Mike Bobo grew up in Georgia. He played his college football at the University of Georgia. And he has spent the past 14 seasons as an assistant coach at Georgia.
As of Tuesday, however, Bobo is all CSU Ram.
Bobo was introduced by CSU President Tony Frank as the 22nd head football coach at CSU at an afternoon press conference. The 40-year-old Bobo is the youngest CSU coach in more than 40 years, and he couldn’t be more excited to be in Fort Collins.
“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think this was a dream job,” he said to a crowd of more than 150 fans and media. “That’s just the way I feel. I’ve never interviewed for any other (head coaching) job, but I wanted this job. I will work hard every day to make Colorado State football the best it can be.”
Bobo replaces Jim McElwain, who left for Florida after leading the Rams to just the fifth 10-win season in school history. Bobo was hired following a nationwide search that had Frank and interim director of athletics John Morris interviewing candidates across the country.
In the end, Bobo’s experience as the leader of one of the nation’s top offenses and his commitment to CSU set him apart from other candidates.
“I am extremely confident that in Mike Bobo we have found the exact right person to be our coach,” Frank said. “I’m confident he will give all Ram fans lots of great memories. We’re looking forward to Mike and his staff writing the next chapter in CSU football history.”
Bobo introduced his wife, Lainie, and five children – son Drew (10), triplets – Olivia, Jake and Ava Grace (8), and Kate (6) – and said his family’s well-being was at the top of his priorities list when it came to accepting the job. He plans to bring a family atmosphere to the program.
“I didn’t want to be anywhere with my family where I couldn’t see raising them,” he said in his heavy Southern drawl. “It’s the same way with my players. I want guys who want to be Rams. It’s going to be a privilege to be part of this program. We will work hard every day to represent this university with class.”
During his time at UGA, Bobo helped lead the Bulldogs to 135 victories, including two Southeastern Conference championships, five SEC Eastern Division titles and eight bowl victories.
Prolific offense his specialty
In 2014 Bobo led a Bulldogs offense that averaged 41.7 points per game, which ranked eighth nationally, and racked up 454.9 yards of total offense per game. Against teams currently ranked in the Top 25, UGA compiled a 3-2 record while scoring 34.4 points per game.
He inherits a team that returns eight offensive and seven defensive starters, climbed into the Top 25 for the first time in more than a decade and completed back-to-back bowl seasons for the first time since 2002-03. Among the returning players is wide receiver Rashard Higgins, CSU’s first consensus All-American since 1995.
Additional momentum around the program centers on the Dec. 5 decision by Frank and the CSU System Board of Governors to move ahead with plans to build a new on-campus football stadium to open in 2017.
Commitment to excellence
Bobo said CSU’s commitment to excellence – including the Dec. 5 decision by the Board of Governors to build the on-campus stadium – made the job too good to pass up. He also said Frank’s commitment to academic excellence was very important.
“I’m very competitive, and I hate to lose, but we’re also going to make a difference in the lives of these young men,” he said. “I believe this can be a special program. Things are in place here for this program to take off, to become something special. I want to be part of that.”
All in with the Rams
Bobo agreed to a five-year deal paying him $1.5 million per year. Even though Georgia is playing Louisville in the Dec. 30 Belk Bowl, he will not coach the Bulldogs in that game.
“This is a new chapter in my life and we have to get ready to roll,” he said. “I’ve got to hire a staff, meet with my players and start recruiting. I’m excited to get started.”