Sunday, November 25, 2012
Updated: November 26, 9:46 AM ET
Jon Embree fired by Colorado
By Kevin Gemmell
After just two seasons, Colorado is parting ways with head coach Jon Embree.
Embree, who signed a five-year contract in Dec. 2010, went just 4-21 in two seasons -- including a 1-11 campaign this year with the Buffaloes. The lone win came Sept. 22 against Washington State.
Embree met with his players Sunday night and said he would talk at a news conference Monday.
"I'm disappointed. I'd like to get more of an opportunity but life ain't fair," Embree told the Denver Post.
Embree told the newspaper that athletic director Mike Bohn "said he didn't feel the trajectory was going in the right direction. I said what direction was it going when I got hired?"
In the Denver Post article, Embree said he told Bohn that opportunities for African-American coaches are often taken away too quickly.
"I mentioned that to Mike," Embree said. "I said, 'You know we don't get opportunities. At the end of the day, you're fired and that's it. Right, wrong or indifferent. Tyrone Willingham was the only one who got fired and got hired again. We get bad jobs and no time to fix them.' "
Bohn declined comment, but in a joint statement from school president Bruce Benson, chancellor Philip P. DiStefano, and him, Bohn said: "We firmly believe a change in the leadership in our football program is in the best interests of the University of Colorado, particularly given our goal to compete at the highest levels of the Pac-12 Conference."
Colorado closed out the season with eight straight losses. Included in that skid was a 70-14 drubbing by Oregon, a 48-0 loss to Stanford and a 38-3 setback to Washington.
Colorado allowed, on average, 46 points per game in 2012, worst among all FBS schools. Yet as recently as Saturday there were reports that Embree would return for a third year.
Embree, a standout tight end for Colorado in the mid-80s, was working with one of the youngest teams in college football as the Buffaloes graduate only eight seniors. Heading into Saturday's game against Utah (a 42-35 loss), Colorado was playing 13 true freshmen. They started with 16 on the season-opening depth chart -- most in Colorado history.
Much of Colorado's offensive inefficiency revolved around instability at the quarterback position. Three different quarterbacks played this year -- Connor Wood, Jordan Webb and Nick Hirschman. They also lost star receiver Paul Richardson in the preseason to a knee injury.
Even coming off the worst season in the program's 123-year history, Embree's quick hook took his players by surprise.
"It (stinks)," Webb said. "We all really liked Coach Embree a lot. And he loved us, also. Sad to see him go. We all respect him the utmost. He's a great man."
This was Embree's first head coaching position, though he did spend 10 seasons at Colorado as an assistant under three different head coaches.
Embree becomes the second Pac-12 coach fired recently. Last week California parted ways with Jeff Tedford after 11 seasons.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.