacIntyre (Image 1)

Having watched Mike MacIntyre grow from a high school football player to a major college head coach, I have seen him transition into a man every parent would be proud of.

MacIntyre is a rising star in the coaching ranks. In his first head coaching job, he took a bedraggled San Jose State program from 1-12 in his first year to a third-year 10-2 record and a No. 24 ranking in almost every major final poll. It's also the first bowl game appearance since 2006.

It's one of the happiest moments of his life.

I also was in Ames, Iowa, when 20-year-old Vanderbilt defensive back Mike MacIntyre muffed a punt that Iowa State pounced on, leading to a short touchdown late in the game that handed Vanderbilt a 20-17 loss.

MacIntyre played for his father George at Vanderbilt, only to see his father fired after the 1985 season. Those were tough moments for Mike, who transferred and completed his college career at Georgia Tech.

He told a Denver writer it was devastating.

“Tears, heck yeah. It was a tough deal to handle,'' MacIntyre said.

MacIntyre played for Carlton Flatt at Brentwood Academy. He was a student of the game and inherited coaching genes from his father.

“Mike played quarterback, defensive back and wide receiver,'' Flatt recalled Tuesday. “If you let him, he'd do a little coaching.''

MacIntyre got into college coaching and was hired by some of the best in the profession. He worked for Bill Parcells at the Dallas Cowboys, later on as director of recruiting for David Cutcliffe at Ole Miss and Duke.

MacIntyre presented a plan at San Jose State and put it into place. The recruiting improved, the players' attitudes improved and MacIntyre made an upward move this week when he was hired at Colorado.

“Mike is first class. I'm so proud of him,'' Flatt said. “For him to do what he did [at San Jose State] in a short amount of time is unbelievable. Through the years I have been impressed with his maturity and his ability in handling people. He was always out learning and he would come back in the summer and tell me what he had learned, so I was learning from him.''

If MacIntyre is successful at Colorado, he will be able to punch his ticket to a top echelon job.

The 47-year-old MacIntyre got off to a rough start at San Jose State. The season opener was in Tuscaloosa and Alabama drilled his team, 48-3. They also had to play Wisconsin and Utah that season in order to earn money for the football program. He took one for the team as the combined scores of those games was 131-20. They won one game that season.

He knows it won't be easy at Colorado, a Pac 12 team with outdated facilities and not many BCS recruits in the state.

“We have a long way to go. But I've been there before and I know what to do,'' MacIntyre said at his Colorado press conference.

“I just left a program of young men who cared very deeply, who went from 120th in the nation to No. 24 in every poll.''

Colorado quadrupled MacIntyre's salary, giving him a five-year contract worth $10 million.

“Colorado got a great guy, a good coach and a good recruiter,'' said San Jose State offensive lineman David Quessenberry. “He's going to be able to accomplish there what he did here.''

“Mike has been around a lot of good coaches. It's been done out there [Colorado],'' Flatt noted. “It looks like he has made a smart move.''

So for now, Mike MacIntyre and his family will make their home where the Buffaloes roam.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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