Chance named CU cornerback coach

BOULDER – University of Colorado Head Football Coach Karl Dorrell announced on Friday the addition of Chance rod to his staff as the Buffaloes’ new cornerback coach.

As with all hires of this nature, it is subject to the approval of the Board of Regents of CU.

Chance, 37, finished two seasons as a cornerback coach at the University of Oregon on Wednesday night in the Valero Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma. He first met Dorrell at Vanderbilt University in 2014, when he was in charge of defensive quality control and offensive coordinator for Dorrell the Commodores.

“Rod comes to us as a coach who can develop our corners and impact our defense right away,” said Dorrell. “He is known as a developer, a strong recruiter and has the defensive knowledge to help our high school improve and play at a high level.”

“I am delighted and privileged to join such an amazing team of good people,” said Chance. “I look forward to getting to work and helping the foundation that is being built in Boulder. At Vanderbilt, I have had the privilege of learning and developing under the guidance of Coach Dorrell and from Coach (Brett) Maxie (CU Secondary Coach) and it’s exciting to be I want to thank the coach and athletic director Rick george for having trusted me for this opportunity. “

A closer look at Rod Chance

Chance has coached seven seasons at Power 5 Schools at three conferences (Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten) with experience as both a defensive back coach and defensive coordinator. He completed two seasons in Oregon under head coach Mario Cristobal, with the Ducks winning the Pac-12 title in 2020 and the Northern Division of the league in 2021. He actually returned to Oregon after spending the season. year 2019 to coach cornerbacks in Minnesota. He was a defensive analyst for Oregon in 2018.

On his second stint at Eugene, Chance helped the Ducks win their second straight Pac-12 Conference Championship and a 2021 Fiesta Bowl spot across from Iowa State. His job was to coach cornerbacks at a high school that lost three of its starters to COVID-19, including corner Thomas Graham Jr., a three-year-old starter. The Ducks were 14-7 in their last two seasons, which also included the Pac-12 North Division title and a berth against Oklahoma in the Alamo Bowl.

Despite Graham’s absence, Chance drove two corners in 2020 which earned him All-Pac-12 honors. Graham’s replacement Mykael Wright called for recognition of the first team of the Associated press and the league coaches after leading the Pac-12 in defended assists with nine (1.29 per game). Deommodore Lenoir took home the AP and Coaches second team honors.

Lenoir joined three other Oregon defensive backs selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. San Francisco selected him in the fifth round, while opt-outs Graham, Jevon Holland and Brady Breeze were all drafted. Chance had coached Graham (Chicago, sixth round) and safes Holland (Miami, second round) and Breeze (Tennessee, sixth round) during the 2018 season while he was an analyst. That season, Chance brought his experience as a defensive coordinator to the Oregon staff. The defense continued to steadily improve and helped the Ducks break a 9-4 record, capped with a 7-6 victory over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl, the second fewest points for Oregon in the story of the school bowl.

The Oregon high school kid was a big part of the improvement on the defensive end of the ball that year. The Ducks are tied for 11th nationally with 17 interceptions (four returned for touchdowns). Oregon was one of two teams that saw four players intercept three or more assists. Seattle selected safety Ugochukwu Amadi in the fourth round of the 2019 Draft, adding up to five players in everything Chance coached that would go into the NFL.

In his one season at Minnesota, he helped Gopher’s defense finish No.9 nationally against the pass for 2019. Minnesota finished 11-2, shared the Big Ten West Division title, beat Auburn in the Outback Bowl and finished No.10 in the latest Associated Press poll, the school’s best result since 1962. As a cornerback coach, he watched the Gophers go from 51st to ninth place in pass defense, much of the credit going to the cornerback duo of Coney Durr and Benjamin St-Juste, who both earned honorable All-Big Ten honors. His guidance also helped the Minnesota defense finish tied for 10th nationally in touchdowns allowed (14), tied for eighth for under 20-yard pass (30) and tied for 17th with 14 interceptions.

He first joined Oregon from Southern Utah University, where he was the defensive coordinator for two seasons (20-16-17). In 2017, Chance’s defensive unit finished third in the Big Sky Conference scoring the defense and forced 29 turnovers (including 15 interceptions) to help lead SUU to a 9-3 record and the league championship. During his two seasons at Cedar City, 11 different players won Big Sky All-Conference honors, including three first-team members. In 2017, cornerback Jalen Russell was named Freshman All-American by Phil Steele’s college football.

His first college coaching opportunity came to Rhode Island, his alma mater, for spring practice in 2013, where he coached and developed cornerbacks. He had the opportunity to transition from FCS to FBS later that year and joined the staff at Vanderbilt University as an offensive quality control analyst for the 2013 season.

He was hired by James Franklin at Vanderbilt and worked daily with the offensive line and was involved in all campus recruiting efforts. After Franklin left for Penn State, Derek Mason returned to the program in 2014 and retained Chance, but transferred him to defensive quality control. At Vandy, he was involved in the day-to-day development of high school, with particular emphasis on cornerbacks. During his two seasons with the Commodores, he gained invaluable experience in several areas involving high school and general defense.

Chance quickly entered teaching after his playing days, first as a long-term replacement at his high school alma mater in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. It was also there that he began his coaching career at Alpharetta (Ga.) High School. During four seasons there (2009-2012), he was the offensive and defensive coordinator of the football team, while coaching defensive backs and wide receivers; in addition, he was the head and assistant coach of men’s basketball. After the 2012 season, 12 Alpharetta players signed Letters of Intent with Division I programs, and several joined Power 5 schools. In class he was a teacher specializing in math and science, where he developed lesson plans and implemented individualized education plans.

Chance graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a bachelor’s degree in communications studies in 2005. He was a starting cornerback for four years, ending his career with 108 tackles, 11 interceptions and nine passing deflections. As a team captain as a senior in 2005, he was voted URI’s Defensive Back of the Year in the same season. During his final semester, he worked as an intern in Ram’s media relations office.

A native of Fort Lauderdale, he had a remarkable preparatory career at the city’s St. Thomas Aquinas High School, learning football, basketball and track and field. He did two minority summer camps with NFL teams, with the Tennessee Titans in 2014 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, and was selected to the AFCA “35 Under 35” Coaches Leadership Institute in 2020 Prior to entering the teaching profession, he was the athletic coordinator for the city of Atlanta.

About Mark A. Tomlin

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