Jim Leavitt just de-committed from the Colorado Buffaloes and transferred to the Oregon Ducks, and now he has to sit out out year per NCAA regulations … OH WAIT, never mind, he’s not a student athlete! He’s a paid coach and he can do whatever he pleases.

Jim Leavitt, the now former defensive coordinator for the Colorado Buffaloes, is the new defensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks.

Huge loss for the Buffs who are now going to be roaming around the coaching field looking to replace arguably the Pac-12’s best defensive mind. Losing Leavitt is a problem, for sure, but he was a luxury to have. This day was coming, and CU fans knew it.

Jim Leavitt is a hell of a coach, plain and simple. Leavitt can get the job done and has been doing it for awhile now. Without getting too much into his past, what people need to know is that Leavitt was a bull of a coach at South Florida, coached linebackers for Jim Harbaugh with the 49ers and then accepted a role on Mike McIntyre’s staff as DC in 2015.

The Buffs were 6-18 before Leavitt, 14-9 after. Before Leavitt, the Buffaloes allowed 38.6 points per game; after he came to Colorado, they only gave up 21.6. Leavitt’s defense in 2016 only gave up 4.69 yards per play and 31 touchdowns. In comparison, Clemson, Florida and LSU’s opponents averaged 4.6 yards per play, and the team Colorado is facing in the Alamo Bowl, the Oklahoma State Cowboys, gave up 6.0 yards per play. Colorado was stout in 2016, and Leavitt was a big part of it.

Here is a stat that shows just how rough it was for Coach Mike MacIntyre and the Buffs before Leavitt: In 2014, the Buffaloes ranked 115th in the country in touchdowns by opponents per game with 4.7; In 2013, they were even worse, with the 116th ranking, allowing an average of 5.1.

You flat out cannot win that way. Before Leavitt, it was tough sledding.

The turnaround was not all on one man, though. As they say, its not the Xs and Os, but the Jimmys and Chidobes (or something like that). But getting those players is part of this loss as well. Coach Leavitt played a major role in bringing in some of that newfound Buff talent. Jim Leavitt can coach, but he can also recruit. Leavitt, with his experience as a coach at South Florida and with his NFL background and Harbaugh connection, knows who he wants and how to get them. Problem is, the Oregon Ducks knew who they wanted, too, and they got him.

And herein lies the hurt and the sting for players and fans alike.

Buff fans knew Leavitt was going to be a head coach someday, somewhere. What Buffs fans and players didn’t know was that he would leave Colorado for a LATERAL MOVE to a CONFERENCE RIVAL. OUCH. So why the move?

I won’t speculate why Leavitt saw fit to take the same job in another state, but what I will say is he had his reasons. Leavitt has a connection with new Oregon Ducks head coach Willie Taggart, who also coached at South Florida, and coached running backs for Harbaugh at Stanford. In simpler terms, they know each other.

Also MONEY TALKS. Leavitt at Colorado was making roughly $512,000 per year. It is being reported now that Leavitt will become the highest paid coordinator EVER in the Pac-12, putting his number north of $760,000. (How far north is still being determined.) In comparison, high-profile coach Lane Kiffin, before he left to head Florida Atlantic, was reported to be making $1.4 million per year as Alabama’s offensive coordinator.


I can’t blame Leavitt for taking more money, and I can’t blame him for wanting to work with someone he sees as a good partner and boss. In all honesty, I would probably do the same in my career. However, while I don’t blame him, simultaneously, I can feel sorry for the players on that Buffs defense, who are defenseless against the machine that is the business side of college athletics. I can feel sorry for 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds who lost their coach and who possibly lost a big reason why they came to Colorado. I can feel sorry for them, because while they chose him, he gets to choose the money.