BOULDER — University of Colorado football head coach Dan Hawkins has reorganized his staff with the departure of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mark Helfrich to the University of Oregon.
Hawkins is promoting Eric Kiesau to offensive coordinator, and he will also assume coaching the quarterbacks. Kiesau joined Hawkins’ staff his first year in Boulder from the University of California as receivers coach and passing game coordinator, and was just named assistant head coach this past March.
“Eric is a highly regarded coach around the country,” Hawkins said. “He has been pursued by other programs several times while he has been with us. Eric is a smart and organized coach who has the respect of our players. We are excited with the growth of the offense, and I am confident he will do an outstanding job leading the Buffs.”
Kiesau, 36, is extremely popular at CU, largely because he personally thrives on the teaching and developmental relationship with his players, working on the total person concept in academics, athletics and character. The 1996 graduate of Portland State University is the second youngest offensive coordinator in Buff history, replacing the man who was younger by 13 months.
“I am very excited, this is something I’ve been preparing for my entire life,” Kiesau said. “When I got the call when all this was shaking down, it’s a natural progression to move in that direction, especially with what we’re doing offensively. I’m honored that Coach Hawkins and (athletic director) Mike Bohn endorsed and supported me being the next coordinator to lead the offense. I am looking forward to providing direction and guidance as we move forward and continue our journey here at CU.”
Hawkins has a plan in the works to name a new receivers coach as soon as possible.
Helfrich was announced Thursday afternoon as the Ducks’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under their new head coach Chip Kelly, who replaced long-time UO head coach Mike Bellotti earlier this spring. Oregon completes its spring practices this Saturday, having gone through the sessions without an offensive coordinator in name, though Kelly held the position the two last years. Bellotti, who is assuming Oregon’s athletic director duties on July 1, coached UO quarterbacks this spring.
“Mark is a great friend and a great coach,” Hawkins said. “We thank him for his hard work in helping build CU football. Mark is an Oregon native and returning to his home state and be near family is a great opportunity for him and we wish him and his family well.”
Helfrich, 35, was also an original member of Hawkins’ staff at Colorado, as he joined the Buffs from Arizona State where he played a significant role in the Sun Devils’ dynamic aerial attack.
It's now official, Matt Russell, the former All-American linebacker and 1996 Butkus Award winner for the Buffaloes, has been named be named the director of college scouting for the Denver Broncos. After his playing days were over, which were cut short by knee injuries, he got into scouting with New England and then philadelphia, where he spent the last three years. He will be responsible for leading the Broncos' college scouting efforts and will oversee the club's regional scouts ... Colorado’s other Butkus Award winner, Alfred Williams, did not make the final 15 for induction into this year’s College Football Hall-of-Fame, as the class was announced Thursday morning. National Football Foundation officials said he received a good amount of support, but other linebackers who have been on the ballot longer went in ahead of him.