Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, who once as a star running back for the Colorado Buffaloes, will return to Boulder in the hopes of restoring the program to its past glory, however brief it may have been.
Bieniemy will serve as offensive coordinator at Colorado, according to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Bieniemy interviewed for the head-coaching position with the Buffaloes, but the job has gone to former Redskins tight ends coach Jon Embree.
Bieniemy played at Colorado for coach Bill McCartney, who at age 70 had made a pitch to return. McCartney, who is white, has claimed that Embree was hired because he is African-American.
At the very best, it’s a lateral move for Bieniemy, who ultimately would have been at the mercy of the new Vikings head coach. With a lockout on the horizon and recent reductions in pension benefits for assistant coaches at the NFL level, college jobs are looking for attractive.
In Minnesota, Bieniemy also serves as assistant head coach/offense, and he has a key role in the handling of blitzes. He’ll finish the season with the Vikings before leaving for Colorado.
UPDATE: We tripped across McCartney’s comments in another article, which carried the characterization set forth above. After closer inspection of the Denver Post article prompted by an e-mail from Zennie Abraham of Zennie62Media.com, it appears that McCartney had planned to hire both Embree and Bieniemy if McCartney had gotten the job, and then to groom one of them to take the job. So McCartney was the one who wanted to set the table for a minority hire. Thanks to Zennie for helping us clear that up, and we apologize for the erroneous take on McCartney’s comments.