BOULDER, Colo. -- It has been almost seven weeks since coach Mike MacIntyre left the thriving San Jose State football program to take the job at Colorado.

In the world of college football, change happens quickly. MacIntyre's wife has found the family a new home, son Jay already is playing basketball for his new high school and, with the arrival of Millie, their golden retriever, the move to Colorado will be complete.

MacIntyre had orchestrated the greatest season in modern San Jose State history last fall, but he left Dec. 10 as the Spartans were gearing up for their first bowl game in six years. MacIntyre said he was not looking to leave.

Former San Jose State football coach Mike MacIntyre interviewed on Friday, Jan. 25 at his new office at the University of Colorado, where he is the new
Former San Jose State football coach Mike MacIntyre interviewed on Friday, Jan. 25 at his new office at the University of Colorado, where he is the new football coach. ( Jeff Faraudo)

"I really loved it at San Jose State," he said this weekend in an interview at his football office on the Boulder campus. "But when you have success, things happen."

What happened for MacIntyre, 47, was the opportunity to coach at a Pac-12 Conference school with a national championship on its résumé, albeit coming off its worst season ever at 1-11. He also could not ignore a contract offer: $2 million per season for five years.

"Any business person, if you get a phone call and they say they want to quadruple your salary for multiyears, anybody would say, 'You better look at it,' " said MacIntyre, who earned about $465,000 in 2012 at SJSU.

"With college football, everybody puts so much passion and emotion into it."


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MacIntyre, who took the Spartans from a 1-12 record his first season in 2010 to a 10-2 regular-season mark last fall, had to put reason ahead of emotion.

Asked how he would respond to anyone suggesting he left only for the money, MacIntyre said: "They don't know me. People that truly know me know what my heart's about."

MacIntyre said athletic director Gene Bleymaier made "a decent effort" to keep him at SJSU.

Former San Jose State football coach Mike MacIntyre interviewed on Friday, Jan. 25 at the University of Colorado, where he is the new football coach.
Former San Jose State football coach Mike MacIntyre interviewed on Friday, Jan. 25 at the University of Colorado, where he is the new football coach. ( Jeff Faraudo)

He also confirmed he had discussions with Cal about the coaching job that eventually went to Western Athletic Conference rival Sonny Dykes of Louisiana Tech. The talks didn't go far.

"I was happy for Sonny. He's a good man, he's a good coach, he treats people right," said MacIntyre, noting that new Cal receivers coach Rob Likens is one of his closest friends. Colorado hosts Cal on Nov. 16 (and has a previously scheduled game vs. San Jose State in 2016).

There weren't as many inquiries from schools as rumors suggested, MacIntyre said, but Colorado -- despite its dismal 2012 season -- stood out.

The Buffs haven't had a winning season since 2005, and the move to the Pac-12 last season has exposed their need for speed. CU also is generally considered to have among the worst athletic facilities in the Pac-12.

What MacIntyre saw reminded him of SJSU -- a job he said he was universally advised against taking. He sensed a hunger to return to CU's glory days, when from 1989-2001 the Buffs won at least 10 games six times, including a national title in 1990.

"There's a lot of people here who want to be successful," he said. "I felt it was the same way when I went to San Jose State. I walked in there believing we were going to do it, and I believe everybody caught that vision."

The postscript to his three seasons was the Spartans' 29-20 win over Bowling Green at the Military Bowl on Dec. 27 in Washington, D.C. -- their 11th win of the season. MacIntyre watched the game on TV with his family from the den of their San Jose home in what he called a "surreal, gut-wrenching" day.

"When we won that game," he said, "there wasn't a dry eye in our house. It was kind of a culmination for us, but we weren't there."

CU athletic director Mike Bohn believes the man he hired will build a winner and inspire donors to fund facilities improvements. In the interview process, Bohn said he was struck by MacIntyre's clear message and unpretentious confidence.

"He has a warm, user-friendly, attractive appeal," Bohn said. "He's real."

Recruiting has been MacIntyre's focus. The Buffs got a commitment from Ryan Severson, a running back from Valley Christian-San Jose, who previously planned to attend SJSU, and Colorado is among the schools in pursuit of cornerback Chidobe Awuzie of Oak Grove-San Jose.

Although he is an obvious example of how state schools such as SJSU will be financially challenged to keep a hot coach, MacIntyre said what was accomplished the past three seasons proves the Spartans can win.

Even moving into the tougher Mountain West Conference next season, MacIntyre believes the combination of the Silicon Valley, weather and access to talent makes SJSU the best destination in the league.

"I definitely think it's sustainable because there are enough good players in the state of California," he said. "If they just keep moving forward and don't relax, I think they can be very, very good, year in and year out."

Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.