Barnett Not Worried About Contract
With only two years left on his contract and no extension in sight, Colorado coach Gary Barnett says "frankly, I can't be in a position where that's an issue to me right now."
Barnett's seventh season at Colorado starts Saturday when the Buffaloes play Colorado State.
The coach, who kept his job in the wake of Colorado's recruiting scandal even though the president, chancellor and athletic director all left, said Tuesday he has not had any substantive contract discussions with new AD Mike Bohn, who was hired in April.
"I can't afford that distraction and I'm not going to let myself have it," said Barnett, who earns $1.6 million a year. "We're going out and preparing our team to have the best season we can have."
Bohn said he is happy with the work Barnett and his staff have done, but reworking the contract is not his top priority.
"His focus has been on the football team," Bohn said. "My focus has been to support the team with everything we're trying to do" in fundraising and ticket sales.
As almost everyone in college football knows, coaches with fewer than four years remaining on their contracts are often at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting.
Players want to know a coach is going to be at the school they commit to and coaches for competing programs often hold up another coach's questionable job status as a reason not to commit to that school.
"Frankly, if you've been in this business long enough, you sort of know," Barnett said. "Everyone knows where we are in this situation. I don't have to provide further education in that deal, and Mike has stated publicly where he is. So, you go about doing your stuff and that's all there is to it."
Asked about the recruiting issue, Bohn replied, "I've enjoyed having the opportunity to visit with different recruits and help support Gary and his staff. I couldn't be happier with Gary and his staff. We're looking forward to a great year."
Barnett is 42-33 at Colorado, over six seasons that includes three trips to the Big 12 title game. Last year, he was named the Associated Press Big 12 coach of the year for leading the Buffs to the championship game after starting 1-4 in the conference.
The coach said he doesn't feel any more pressure to produce this season in the wake of the nonexistent contract talks.
"That kind of pressure can't drive you as a coach," Barnett said. "You'll make bad decisions, do things the wrong way. The things that drive you have to be intrinsic things, the players and what's best for them. That's what drives you. You can't get caught up in all the other stuff."