Steve Addazio at his first public appearance as the new CSU football coach.
Steve Addazio was formally introduced as the new football coach at Colorado State University on Thursday, Dec. 12, and wasted no time sharing his enthusiasm about the opportunity to coach the Rams.
CSU’s 23rd head coach made his first public appearance at a media conference/fan celebration at Canvas Stadium that included CSU spirit squads and dozens of fans eager to hear what he had to say. Addazio did not disappoint, displaying some of his signature enthusiasm and talking about how he plans to turn around a program that suffered back-to-back losing seasons under Mike Bobo, who was dismissed last week after a five-year run.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here,” Addazio said. “We’re going to build a great football program.”
The quest to replace Bobo – he was hired to be offensive coordinator at South Carolina on Tuesday – was fast-paced, with CSU President Joyce McConnell and Director of Athletics Joe Parker leading a search that included former CSU assistant and three-time national champion coach Urban Meyer, who volunteered his services as a consultant. They settled on Addazio and announced his hiring in a Wednesday press release.
Leadership and character
Parker talked about what he was looking for in a coach, including proven leadership, a crafter of culture, someone with high character, and a proven recruiter. He also noted the importance of a coach connecting with the community to boost attendance.
“We found him – all of that,” he said. “We checked every criteria on the list with the hiring of Steve Addazio.”
Addazio, 60, comes to CSU from Boston College, where he amassed a 44-44 record in seven seasons and qualified for six bowl games. Prior to that he was head coach at Temple University for two years, leading the Owls to their first bowl game in 30 years. His overall record as a head coach is 57-55; prior to that he had an extensive career as an assistant, including stops at Notre Dame and Florida.
Among the first items on Addazio’s to-do list is hitting the recruiting trail to bring in as many players as possible. The first of two national signing days is Wednesday, Dec. 18, leaving him less than a week to convince players to become Rams.
At the same time, he will have to sway current players to give him a chance. The Rams return a talented roster, including four all-Mountain West players, for the 2020 season but a coaching change often leads to turnover. Some players have already indicated their desire to transfer.
“I know I need to earn their respect, and that takes time,” he said. “I told them, we’re going to build something great here.”
The new coach expects to install a system that includes a run-oriented offense and stout defense. Addazio, who was part of two national championship teams at Florida under Meyer, promised a hard-nosed brand of football under his leadership.
Fans at the celebration were delighted when Addazio addressed CSU’s recent lack of success against rivals Colorado, Air Force and Wyoming. Bobo lost 12 consecutive rivalry games, and never beat Colorado. With the 2020 season set to open in Canvas Stadium against the Buffs, he knows fans already are looking for relief.
“I know how important these rivalry games are to our fans,” he said, referring specially to the Border War game against Wyoming and the Bronze Boot Trophy that goes to the winner. “We’re going to work hard every day to prepare for those games. And we’re going to get that Boot and bring it back here.”
Addazio was joined by his wife, Kathleen, at the event. They are the parents of Nicole, Jessica, and Louie.
“This day has energized me,” he said. “I’m so jacked up to coach this team. I can’t wait to get started.”