Spring 2021 Magazine

Colorado State football coach Mike Bobo 'got closer with the Lord' during health challenges

The pain started during last year’s Mountain West Football Media Summit. At first, Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo thought he’d walked too much on his replaced knee. When it didn’t go away, he knew something was wrong.

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Bobo ended up spending 10 days in the hospital and was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy, a condition where nerves carrying messages between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body are damaged. But despite the immense pain he was still in, Bobo coached the team in its first game of the 2018 season days after getting released from the hospital. Two weeks later, Colorado State scored 25 unanswered points to upset Arkansas.

On Monday night, the Colorado State athletic department posted a story about the challenges Bobo faced last season. In the video, Bobo discusses how his relationship with Christ was strengthened by everything that happened.

“I got closer with the Lord and read a lot of James, and in James it says through trials and tribulations comes more opportunity,” he said. “It was an opportunity for me to show how to fight through.”

After playing for his dad at Thomasville High School in Thomasville, Ga., Bobo attended the University of Georgia. Following four seasons and more than 6,300 passing yards, he stayed on as a graduate assistant and served as the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks coach from 2001-2006, when he was promoted to offensive coordinator.

Bobo, who left Georgia in 2014 to take the CSU job, was determined to use his situation as a teaching tool for his team. He wanted to demonstrate what overcoming adversity looked like.

“We always talk to our players about being able to handle adversity,” Bobo said. “Well, here’s some real adversity. Even if I couldn’t walk the way I wanted to walk or coach the way I wanted to coach, I wanted to constantly fight and show toughness.”

Following three consecutive bowl games in his first three seasons as head coach, Bobo’s Rams took a dip in 2018. They 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.

“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.”

Colorado State gets its first chance to bounce back in the 2019 season-opener Aug. 30 against in-state rival Colorado.

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