Colorado fired football coach Karl Dorrell on Sunday in the wake of the Buffaloes’ 0-5 start to the 2022 season, the university announced.
The school also dismissed defensive coordinator Chris Wilson.
“I want everybody to know that I have a ton of respect for Coach Dorrell and the way he led our football program with integrity,” Colorado director of athletics Rick George said. “He helped us navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and did so with a lot of class. He made our young men better off the field, both in the classroom and in the community. He led our program to the highest GPA in our history, and his team was involved in a lot of different community activities.
“However, the on-the-field performance fell well short of our expectations,” George added. “I know that starts with me. I hired Karl and it didn’t work out the way any of us wanted it to. There’s no excuses, and I own my part in where we are today.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford will serve as interim coach, the school announced. Sanford is the former head coach at Western Kentucky, where he went 9-16 in two seasons (2017-18).
Defensive line coach Gerald Chatman was named the interim defensive coordinator.
“We will do what is needed to get a winning football team back on this field,” George said. “This place can be and will be a football powerhouse. We have the facilities. We have the location. We have the programs. We have everything that we need to be successful on the football field.”
Dorrell will receive approximately $8.7 million in a buyout, the school said.
Colorado’s latest loss was a 43-20 defeat to Arizona on Saturday. The 23-point loss was the closest game Colorado has played this season. TCU trounced Colorado 38-13 in the opener, and the Buffaloes haven’t really been competitive in any games.
The Buffaloes are idle this week before hosting California. They have seven games left, and Sanford said the goal is to get an eighth game — a bowl berth.
“We have not been eliminated from any postseason to this point, and it all starts with having a fantastic bye week,” Sanford said. “These players haven’t quit. They have shown nothing but fight.
“This is a fresh start.”
Dorrell was in his third season at Colorado. He went 4-8 last year after a solid debut (3-1) during the COVID-19 season of 2020. Colorado suffered significant losses before this season to the transfer portal.
Dorrell finished his time in Boulder with an 8-15 record in 23 games.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.