Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell is looking for a new leader for the Buffaloes’ offense.
On Sunday, Dorrell made the decision to part ways with Darrin Chiaverini, who had been CU’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons. Overall, Chiaverini was on staff for six seasons, most of those as coordinator or co-coordinator, so the offense will get a fresh perspective.
In addition to a coordinator, the Buffs also need to fill Chiaverini’s shoes as the receivers coach, and they are in the market for an offensive line coach.
With that in mind, here’s an initial look at some potential candidates for the coordinator job with the Buffs.
Sterlin Gilbert, former offensive coordinator, Syracuse: Fired by Syracuse on Sunday after two seasons, despite the offense improving by 101.2 yards and 7.1 points per game this season. He also guided a top-20 rushing attack. He has a long-time connection to Syracuse head coach Dino Babers, who was on Dorrell’s staff at UCLA from 2004-07. Gilbert, 43, has been a coordinator for nine seasons, at Syracuse, South Florida, Texas, Tulsa, Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois. He also has deep ties to his native Texas — a CU recruiting hotbed. He played at Angelo State and spent eight years coaching Texas high schools.
Josh Grizzard, receivers coach, Miami Dolphins: Grizzard, 31, replaced Dorrell as the Dolphins’ receivers coach in 2020. Prior to that, he was a quality control coach for the Dolphins for three years, working with Dorrell in 2019. Before going to the Dolphins, he worked for four years at Duke, as a grad assistant and then in quality control, learning under David Cutcliffe. At Duke, he worked mainly with quarterbacks. While he would be a first-time coordinator, his connection to Dorrell makes him an intriguing candidate.
Chris Kapilovic, offensive line coach, Michigan State: Might be difficult to pry him away from the deep pockets of Michigan State and former CU head coach Mel Tucker. But Kapilovic, 53, was the line coach at CU in 2019 and wanted to stay in Boulder before Michigan State offered him $700,000 per year. That’s more than Chiaverini made as OC, so the Buffs would probably have to offer Kapilovic close to $1 million per year. He was very popular among CU’s linemen, however, and the line is CU’s biggest weakness. Prior to CU, Kapilovic was the offensive coordinator/assistant head coach at North Carolina (2016-18).
Danny Langsdorf, QB coach, Colorado: Likely the only member of CU’s current staff who would be in the running for the coordinator job. Langsdorf, 49, helped Sam Noyer in 2020 become the first CU quarterback to earn first or second-team all-conference honors in 24 years. This year, Brendon Lewis struggled but improved as the year went along. Langsdorf’s career includes nine seasons (2005-13) as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Oregon State and three years (2015-17) in that role at Nebraska.
Matt Mumme, offensive coordinator, Nevada: Currently working under Nevada head coach Jay Norvell, who was Dorrell’s coordinator at UCLA in 2007. The son of Hal Mumme — one of the creators of the Air Raid offense with Mike Leach — Matt Mumme, 46, has helped Nevada to four straight bowls. This year, the Wolf Pack rank 15th nationally in scoring (36.7 points per game) and 33rd in yards (439.6). It’s the third time in Mumme’s five years they’ve averaged at least 30 points.
Rich Scangarello, QB coach, San Francisco 49ers: Like Dorrell, Scangarello, 48, comes from the Shanahan tree, as he’s worked three of the past five seasons (2017-18, 2021) as the 49ers’ QB coach under Kyle Shanahan. He also works closely with former CU player/coach Jon Embree, the 49ers’ tight ends coach. He was fired after just one season (2019) as the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos but has also been coordinator and QB coach at Northern Arizona (2012-14) and Wagner College (2016).
Andrew Sowder, offensive coordinator, Kent State: Sowder, 33, has been the Golden Flashes’ OC for four years. The year before he got there, they averaged 12.8 points per game. They’ve averaged 23.9, 29.2, 49.8 (in four games in 2020) and 33.4 since he got there. With the Flashes, he coaches quarterbacks and tight ends. Prior to Kent State, he was the OC at San Jose State in 2017 and worked in quality control at Texas in 2016. Before that, he spent four years — at Eastern Illinois and then Bowling Green — working for Babers. Sowder is also a Texas native who graduated from Baylor and has coached at Baylor, West Texas A&M and Texas.
Jeff Tedford, unemployed: Most recently, Tedford, 60, was head coach at Fresno State from 2017-19, retiring for health reasons. Recent reports have said the 2017 Mountain West coach of the year wants to get back on the sidelines and this could be a great fit. His career includes an 11-year run (2002-12) as head coach at California, where he was two-time Pac-10 coach of the year. He has a 108-71 record as a head coach. A former quarterback, he has been offensive coordinator and QB coach at Fresno State (1993-97), Oregon (1998-2001) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014).
Troy Walters, receivers coach, Cincinnati Bengals: Walters, who turns 45 on Dec. 15, was CU’s receivers coach under Mike MacIntyre from 2013-15. The Buffs had a 1,000-yard receiver in each of those seasons (Paul Richardson in 2013, Nelson Spruce in 2014-15) and have had just one since. After CU, Walters was the offensive coordinator at Central Florida (2016-17) and Nebraska (2018-19), with those teams never scoring less than 28.0 points per game. A former Stanford and NFL receiver, Walters spent 11 years coaching receivers in college before joining the Bengals staff in 2020.
John Wristen, head coach, CSU-Pueblo: A CU assistant under Gary Barnett from 1999-2005, working at various times with running backs, tight ends and special teams. CU’s two best scoring averages since 1996 both came during the time Wristen, 59, was in Boulder. He also coached tight ends and special teams at UCLA from 2006-07 when Dorrell was head coach. Started Division II CSU-Pueblo from scratch in 2008 and has gone 125-33. Took the Thunderwolves to a national title in 2014, as well as eight NCAA tournament appearances and eight RMAC titles from 2011-19. A six-time RMAC coach of the year, his offense averaged at least 31 points per game every year from 2010-19.