SAN JOSE -- Mike MacIntyre turned around the San Jose State football program. Now he'll attempt to do the same at Colorado.
MacIntyre accepted a five-year, $10 million contact to become the new coach of the Buffaloes on Monday, more than quadrupling his SJSU salary. He replaces Jon Embree, who was fired after going 1-11 in his second season.
San Jose State did not issue a specific time frame for hiring a new coach, but athletic director Gene Bleymaier said in a statement, "We will work to find a new coach as quickly as possible. We will look for the best person who can pick up where Coach MacIntyre left off."
Bleymaier said in his statement there had been several weeks of ongoing talks in an attempt to keep MacIntyre at SJSU. Sources had indicated the school was hoping to raise money to renegotiate a contract that paid MacIntyre about $465,000 this year, but there was no way SJSU could compete with the money Colorado had to offer.
The news wasn't easy for San Jose State players to digest, with many not accepting it as reality until watching MacIntyre's introductory news conference at Colorado on television.
"It's hard when you see a guy you admired and respected and you worked hard for put on another school's colors and go out there and have a press conference like that," senior offensive lineman David Quessenberry said. "You kind of feel like you just got broken up with. I'm happy for him. He's pursuing his dreams. Colorado's got a great guy, a good coach and a good recruiter. He's going to be able to accomplish there what he did here."
Bleymaier also said he plans to announce in the next 24-48 hours who will coach the Spartans in the Military Bowl against Bowling Green on Dec. 27. MacIntyre said during his news conference that it has not been discussed yet if he would be involved, but it seems unlikely.
"My heart is at the bowl game, but my mind and body are here working," MacIntyre said.
Defensive coordinator Kent Baer seems a logical choice. He has been with SJSU since 2008 and served a similar role as Notre Dame's interim head coach for the 2004 Insight Bowl after Tyrone Willingham was fired.
"I think they'll do fine without me," MacIntyre said. "They are prepared. They had a great season. A lot of my staff will have to stay there, of course, to do it, and I think they'll be extremely successful and get their 11th win."
MacIntyre takes over a Colorado program in similar shambles to the one he inherited at SJSU when he was hired in December 2009. The Buffaloes might have been the worst program in a BCS conference last season. Their only win came against Washington State, and they lost to Sacramento State, a Football Championship Subdivision school.
The Spartans were among the worst of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs in MacIntyre's first season, when they went 1-12. He helped lead a turnaround that has SJSU at 10-2, ranked No. 24 in the BCS standings and both national polls and set to play in its first bowl game since 2006. The program also excelled academically, as evidenced by its rise in its Academic Progress Rate score.
"I just left a program of young men who cared deeply," MacIntyre said. "Who went from 120th in the nation to 24th in every poll in two and a half years. Raised their APR from 930 to 981 and committed to being successful."
MacIntyre said during his news conference that he hopes to bring several of his current assistants with him, specifically mentioning defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat. He first plans to interview all of Colorado's assistants, and also speak with SJSU's coaches.
The Spartans are scheduled to have a conditioning workout Tuesday and resume bowl preparation with their first full contact practice Thursday. With a victory in the bowl game, SJSU could set a school record for wins as a major college football program.
"The most important thing that's in front of us right now is coming together and winning the bowl game and being best team in San Jose State history," Quessenberry said.