CSURAMS.COM Steve Fairchild Bio - Colorado State University Official Athletic Site Colorado State University Official Athletic Site - Football

Steve Fairchild
Steve  Fairchild

Head Coach

Years coaching:
30th season (15th at CSU)


Fairchild will not return in 2012 as Rams football coach

National search begins immediately


Postgame Quotes: Wyoming vs. Colorado State

Dec. 3, 2011


CSU's new AD: We are going to win

Transcript of introductory press conference


Game notes: CSU, Wyoming meet for Border War

Bronze Boot on line Saturday in meeting No. 102


Colorado State Postgame Notes

Air Force at Colorado State; Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium


CSU vs. Wyoming press conference 1

Rivalry tradition


CSU vs. Wyoming press conference 1

Players looking forward to the game


CSU vs. Wyoming press conference 1

Nwoke will be a big part of game plan


CSU vs. Air Force Highlights

CSU Football vs. Air Force Highlights, Nov. 26, 2011


CSU vs. TCU press conference clip

We'll need to play against TCU a lot better than we did Boise State.


Colorado State vs. Wyoming (102nd Border War)

Colorado State vs. Wyoming (102nd Border War)


Colorado State at No. 19 TCU - Nov. 19, 2011

Colorado State at No. 19 TCU - Nov. 19, 2011


2011 CSU Football vs. San Diego State

2011 CSU Football vs. San Diego State


2011 Football vs. San Diego State

2011 Football vs. San Diego State


2011 Football vs. Boise State

2011 Football vs. Boise State

Steve Fairchild at a glance...

  • Hired by Paul Kowalczyk as the 19th head football coach in Colorado State history on Dec. 12, 2007.
  • Is in his third stint at Colorado State, after three years as a CSU quarterback (1978-80) and eight seasons as an assistant coach (1993-2000). Enters his 15th year at the university.
  • The school was a combined 37-12 with him on its coaching staff in the 1990s. During that eight-year stretch, CSU won five conference championships, went to five bowl games and ended three seasons ranked among the nation's top 16 teams.
  • Spent seven years in the NFL, five of which were as an offensive coordinator. Helped the St. Louis Rams to consecutive playoff appearances, as well as the 2003 NFC West championship.
  • A CSU team captain and second-team all-conference choice behind Jim McMahon in 1980, earned Sports Illustrated Player of the Week honors after throwing for 406 yards and three TDs against Wyoming.

Coaching Background

Seasons Team/School Title/Position Coached
1982-83 San Diego Mesa CC Off. Coordinator/QBs/RBs
1984-85 Ferris State Off. Coordinator/QBs/RBs
1986 San Diego State TEs/Recruiting Coordinator
1987-89 New Mexico Offensive Coordinator/QBs
1990-92 San Diego State Quarterbacks
1993-96 Colorado State Quarterbacks
1997-2000 Colorado State Offensive Coordinator/QBs
2001-02 Buffalo Bills (NFL) Running Backs
2003 St. Louis Rams (NFL) Offensive Coordinator/QBs
2004-05 St. Louis Rams (NFL) Offensive Coordinator
2006-07 Buffalo Bills (NFL) Offensive Coordinator
2008- Colorado State Head Coach

Postseason Experience


Appearance Opponent
2008 New Mexico Bowl Fresno State
(head coach at Colorado State)
2004 NFC Wild Card Playoffs Seattle Seahawks
2004 NFC Divisional Playoffs Atlanta Falcons
(offensive coordinator with St. Louis Rams)
2003 NFC Divisional Playoffs Carolina Panthers
(offensive coordinator with St. Louis Rams)
2000 Liberty Bowl Louisville
(offensive coordinator at Colorado State)
1999 Liberty Bowl Southern Mississippi
(offensive coordinator at Colorado State)
1997 Holiday Bowl Missouri
(offensive coordinator at Colorado State)
1995 Holiday Bowl Kansas State
(assistant coach at Colorado State)
1994 Holiday Bowl Michigan
(assistant coach at Colorado State)
1991 Freedom Bowl Tulsa
(assistant coach at San Diego State)
1986 Holiday Bowl Iowa
(assistant coach at San Diego State)

Prominent Players Coached

  • Three conference Offensive Players of the Year: Moses Moreno (1997), Kevin McDougal (1999) and Matt Newton (2000).
  • Both a first-team All-American (Anthony Cesario) and an Academic All-American (Mike Newell) in 1998.
  • Nine NFL draft choices: Gartrell Johnson (2009), Shelley Smith (2010), Calvin Branch (1997), Moreno (1998), Cesario (1999) and Darran Hall (1999) at CSU; quarterback Dan McGwire (chosen in the first round, 16th overall, in 1991) and tight end Rob Awalt (1987) at SDSU; and wide receiver Terrance Mathis (1990), who became the NCAA's career receiving yardage leader, at New Mexico.
  • Anthoney Hill, who left CSU in 1994 as the school's career total offense leader, and led the Rams to a Holiday Bowl berth.
  • Pro Bowlers Marc Bulger and Travis Henry.
  • J.P. Losman, who turned in a 3,000-yard passing season and the NFL's 11th-best passer rating in 2006.
  • David DenBraber, who became the NCAA's Division II career passing leader, at Ferris State.

On Dec. 12, 2007, the Colorado State Rams brought back one of their own, naming Steve Fairchild the 19th head coach in the university's football program history, which began in 1893.

"Steve Fairchild has a long-standing history of success at Colorado State," said Director of Athletics Paul Kowalczyk, "both as a student-athlete and coach. I know that he has great passion for this university, this program and this community."

That community saw an immediate return on the athletic department's investment in 2008, when Fairchild became the first head coach in program annals to lead his team to a bowl game in his inaugural season. His seven wins also were the most ever by a first-year CSU head coach, the team's first winning season in five years. The Rams also produced the conference's leading rusher in Gartrell Johnson, making good on Fairchild's promise to restore CSU's smash-mouth offensive identity it held during his previous tenure at CSU.

Fairchild, 53, returned to his alma mater from the National Football League, where he had tutored some of the game's most productive young stars since leaving CSU after the 2000 season. Fairchild became the second current Mountain West Conference head coach to leave the NFL for his school, following Air Force's Troy Calhoun.

And like Calhoun, Fairchild starred as a quarterback at his school. He first came to CSU in 1978 as a junior-college All-American, and in his first CSU season led the Rams in passing while splitting starting duties with Keith Lee. Coaches opted to redshirt him in 1979, then made him the full-time starter in 1980, when he served as a team captain and earned second-team all-conference honors behind Jim McMahon. The Rams that year lost only once over their final six games -- to national powerhouse BYU. Included in that stretch was Fairchild's best game, a 28-25 win vs. Wyoming Nov. 1, when he completed 28 of 35 passes for 406 yards and three TDs to earn Sports Illustrated Player of the Week honors.

Following his playing days, Fairchild launched a coaching career that in 2011 will enter its 30th season, 16 of which have been as a coordinator and 21 of which have been at the college level.

And 11 of those years have been at CSU, where Sonny Lubick made him a member of his original coaching staff, in 1993. Fairchild coached quarterbacks from 1993-96, then replaced Dave Lay and served as offensive coordinator from 1997-2000.

During Fairchild's first tenure as a CSU coach, the Rams were a combined 37-12 and experienced unprecedented offensive success, including:

  • The school's all-time scoring record (442 points) and touchdowns mark (59) in 1997, Fairchild's first season as coordinator;
  • Five of the six conference championships secured during the Lubick era;
  • Five bowl games in eight years;
  • Three end-of-season Top 25 rankings in national polls: 1994 (15th), 1997 (16th) and 2000 (14th);
  • Three conference Offensive Players of the Year: Moses Moreno (1997), Kevin McDougal (1999) and Matt Newton (2000);
  • A 1998 offensive line that boasted both a first-team All-American (Anthony Cesario) and an Academic All-American (Mike Newell);
  • Four NFL draft choices, Calvin Branch (1997), Moreno (1998), Cesario (1999) and Darran Hall (1999);
  • Multiple 1,000-yard rushers in consecutive seasons (1996-97), making CSU the first Division I-A school to hold that distinction.

"When you examine history," Kowalczyk said, "when Steve was an assistant at CSU, we typically had the most prolific offense and top performers in the conference."

A man of commitment, at the time of accepting CSU's offer to become head coach in December 2007, Fairchild did not want to leave his NFL team, the Buffalo Bills, until the season ended, refusing to abandon his Buffalo head coach, Dick Jauron, or his players. The Bills were in the thick of the AFC playoff race, with three regular-season games remaining, when Fairchild was hired by the Rams.

"We would never jeopardize his current commitment," Kowalczyk said in announcing the hiring. "We knew from the outset and were comfortable with the dedication he has to his team and his fellow staff members. It is that type of value system -- commitment, integrity, honesty, accountability and responsibility -- that had him at the top of our list since the beginning."

Despite a vow to remain in Buffalo until season's end, Fairchild understood the need to focus on recruiting during a critical time and quickly moved to assemble key members of his first CSU coaching staff, hiring three immediately after the school named him as head coach.

That staff has mirrored one of Fairchild's characteristics, an ability to bring out the best in younger players, especially QBs, a common career thread since the day he graduated as CSU's field general.

"At both the professional and college levels," Kowalczyk said, "he has had a reputation of developing young players and helping them reach their maximum potential. That is an attractive trait in our program."

At CSU, he tutored Anthoney Hill, who led the Rams through a storybook 1994 season that included a win at No. 4 Arizona and its Desert Swarm defense, and ended with CSU's first conference title since 1955 and a berth in the Holiday Bowl opposite Michigan. Hill left CSU as the school's career total offense leader.

Fairchild then coached Moreno as the QB guided the Rams to a pair of WAC championships (1995, '97) and two more Holiday Bowl trips. And before an opportunity to coach in the NFL, Fairchild's last CSU pupil was Matt Newton, who helped corral the first two MW titles and consecutive Liberty Bowl appearances.

In the NFL as offensive coordinator/QB coach with the St. Louis Rams (2003-05), Fairchild helped QB Marc Bulger become a Pro Bowl MVP in 2003. His offense had three straight Top 10 rankings (2003-05), finished second in scoring (2003) and second in passer rating (2005). St. Louis was a playoff team from 2003-04.

In his first year as Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator (2006), he helped J.P. Losman to a 3,000-yard passing season and the NFL's 11th-best passer rating. Earlier, after making a difficult decision to leave CSU, he served as running backs coach for the Bills (2001-02), and oversaw Travis Henry's Pro Bowl season in 2001.

Prior to rejoining CSU in 1993, Fairchild served as QB coach at San Diego State (1990-92), offensive coordinator at New Mexico (1987-89), recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach at San Diego State (1986), offensive coordinator at Ferris State (1984-85) and offensive coordinator at Mesa Community College (1982-83) in San Diego.

At SDSU, he coached a pair of NFL draft choices in quarterback Dan McGwire ( first round, 16th overall, in 1991), and tight end Rob Awalt (third round, 62nd overall, 1987), and also helped the Aztecs to the 1991 Freedom Bowl.

At New Mexico, he coached Terrance Mathis, who became the NCAA's career receiving yardage leader and was selected in the sixth round (141st overall) of the 1990 NFL Draft.

At Ferris State in Big Rapids, Mich. (hometown of former Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle), Fairchild oversaw an offense that produced David DenBraber, then the NCAA's Division II career passing leader.
And throughout his college coaching stops, Fairchild sowed the seeds of recruiting relationships from the West Coast to the Great Lakes. He has personally recruited the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Michigan.

Nominated by Lubick for the 1999 Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation's outstanding assistant coach, Fairchild during the search for the Rams' next head coach came highly recommended by his predecessor at Colorado State, Lubick.

Among the names Lubick recommended, Fairchild stood out, partly because he called plays his last two NFL seasons under a defensive-minded head coach in Jauron. And before getting his chance to call his own plays, Fairchild in St. Louis worked directly with one of the NFL's most highly regarded play-callers, Mike Martz. Martz was Fairchild's position coach at Mesa Community College from 1976-77.

No stranger to the importance of classroom success, Fairchild as a CSU senior in 1980 earned first-team academic all-conference honors with a 3.05 grade-point average. He also garnered the Merrill-Gheen Award for athletic and academic achievement, as well as the NCAA District Athletic Achievement Award.

Born Stephen Thomas Fairchild as the fourth of five children on June 21, 1958, in Decatur, Ill., he is married to the former Nancy Kolstoe. The family is extremely involved in the community, spearheading several initiatives each year. In 2010, the Fairchilds kicked off the annual Cans Around the Oval CSU food drive, by donating 10 cents for every fan in attendance at the Rams' home game against No. 5 TCU on Oct. 2, 2010, to the Larimer County Food Bank. He's also spawned what is believed to be the only football program in the country in which every player makes community-service appearances three times every year.

The couple has two daughters, Lindsey (24) and Jill (21). Lindsey recently graduated from the University of Arkansas and is pursuing a master's degree in physical therapy, while Jill is a senior at Colorado State after graduating from Orchard Park (N.Y.) High School, where she was Athlete of the Year.

Fairchild graduated from Colorado State in May of 1981 with a bachelor's degree in economics. He went on to earn his master's in education from Azusa Pacific in 1983.

A two-year letterman as a quarterback at San Diego's Patrick Henry High School, Fairchild led his team to consecutive league championships in 1974 and '75.

After graduation, he stayed home at Mesa Community College and became the first-ever JC quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards, earning first-team All-America honors and California's Player of the Year award in 1977.

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