FORT COLLINS — Colorado State University President Tony Frank today announced the appointment of Mike Bobo to be head coach of the Rams’ football program.
Bobo will be the 22nd head coach in the history of the program, and comes to Fort Collins after spending the past 14 seasons at Georgia, including the last eight as offensive coordinator.
A press conference to introduce Bobo is taking place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 23, in Bob Davis Hall, on the south side of the Moby Arena concourse. Streaming and archived video of the press conference is available at www.CSURams.com/videos.
“Mike Bobo brings a great legacy of success on the football field and is strongly committed to the overall success of student-athletes, personally, academically and athletically,” Frank said. “In Coach Bobo we’ve found someone who knows the game and has been successful at a very high level, who can build on the great foundation that our players have established these past few years, and who wants to be at Colorado State University. We think he’ll be a great fit with the Rams and are tremendously excited about what this means for our team and our program.”
The Rams completed the 2014 season on Saturday with a record of 10-3, earning double-digit wins for just the fifth time in school history, and played in a bowl game in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2002-03.
"We are incredibly excited to bring Mike Bobo to Colorado State to lead our football program," interim director of athletics John Morris said. "He was extremely impressive throughout the entire interview process, and is one of the leading offensive minds in the country. In Coach Bobo we have found a coach who is committed to academics and the development of young men, and I’m proud to welcome him and his family to the Ram Family."
“I cannot be more excited to have the opportunity to lead the Colorado State football team into the future,” Bobo said. “It’s a special opportunity for my family and me, and we cannot wait to get started.”
Bobo’s 14-year stint at Georgia, where he played collegiately, began in January 2001, when head coach Mark Richt hired him as quarterbacks coach, returning to his alma mater where he was a star player and previously worked as a graduate assistant. Bobo was promoted by Richt to offensive coordinator in 2007.
During his time at UGA, Bobo helped lead the Bulldogs to 135 victories, including two Southeastern Conference championships, five SEC Eastern Division titles and eight bowl victories.
In 2014 Bobo led a Bulldogs offense that averaged 41.7 points per game, which ranked eighth nationally, and racked up 454.9 yards of total offense per game. Against teams currently ranked in the Top 25, UGA compiled a 3-2 record while scoring 34.4 points per game.
Additionally, the Bulldogs’ offense ranked in the top 15 nationally in rushing offense (255.0; 12th FBS), team passing efficiency (157.86; 9th FBS), scoring offense (41.7; 8th FBS) and fourth-down conversion percentage (85.7%; 1st FBS).
Bobo guided several talented quarterbacks at Georgia, including Aaron Murray, who played from 2010-13. Murray, who was chosen in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, set more than 25 UGA records and four SEC marks. He became the first player in SEC history to have at least 3,000 passing yards in four consecutive seasons.
The NFL’s No. 1 draft choice in 2009, Matthew Stafford, also blossomed under Bobo’s tutelage. The Detroit Lions’ starting quarterback was second-team All-SEC and earned All-America recognition in 2008 for Georgia and was MVP of the 2009 Capital One Bowl.
In Bobo’s time at Georgia he also mentored quarterback David Greene (2001-04), who was the winningest quarterback in NCAA Division I history at the time (42), wide receiver A.J. Green, running back Todd Gurley and many others.
Prior to joining Richt’s staff in Georgia, Bobo served one year as an assistant coach at Jacksonville State, after working as an administrative assistant and graduate assistant from 1998-99 at UGA.
Bobo was a quarterback for the Bulldogs from 1994-97, earning four letters, and led the team in passing in 1996 and ’97. Among all UGA quarterbacks, Bobo ranks first in single-season completion percentage (65% in ’97), single-season passing efficiency rating (155.8 in ’97), second in career touchdown passes (38) and third in career pass completions (445), season passing yards (2,751 in ’97), career passing yards (6,334) and single-season touchdown passes (19).
Bobo and his wife, Lainie, have five children, a son Drew (10), triplets – Olivia, Jake and Ava Grace (8), and Kate (6).
The 40-year-old Bobo takes over a program that has been victorious in 16 of its past 21 games, dating back to the 2013 season, and the Rams’ 18 wins over the 2013-14 seasons represent their best two-year stretch since 1999-2000 (also 18). Additional momentum around the program centers on the Dec. 5 decision by Frank and the CSU System Board of Governors to move ahead with plans to build a new on-campus football stadium to open in 2017.
The Colorado State roster features a solid base of returning talent, including consensus All-America wide receiver and Biletnikoff Award finalist Rashard Higgins. As sophomore in 2014 Higgins was named first-team All-America by the Associated Press, Walter Camp Foundation and the FWAA, setting school records with 96 receptions for 1,750 yards (18.2) and a nation-leading 17 touchdowns.
Tight end Steven Walker (first team) and running back Dee Hart (second team) join Higgins as returning All-Mountain West performers, along with six more Rams who earned honorable mention All-MW in 2014: linebacker Cory James, defensive end Joe Kawulok, safeties Trent Matthews and Kevin Pierre-Louis, punter Hayden Hunt and offensive lineman Fred Zerblis.
Recent strong recruiting classes and student-athlete retention not only provide talent and depth, but leave Colorado State with very few available scholarships to offer on 2015 signing day. The program announced last week two mid-year signees: tight end Mitch Parsons from Parker, Colo., who transfers from Vanderbilt, and offensive lineman Colby Meeks, who is graduating early from Orlando’s Dr. Phillips High School to enroll at Colorado State in January 2015.
Colorado State’s 2015 schedule begins with back-to-back home games at Hughes Stadium, including a Sept. 12 visit from Big Ten member Minnesota, whose 8-4 record landed the Golden Gophers an invitation to the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl vs. Missouri. Week Three brings the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown vs. Colorado at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, allowing the Rams to open the season with three games in the state of Colorado. Dates and times for the Mountain West schedule will be announced in the spring, but CSU is slated to play host to Air Force, Boise State, San Diego State and UNLV, and will travel to Fresno State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming.
Bobo replaces Jim McElwain, who was hired Dec. 4 as head coach at the University of Florida after coaching Colorado State to a 22-16 record from 2012-14.