Colorado hires ex-UCLA coach, Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell to lead Buffaloes program

Miami Dolphins wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell was named as assistant head coach of the team on Friday, but just two days later, he has landed a head coaching gig elsewhere. The 56-year-old former UCLA coach has been named the head coach at Colorado, the school announced on Sunday. Dorrell takes over the role formerly occupied by Mel Tucker, who left to coach Michigan State earlier this month after posting a 5-7 record in his only season in Boulder.

“I’m excited to be back, it’s like coming home,” Dorrell said.  “The thing that excited me about this job is that my experience in the past here for the most part has been very successful.  We had a lot of good teams, went to a lot of good bowl games.  It’s a top caliber program that has a lot of potential, and I’m excited to return it to that level.”

Dorrell guided the Bruins to a 35-27 record in five seasons (2003-07) at the helm, with their best mark of 10-2 leading to a No. 16 ranking in the final AP Top 25 in 2005. But back-to-back six-loss seasons in the subsequent two campaigns led to the end of the his tenure with the program. He has spent 11 of the last 12 seasons as an assistant coach in the NFL, serving as Vanderbilt offensive coordinator in 2014.

Dorrell is no stranger to the Buffaloes. He was the team’s wide receivers coach from from 1992-93 and returned to serve as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach from 1995-98. Colorado finished in the AP Top 25 four times while he was an assistant and posted top-10 finishes in 1995 and 1996.

“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” athletic director Rick George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously.  Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships.  He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”

Dorrell’s hiring has put an end to one of the wildest coaching searches of the offseason. Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian took their names out of consideration for the vacancy this week. The Buffaloes also expressed interest in former Arkansas and Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, current Air Force coach Troy Calhoun and Colorado interim coach Darrin Chiaverini prior to hiring Dorrell.

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