When Bill McCartney was carried off the field by his players in Tempe, back in January, 1995, it brought down the curtain on the winningest coaching career in CU football history. Quite an accomplishment by itself, but even more amazing when you consider the state of the program when McCartney arrived in Boulder.
Success did not race up and embrace Coach Mac. The first three years of his tenure brought a meager 7 wins, capped by a 1-10 season in 1984. From 1985 until his departure, the Buffs would never taste a losing season.
Bill McCartney brought many attributes to his post. He was a brilliant recruiter, who brought a new level of talent to the university. He was also a master motivator, a man who could exact the most from his players. More than anything, though, Bill McCartney brought an unbridled passion with him to his job every single day.
His first target was Nebraska. McCartney made it clear that the Cornhuskers were the team by which his Buffaloes would be measured, and in 1986, the Buffs measured up. The 20-10 win at Folsom still resounds as one of the highest moments in CU history.
In 1990, the program would ascend even higher, winning the National Championship on the floor of the Orange Bowl. Bill McCartney had grabbed college football’s brass ring.
Over 13 years, Bill McCartney won 93 games, three Big 8 Championships, and a National Championship. That legacy takes its rightful place alongside the many other legends in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.
All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself.