The Fairchild era is over. Or more like the end of a short stint.
After four years, 16 wins and 33 losses, one of CSUâ€™s most disliked people met his end Sunday, and it couldnâ€™t have come quickly enough.
Much like the toppling of the Emperorâ€™s statue in Return of the Jedi, Fairchildâ€™s demise was met with cheers of joy â€” just short of fireworks though.
New CSU Director of Athletics Jack Graham made his first tough decision on the job just three days after being hired on Dec. 1.
A monumental challenge lays ahead for Graham: finding the next man to take the reigns of CSU football. Itâ€™s a decision that ties into his fate much like former athletic director Paul Kowalczyk when he hired Fairchild in the first place.
Graham has a grand vision of where he wants to take CSU football and the whole athletic department. In order to see his vision become a reality he needs to find the right man. A man that matches the description of a perfect fit in his mind.
â€œI want a leader. I want a head football coach who has the ability to communicate very clearly and effectively with his coaching staff and with his playersâ€¦with our fan base,â€ Graham said. â€œI want someone who will generate passion and enthusiasm not only with our football team, but with our fan base as well.â€
Knowing what you want and obtaining it are two very different things.
People have speculated that Urban Meyer would come back before he took the job at Ohio State or even offensive guru Mike Leach (also no longer available). Do me a favor right now and stop. CSU has a zero percent chance of landing someone like them.
CSU, as of now, doesnâ€™t have a lot of appeal to established coaches. Facilities are improving, but not to the level of similar schools in bigger conferences. Itâ€™s been a decade since the Rams were relevant nationally, and the fans have been about as loyal as LeBron James.
CSU will have to go the more obscure route and find a smaller schoolâ€™s head coach who would be happy to lead a Division I program, or best case scenario an established coordinator looking to try his hand as head coach.
Thatâ€™s not to say this person wonâ€™t be qualified or even be a great hire. After all, Meyer started out at Bowling Green before going to Utah and Florida. Point is, a name doesnâ€™t win football games. Fairchild proved that.
However, there are good things about CSU that will attract talented, yet undiscovered, coaches. We are one of only 17 Division I schools that have never committed a major NCAA infraction. CSU is located in a nice, safe town to raise a family with a community, if given the chance that might come out and support the team.
From a player standpoint Fairchild left behind a group of young, talented players capable of winning. Sophomore running back Chris Nwoke became the first player since Gartrell Johnson to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season and linebacker Shaquil Barrett flashed potential for an NFL career.
I hope Graham finds the man heâ€™s looking for because this program has a bright future if managed correctly.
â€œI do have an expectation that almost instantly everything’s going to get better on the football team,â€ Graham said. â€œWeâ€™re going to play faster, weâ€™re going to have faster players. Weâ€™re going to hit with phenomenal intensity.â€
Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.