CSU, Coach Mike Bobo agree to part ways
by Tony Phifer
published Nov. 4, 2019
Coach Mike Bobo on the sidelines at the 2019 season finale against Boise State on Nov. 29. Photo by John Eisele, CSU Photography.
CSU could have a new football coach in place by early next week.
Director of Athletics Joe Parker said Wednesday, Dec. 4, that a search already has begun to replace Mike Bobo, the Rams’ coach the past five years. Bobo’s tenure at CSU officially came to an end as he and Parker mutually agreed to part ways.
Bobo, who led the Rams to bowl games in his first three seasons, had been under increasing pressure the past two seasons as the Rams struggled to 3-9 and 4-8 records, leaving him with an overall mark of 29-35.
As part of the separation agreement, CSU will pay Bobo $1.825 million – far less than the $5.5 million called for in his contract.
Bobo’s decision to accept less than a third of the money owed him is all but unprecedented in today’s world of massive contracts and buyouts. But Parker reminded a group of reporters at an evening media briefing at Canvas Stadium that just one year ago Bobo had declined a scheduled $100,000 raise – an indication of his high character.
Do the right thing
Parker said they began talking about Bobo’s future following a team banquet Saturday night, which led to Wednesday’s announcement.
“Mike wanted to do the right thing for all parties concerned – for the university, his staff, his players and his family,” Parker said of the highly unusual separation agreement. “Mike’s got a good opportunity to be repositioned quickly, and we wanted to start moving forward here.”
Parker said declining attendance and fan apathy had become a concern, forcing him to take a hard look at whether Bobo was the right coach for the program. The Rams had won three consecutive games in midseason to improve their record to 4-5 but lost to rivals Air Force and Wyoming, then league-leading Boise State, to close the season on Nov. 29.
“Unfortunately, the results of the last couple of seasons have not been what we wanted, but I can assure you this was not a reflection of the commitment and hard work that we put into the program the past five years,” Bobo said. “Our players and coaches never quit and fought through the final whistle against Boise State. I’m so proud of this entire team and staff for their incredible resolve.”
Search to begin
The search for Bobo’s replacement is expected to progress quickly. With recruiting season heating up, and the “early” signing period beginning Dec. 18, Parker hopes to have CSU’s 23rd coach hired in time to sign new players while convincing the talented crop of returning players to stick around. Eighty percent of the players on CSU’s first and second teams this season were underclassmen.
“I want us to be the premier program in Mountain West in everything we do, including football,” Parker said.
He didn’t offer many specifics but made it clear that he prefers to hire someone with head coaching experience. Bobo, the former offensive coordinator at Georgia, had no previous head coaching experience – just like the three Ram head coaches who preceded him.
CSU will not utilize a search firm.
“This is a really attractive job, and based on early interest I know there are a lot of people out there who want to be part of this program,” Parker said. “We’ll have a strong candidate pool, and I’m confident we’ll emerge with a really strong coach.”