Colorado recently hired Mike MacIntyre to run their football program and Wednesday night they launched the next big venture in their hope to ascend to football decency. Athletic director Mike Bohn and Coach MacIntyre unveiled plans for a $170 million overhaul of the Colorado football facilities, as shown over at CUBuffs.com.
At the most basic level, props to Bohn for getting this pushed through. Colorado needed upgrades to help them show off in recruiting, and the plans for this massive upgrading process will help in that department. However, we do have to temper our roof raising for Bohn and MacIntyre by acknowledging that nice stuff is just stuff, a lot more goes into building a program.
After the unceremonious firing of Buff family guy Jon Embree, and the resulting charge of racial discrimination from former coach and legend Bill McCartney, Mike Bohn needs something to go his way in a hurry. He hopes that something is new coach, Mike MacIntyre, a guy who came in and, as shown over at 247 Sports, had a tough time generating recruiting momentum.
The cash is nice, and thanks to the Pac-12's influx of dollars the Buffs have the cheddar to invest in their program; something they could not do while mired in debt in the Big 12. However, as we've seen all over the collegiate landscape, reinvestment is only a small part of the recipe for success.
Tennessee knows this fact all too well as they've poured over $130 million into Neyland Stadium renovations since 2006, as reported by the Sports Business Daily. All that investment has earned them one SEC Championship appearance in 2007, four non-BCS bowl trips and three seasons with no bowl showing at all. In their division the Vols only finished in one of the top two spots in two of the seven seasons; they finished in the bottom two slots three times in seven.
Stadium renovation is nice, but ultimately what Tennessee has currently is their fourth coach since the 2008 season. Your coaching recipe has to work or the renovation is largely a cash dump.
Which brings us to Maryland, a school that undertook massive renovations in an effort to modernize and compete about the same time as Tennessee. The Terps are a lot more Colorado than Tennessee from a financial standpoint. Sure, the Buffs have nice Pac-12 dollars, but if they, like Maryland, do not get a return on the investment through donations and ticket sales, they'll be back in financial disarray.
The Terps had to cut sports, and ultimately make a dash to the Big Ten, in an effort to fix their money woes. For Colorado, this push for facilities has to pay off, not just in recruiting but in ticket sales and dollars donated. It has to pay for itself at some point in the future and as both Tennessee and Maryland prove, that can only happen if they win.
I'm rooting for Mike MacIntyre; the guy is a heck of a coach with a keen eye for talent and getting the most out of his players. The stadium efforts are a great asset, but ultimately the Colorado program can only be saved by the likes of Coach MacIntyre. Of course, we said the same about Dan Hawkins and Jon Embree before him.
We'll see if the third time is the charm for Mike Bohn, at least he's got the facilities planned to help his new guy.