Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy won’t be Colorado’s next head coach.
The former Colorado running back has taken his name out of the pool of candidates to be the Buffs’ head coach, per multiple reports.
Chiefs’ OC Eric Bieniemy withdrew his name from any consideration for the Colorado HC job, as @MikeKlis also reported. Too good of a situation in KC to leave now, especially when he will be a prime NFL HC candidate again this season.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 21, 2020
Per NBC 9 News, Bieniemy pulled out Wednesday night. The school has conducted interviews this week as it looks to find Mel Tucker’s replacement. Tucker left Colorado for Michigan State. The Spartans paid him double what he was making at Colorado.
Meanwhile, CU interviewed receivers coach and interim head coach Darrin Chiaverini on Monday, former Wisconsion head coach and current New York Giants outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema on Tuesday and Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian on Wednesday, according to multiple sources. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun was also on CU’s radar with one source saying his interview was scheduled to occur Thursday.
Like Bieniemy, Sarkisian is also reportedly staying in his current position. The former USC and Washington coach met with Nick Saban and will remain Alabama’s offensive coordinator, per ESPN.
Nick Saban won’t be looking for another offensive coordinator. Steve Sarkisian, who had emerged as a top target for the Colorado head job, will remain at @AlabamaFTBL and is expected to get a raise making him one of college football’s highest paid assistants, sources tell ESPN.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) February 20, 2020
Bieniemy waiting for an NFL job?
Bieniemy has been one of the most popular assistants interviewed by NFL teams for head-coaching jobs over the past two seasons despite not getting a top job with a pro team. Bieniemy has interviewed seven times over the past two seasons and interviewed with NFL teams four times after the 2019 season.
With the Chiefs’ offense set to be great again in 2020 as the team defends its first Super Bowl title in 50 years, there’s no reason to think that Bieniemy won’t be a target of NFL teams looking for a coach again in the next offseason with or without the Rooney Rule.
And while Colorado is Bieniemy’s school, it’s easy to see why he’d see an NFL job as more enticing than going back to Boulder. Colorado has been a middling Power Five program over the past 20 years. The Buffaloes have won 10 games just twice since the year 2000. Bieniemy played for Colorado from 1987-1990. The Buffaloes won 11 games in each of his final two seasons with the team.
Where does Colorado go from here?
Colorado is in an awkward spot as the only top-level college football team looking for a head coach at this late stage of the game. Tucker’s recruiting class is signed with the school and waiting to see who the team’s next coach will be. Spring football practices are around the corner.
It’s not an enviable position for athletic director Rick George. But Mark Dantonio’s resignation right before signing day left Michigan State in an odd spot. And the Spartans’ coaching search — and willingness to pay top dollar for a coach — then directly affected Colorado when the school zeroed in on Tucker.
Calhoun could be the wild card in Colorado’s search. The Air Force coach knows the Colorado landscape well and has been extremely successful in Colorado Springs. He wouldn’t be a splashy hire by any means. But he could also be the guy best positioned to make Colorado a perennial bowl team and also stay for a while.
– – – – – – –
Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.