Bill McCartney, 70, stumps for CU job

Former Colorado coach Bill McCartney says his time away from the game is the very reason he could help the Buffaloes win as their next coach.

McCartney, who retired in 1994 but is among Colorado's candidates to replace the fired Dan Hawkins, told The New York Times that he weighs the same as he did when he was hired as coach by the Buffaloes in 1982.

"I don't identify with the guys who have stayed in it, the Paternos, the Bowdens," McCartney, whose Colorado team was ranked No. 3 when he retired, told The Times. "In fairness to them, they stayed on that pace, and it's a strong current that you're in, because the workload never gets done."

"I'm going to be significantly younger than the typical 70-year-old," he added.

McCartney said his wife's health has played a role in his renewed interest.

"I got out because coaching is very demanding and I wanted to be a better husband and father," McCartney told The Times. "My wife, Lyndi, who has the most advanced case of emphysema, she went to the doctor recently and the doctor told her that she still had several years to live.

"We got home that day, and she said to me, 'I want you to go back to coaching.' Well, I always wanted to go back into coaching. That just pushed it back into the front burner."

Two of McCartney's former players are hot on the trail, too, to become Colorado's first coach as it transitions to the revamped Pac-12 Conference.

Eric Bieniemy, the Buffaloes' all-time leading rusher, and former tight end Jon Embree will talk to Colorado about the job this weekend, according to media reports.

Bieniemy is the Minnesota Vikings' running backs coach. Embree is the tight ends coach for the Washington Redskins.

"The hire will have to be someone who understands what's at stake here," Alfred Williams, the former All-American linebacker and captain of the 1990 national championship team, told The Times.

Williams now works as a radio talk-show host in Denver.

"It's not just a new head coach," Williams said. "It's also leading the university into a new conference and everything else. The way I look at it, it's going to be a Colorado man that does that, either Bill McCartney or Eric Bieniemy."