Colorado State fires Steve Addazio after 2 bumpy seasons

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Colorado State fired fiery coach Steve Addazio after a tumultuous two seasons that included an ejection in what would prove to be his final game for the Rams.

The decision came on the day Addazio’s buyout dropped from $5 million to $3 million.

Rams director of athletics Joe Parker said a national search firm will be brought in to assist in the hiring of the next head coach. In the meantime, senior associate head coach Brian White will serve as the interim coach.

Addazio wrapped up his time in Fort Collins with a 4-12 record. His tenure got off to a rocky start last year when the university opened an investigation into the program’s handling of COVID-19 cases, which uncovered allegations of racism and verbal abuse toward athletes.

His time drew to a close Saturday with Addazio leaving the sideline before halftime after receiving a second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Rams lost 52-10 to Nevada in front of an announced crowd of 17,465 at Canvas Stadium, which only dwindled as the game got out of hand.

“The decision we have made today is not one we take lightly,” Parker said in a statement. “After a thorough review of where our program stands today and our outlook for the future, looking at the totality of factors, I felt this was a necessary step.”

Addazio signed a five-year deal with Colorado State in December 2019 as he took over for Mike Bobo. The 62-year-old Addazio couldn’t restore the program to the level it reached just a few seasons ago under Jim McElwain, who was the 2014 Mountain West coach of the year. Colorado State has turned in four straight losing seasons.

Colorado State could be looking at a candidate such as Tony Alford, the Ohio State assistant head coach for offense/running backs. A 1992 graduate of Colorado State, Alford has never been a head coach but has learned the ropes the last few seasons at Ohio State under Ryan Day and Urban Meyer.

Another coach who might be targeted is North Dakota State’s Matt Entz, whose second-seeded Bison (10-1) host Southern Illinois in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Addazio wasn’t out of work long when the Rams brought him on board. Fired by Boston College on Dec. 1, 2019, he was hired about two weeks later. At the time, Parker said of Addazio’s arrival: “We look forward to Coach Addazio leading our football team as we strive to be the preeminent program in the Mountain West.”

It never panned out.

The Rams went 1-3 in a virus-shortened campaign in 2020 and followed that up with a 3-9 mark this season. Colorado State lost to FCS South Dakota State in the season opener but climbed back to 3-3 before dropping six straight to end the year. Addazio said after the season finale the Rams were “that close,” holding his index finger and thumb close together.

“We’ve got work to do. But didn’t we know that?” Addazio said. “When I came in here there was a lot of work to be done. A lot, not a little. Maybe everybody doesn’t quite understand that. A lot. We’re in the process of doing that work.”

In August 2020, the Rams paused all football activities after an investigation started by the president of the university into the program’s handling of COVID-19 cases uncovered allegations of racism and verbal abuse toward athletes.

Several Colorado State football players released a shared statement on social media to support Addazio and dispute accusations against the program. The players addressed several issues, including the allegations of racism and verbal abuse that they said were “patently untrue.” Their statement added, “our experience since Coach Addazio’s first day has been positive, welcoming and focused on our development as student athletes.”

Before his stop at Colorado State, Addazio coached at Temple (2011-12) and Boston College (2013-19).

Addazio also won two BCS national titles while serving as the offensive coordinator under Meyer at Florida. Meyer has close ties with the Colorado State program – he was a receivers coach for the Rams in the ’90s – and was seen around Parker during the hiring process for Addazio.

Coles kicks 4 FGs as Utah St. holds off Colorado St. 26-24

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LOGAN, Utah- Connor Coles kicked a career-best four field goals, including a 34-yarder to give Utah State a two-score lead with five minutes left, and the Aggies held off Colorado State 26-24 on Friday night.

Coles was a perfect four-for-four on the night with kicks of 45. 30. 42 and 34 yards, his last giving the Aggies (5-2, 3-1 Mountain West) a 26-17 lead.

Colorado State’s Todd Centeio, who passed for 282 yards, needed 81 seconds to tear 73 yards downfield and answer with a 13-yard pass to Gary Williams that shaved the Utah State lead to two points. Centeio and the Rams (3-4, 2-1) nearly pulled off a stunner, taking a final possession 61 yards in 44 seconds only to have a 42-yard field goal attempt sail wide.

Utah State started hot with Luke Bonner, 233 yards passing, hooking up with Derek Wright on a pair of touchdown strikes, including an over-the-shoulder catch for a 38-yard touchdown. Deven Thompkins made six catches for 104 yards – his seventh 100-yard game.

Bonner endured eight sacks – a season high for the Colorado State defense – for a loss of 52 yards, had four passes broken up and was intercepted once.

The swarming Rams also made 13 tackles for loss. Between the sacks and the tackles behind the line, Colorado State forced 113 yards in losses on Utah State.

David Bailey ran for a pair of short touchdowns for Colorado State, and gained 159 yards on 30 carries. The yardage is his career-best with the Rams, though he has a 181-yard game while at Boston College.

Six games added to Rocky Mountain Showdown series

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BOULDER, Colo. — Colorado and Colorado State have agreed to play each other six more times in the Rocky Mountain Showdown rivalry, all of them on campus.

The agreement means the rivals 45 miles apart will play eight times in the next 18 years.

The series, which is on hiatus for the next two years, resumes in 2023 in Boulder, followed in 2024 by the Buffaloes’ first visit to Fort Collins since 1996.

Last year’s game in Fort Collins was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new deal adds games at CU’s Folsom Field in 2030, 2033 and 2037 and games at CSU’s Canvas Stadium in 2029, 2034 and 2038.

Colorado leads the all-time series 67-22-2, including 13-6 in Denver, where 19 of the last 22 games have been played.

“This has been a great series for the state, and we wanted to be sure we had games locked in moving forward,” Colorado athletic director Rick George said. “The two-on, two-off format we’ve adopted provides both schools some flexibility to schedule other nonconference opponents in other parts of the country, which play a role in several factors, including alumni engagement and recruiting.”

CSU athletic director Joe Parker said, “It was also essential to get the Showdown back on campus. College football is best enjoyed in on-campus venues, and I’m thrilled we were able to get that done for fans of both teams for the foreseeable future.”