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Kiesau named as Colorado's new offensive coordinator

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Colorado coach Dan Hawkins wasted little time after the resignation of offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich by naming Eric Kiesau as his replacement.

Helfrich's departure isn't a surprise after he interviewed earlier this week with new Oregon coach Chip Kelly. He is expected to be in line for the Ducks' vacant offensive coordinator position, although the Colorado release did not mention he had accepted another job.

Kiesau, 36, joined Hawkins' staff during his first year at Colorado from California as receivers coach and passing game coordinator, and was named assistant head coach this past March.

"Eric is a highly regarded coach around the country," Hawkins said. "He has been pursued by other programs several times while he has been with us. Eric is a smart and organized coach who has the respect of our players. We are excited with the growth of the offense, and I am confident he will do an outstanding job leading the Buffs."

Kiesau becomes the second-youngest coordinator in Colorado history, topped only by Helfrich.

He enters his new job with an immediate obstacle.

The thumb injury sustained by quarterback Tyler Hansen in the Buffaloes' spring game last weekend will require surgery. And while Hansen is expected to recover sufficiently for the start of practice in August, the uncertainty likely won't allow Kiesau's to relax that much this summer.

Helfrich's move was triggered by at least two reasons.

First, he's an Oregon native and will be able to be closer to friends and family by joining Kelly's staff.

He's also in line for a multiyear contract with the Ducks, which wasn't possible with Colorado. The Colorado state legislature makes it almost impossible for Hawkins to get his assistants the multiyear deals that are the rule across the rest of the Big 12.

For Helfrich's long-term security, the move was a no-brainer.

But the Buffaloes are fortunate to have Kiesau ready to replace Helfrich so quickly.

"I'm very excited, this is something I've been preparing for my entire life," Kiesau said. "When I got the call when all this was shaking down, it's a natural progression to move in that direction, especially with what we're doing offensively.

"I'm honored that coach Hawkins and [Colorado athletic director] Mike Bohn endorsed and supported me being the next coordinator to lead the offense. I am looking forward to providing direction and guidance as we move forward and continue our journey here at Colorado."

It will mean that Hawkins is in the market for a new receivers coach. Look for him to start moving on filling the vacancy immediately.

Kiesau, 36, is extremely popular at CU, largely because he personally thrives on the teaching and developmental relationship with his players, working on the total person concept in academics, athletics and character. The 1996 graduate of Portland State University is the second-youngest offensive coordinator in Buff history, replacing the man who was younger by 13 months.