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Cabral Promoted to Associate Head Coach

Courtesy: David Plati, Associate AD/Sports Information
Release: February 07, 2008
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By CUBuffs.com
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DENVER University of Colorado head football coach Dan Hawkins had a special surprise announcement Thursday at the school’s annual luncheon here to discuss Wednesday’s recruiting class.


During the course of the program, Hawkins announced that he was promoting long-time CU assistant Brian Cabral to associate head coach.


               The announcement even stunned Cabral; very few people knew about it in advance, and Hawkins designed it to be a surprise for Cabral, who received a standing ovation from the more than 1,500 people present in the Adam’s Mark Hotel ballroom.


               “That was incredible, it totally took me by surprise,” Cabral said.  “I’ve never been as shocked about anything like that in my life.  I feel so fortunate... so blessed, and I am really honored.”


                Cabral, 51, is entering his 20th year coaching linebackers at Colorado, the 19th year as a full-time assistant. That’s the most in CU history in all sports.  He also coached the punt return unit on special teams for seven seasons, as the director of CU's summer football camps for 11 years as an interim head coach for a three-month period in the spring of 2004.


“Leadership in a word is influence,” Hawkins said.  “Brian Cabral has possibly had more influence over the success of Colorado football than anyone in our history.  His style, his grace, his soul radiates through our program.  I am proud to recognize Brian as the Associate Head Coach of Colorado football. 


“He is a person I look up to and confide in,” he continued.  “Brian’s mentorship of our entire team and staff is powerful.  He is a cornerstone in the proud history of Colorado football.”


Cabral has worked for four head coaches during his tenure, Bill McCartney, Rick Neuheisel, Gary Barnett and Hawkins.  For all seven seasons under Barnett, Cabral also served as assistant head coach.


               “I’ve been very fortunate to be at CU,” Cabral said.  Colorado gave me an opportunity to get an education, and really laid the foundation for who I was to become, in the NFL, in coaching, in life.  I owe a lot to Colorado.  It’s been both an honor and a privilege for me to coach here, and I get to live every Buffs’ dream by coaching these guys.  I feel like I represent every Buff that ever wore the uniform when I coach.  I’ve been the benefactor, and I am a very fortunate man being able to keep my family in one place and to have all my kids graduate from the same high school is incredible.


                “I need to thank Hawk,” he continued.  “In one sense, he’s brought a lot out of me.  He has a different style, and he’s celebrated my successes in everything I do and it’s given me confidence to get better as a coach, as a recruiter.  And I need to thank Coach Mac for helping me start my collegiate coaching career, he’s the one who brought me back to CU and gave me full responsibility of the linebackers as a grad assistant.  And to go even farther back, I have to thank (the late) Dan Stavely, he’s the coach who first got me to Colorado.”


Known as one of the top linebacker coaches in the nation, his students have included Matt Russell, the 1996 Butkus Award winner, and all-Big Eight performers Greg Biekert, Chad Brown and Ted Johnson, all of whom went on to stardom in the National Football League.  He also recruited Rashaan Salaam, the 1994 Heisman trophy winner, and Chris Naeole, a 1996 All-American.


He is a 1978 CU graduate, as he earned a B.S. degree in therapeutic recreation.  He lettered three seasons for the Buffs at linebacker from 1975 to 1977 under Coach Bill Mallory, as he was a captain and played a big role on CU's Big Eight champion team in 1976.  He led CU with 13 tackles (12 solo) in the 1977 Orange Bowl against Ohio State. 


He was a nine-year NFL veteran, as Atlanta drafted him in the fourth round in 1978. He played two seasons with Atlanta, one with Green Bay and six with Chicago. As the captain of the Bears' special teams, he was a member of Chicago's Super Bowl XX champion team in 1985. 


You could also call him an ambassador for his native Hawai’i, as he has worked youth camps in the state as well as all-Polynesian camps in the states.  He is a founding board member of the Polynesian Coaches Association, formed ahead of the 2007 season.


How well liked and respected is Cabral?  At the Northern Colorado recruiting luncheon in Windsor, when told about the Cabral promotion, the 100 or so in attendance broke out in applause.


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