Following three consecutive bowl games in his first three seasons as head coach at Colorado State, Mike Bobo’s squad took a dip in 2018. The Rams lost four of their first five games, and closed the year on a five-game losing streak to finish 3-9, the program’s worst record since 2011.
Because of that poor performance, Coach Bobo declined the $100,000 raise written into the contract extension he signed at the end of 2017. According to ESPN, he signed an amended contract last week to keep his salary at $1.8 million.
“This is an administration that stood behind me, and I felt like we didn’t live up to our end of the deal,” Bobo told ESPN. “I wanted to make a statement to our players that we’re in this together and you’ve got be accountable, starting with me.”
CSU athletic director Joe Parker was surprised — but impressed.
“That’s not typical. That doesn’t usually happen,” Parker told the Loveland (Colorado) Reporter-Herald. “Again, that just makes me realize we have a pretty special person who recognizes his own personal accountability and doesn’t feel good about what occurred this season, and is pointing all of his efforts into 2019.”
Bobo could have used his health as an excuse to the poor start to the season. He was hospitalized in August and missed almost two weeks of preseason camp due to peripheral neuropathy. The condition caused numbness in his feet, which made it difficult to walk on the sidelines.
— Coach Mike Bobo (@CoachMikeBobo) September 13, 2018
But Bobo’s not into making excuses.
“I told [Parker] it was something I wanted to do. It’s how I was raised. I didn’t need to think about it. It’s what I wanted to do,” Bobo told ESPN.
The highlight of CSU’s season was its 34-27 upset of Arkansas on Sept. 8, when the Rams erased an 18-point second-half deficit. It marked the first time CSU has defeated an SEC football team at home.
“First of all, I want to give thanks to God,” Bobo said after the win. “[There have been some] trying times, and He humbles you and I just want to give thanks to God. Second, I’m so proud of this football team, for the fight that they showed tonight. I told them, after the game, ‘I wouldn’t want to win it any other way. Your back’s against the wall, things aren’t going great, but (you) continue to fight and continue to believe.'”
Despite the disappointing 2018 season, Bobo knows Colorado State is where he’s supposed to be. Bobo left the SEC to move west — he was on the staff at Georgia for 14 seasons before taking the CSU job. And it wasn’t about the money back then either.
“When Mike came back from his first interview (with CSU) he was very impressed with everyone,” said Bobo’s wife, Lainie. “He was very excited, and that got me really excited about this job. It really felt like God was opening doors to us and leading us down this path.”
Coach Bobo made an immediate impact on his players, who saw that he lives for Jesus.
“That moment when he first walked in, first gave his first speech, I knew what kind of guy he was,” former CSU running back Jasen Oden said after Bobo’s first season. “He talked about Christ a lot and belief and faith and ever since that, he had my trust. I haven’t really seen that from too many coaches before.”
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