Colorado Stuns Football Coach Jon Embree by Showing Him the Door After Two Seasons

November 28, 2012 – 8:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

Nobody on the planet envied the situation Jon Embree stepped into when he was hired as Colorado’s football coach two years ago. The program was mired in shambles, and the Buffs turned to a former player to turn things around. Now, after just 23 months, the door has closed on Embree’s tenure, despite the fact that the coach says athletic director Mike Bohn constantly told him that everyone was in it for the long haul.

Jon Embree joined 102.3 The Fan in Denver with C.J. and Kreckman to discuss being fired as Colorado’s football coach to start the week, the surprise of the decision, the lack of resources at his disposal, winning just four games during his tenure, if he was ever Mike Bohn’s “guy,” if he would’ve taken the job if he knew he’d only have two years to turn things around and if the next guy can succeed in Boulder.

What was the hardest part of your final press conference in Boulder on Monday?:

“Seeing the players. [Sunday] night I had an opportunity, and told them I had been fired and that I would talk with them again when I knew I could have some composure and all that. I just told them we’d talk again this week, and I didn’t anticipate they’d all be in that press conference.”

How surprised were you at the decision and what had you been told previously about your future?:

“Mike had been working with me on some things that I was doing, as far as some things I had set up. I was supposed to go spend four days at Oklahoma State. I had talked to Mike Gundy and he was going to let me and the offensive staff in there and we were going to run their offense. … And then, talking about possible staff changes and what that was going to entail. … So everything was good, and then he called me Saturday night and wanted to know when I was going to be at the facility. … I told him I’d be there doing some work, and I just knew then that something was up. And he walked in my office around 5 and said he wanted to make a change.”

How does it sit with you that the school says the next coach will have more resources that you didn’t get the opportunity to have?:

“We’ll see if they do it. We don’t even have enough meeting rooms. … And we’ve asked for more meeting rooms … since I got hired. We didn’t even have enough chairs for our offensive linemen to sit in while they watched tape. We had to get new chairs for that and that finally got done about Week 9 of this year. You can say it, but we’ll see if it gets done.”

When you were hired and your expectations and goals were laid out, was there a discussion about timeline and how long that might take to turn things around?:

“No, but every press conference my first year, and even this year, Mike, after a loss, would say, ‘Don’t worry; we’re in this for the long haul. Don’t get so worked up. Talk about the positives.’ He always used the words, ‘We’re in this for the long haul.’ … I guess long haul is 23 months.”

What do you say to folks that say four wins, even in a tough situation, isn’t cutting it, so you were rightfully fired?:

“I say, ‘Well, basically we had one recruiting class.’ … I don’t want to get into all the dynamics, because it was what it was, as far as our roster and all that and what you did and didn’t have. … You’ve got to win more, and that’s one of the things that Mike wouldn’t even say that. He talked about the trajectory of the program. I asked him, ‘What was the trajectory when I got hired?’ The program hadn’t won on the road in five years. We did that twice. Our GPA … each semester we set the school record for GPA. … There’s a lot of things I heard about when I got the job, that administration wanted cleaned up. You’re doing that, you’re trying to change a culture. You’re doing a lot of things. … The truth of the matter is it takes you away from being able to coach football. … The trajectory of the program, in my mind, was heading in the right direction.”

Do you feel like you were ever Mike Bohn’s guy?:

“I don’t know. Only Mike can answer that. … I don’t know where I fit in within that context. I just know that I was hired 23 months ago and here we are having this conversation. I said to Mike, I asked him, ‘How many guys get fired after two year?’ He said there were two … ‘You and Turner Gill.’ So I don’t know. I don’t know what the deal is. … Really, at the end of the day, more Ws, I don’t know how that would have affected it. But I feel disappointed.”

If you had known you were only going to get two years to turn things around, would you have taken the job?:

“No, because you can’t. You can’t do it in 23 [months]. You can’t come into that situation. You had 28 seniors, so basically your whole team graduates. So you’ve got to start all over again. … We signed nine D-lineman last year. Five of them played this year that were true freshmen. Not only are you graduating, but your losing, at some key positions, the whole roster. Then you say, ‘OK, you’ve got to do that, but oh, by the way, you’re going to go 13 straight weeks without a bye because you’re going to go to Ohio State.’ It just doesn’t work.”

Can the next guy be successful with this administration?:

“I hope so. I want people to understand this, I’m a Buff. I want to hear that fight song every Saturday that I can. I hope whoever comes in here, I hope players stay around. I hope to see them have success. Now, what changes are made on the other side, I don’t know. I don’t know what they will or won’t do. I guess only time will tell.”

Listen to Jon Embree on 102.3 The Ticket in Denver here

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