Keeler: Jim Leavitt won’t be man to treatment CU Buffs soccer. But he is aware of what’s going to.


BOULDER — Jim Leavitt might or is probably not the appropriate man to repair CU Buffs soccer, circa 2022. But he’s obtained a darn good concept of what is going to.

“People that sit there and say it’s not a good job, they’re out of their minds,” Leavitt, the previous Buffs defensive coordinator informed me by telephone. “They actually are.

“It’s just gotta be the right situation. You’ve got to have somebody with real passion — not passion to be a ‘head coach,’ not a passion for money, but a passion for CU. A passion for Boulder, for the state of Colorado, for the history. It’s gotta be real.”

Even at 65, Leavitt’s love for the Buffs — and for Boulder — stays as actual because it will get. The defensive coordinator for CU’s 2016 Pac-12 South champions, this system’s solely non-pandemic profitable season since 2005, solely just lately bought his Boulder County house.

Currently on a soccer caesura — though he’ll be cheering on daughter Sofia in her 7-on-7 championship game Sunday — in Tampa, the veteran coach stays on good phrases with each CU legend Bill McCartney and Buffs athletic director Rick George.

“(CU) needs to hire a hell of a coach; Rick doesn’t want to get this wrong again,” Leavitt stated. “Rick’s a good man. I like Rick, I think he’s a very good athletic director. He and I, we probably have the same kind of fire. Rick wants to win big.”

Leavitt gained large as a head coach at South Florida, posting a 95-57 document from 1997-2009. But it’s been some time.

When you ask him about his curiosity within the Buffs’ present emptiness, Leavitt politely declines to touch upon specifics, different to say that he’s fielded some calls.

Oh, and that he was within the combine someplace at each CU and CSU in the course of the bonkers 2019-20 hiring cycle that produced Karl Dorrell and Steve Addazio in Boulder and Fort Collins, respectively. Instead, followers of the Buffs and Rams have been gifted two out-of-left-field hires that by no means even made it to Year 4.

“I mean, I tried,” Leavitt stated of CU. “I was really involved in trying to get it the last time, when they hired the guy they did (in Dorrell). It’s a great job. It’s a great opportunity for somebody, no doubt. I’m not saying I’m not involved (this time).”

Meanwhile, you possibly can’t assist however image this alternate timeline wherein Leavitt will get the CSU job after Mike Bobo, and what number of complaints to the Rams’ human assets employees would possibly’ve been spared. Never thoughts how a lot cash the varsity would possibly’ve saved.

“I interviewed at CSU; Urban Meyer called me,” Leavitt stated. “And I was involved there. I thought that would work.”

Leavitt’s defenses, by the best way? They nonetheless work. During his final two stints as an FBS coordinator, at SMU (2021) and Florida Atlantic (2020), respectively, his models allowed, per, 2.34 factors per drive in opposition to FBS opponents final season and simply 1.39 per drive in 2020.

His protection with the ’16 Buffs gave up simply 1.53 factors per drive to FBS foes and solely 21.7 factors per recreation general. That group was one among solely 14 CU defenses since 1982 — a span of 4 a long time — to give up fewer than 22 factors per recreation.

Those groups gained, on common, 9 video games per season. If you’re curious. A dedication to the run recreation and a dedication to protection could be a boring, archaic formulation within the pass-happy Pac-12. But it nonetheless works, too.

Leavitt may see it flourishing for CU, too, in no matter league the Buffs occur to name house in 2032. Or 2042.

“This CU job, it’s gotta be (that coach’s) life, it can’t be a ‘job,’” the previous Buffs assistant continued. “It’s gotta be their life. And that’s actually, actually essential.

“You actually have gotta recruit Colorado greater than they possibly have. And you’ve gotta go West. They went to Texas lots, which I perceive, (it’s an) eight-hour drive. You’re within the Pac-12 and I don’t know the way this convention (realignment) factor is gonna go.

“You gotta live those jobs. Just like (South Florida) … it becomes your entire life and you’ve gotta believe in it and you’ve gotta will it for it to happen. That’s why McCartney did a good job. He almost willed that program to a championship level. So (if) the right guy gets in, with the right passion, that’s the key.”


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