BOULDER, Colo. -- Jon Embree believes he's the perfect fit to unite a frayed family.
A former Colorado standout tight end and one-time assistant, Embree is returning to campus to take over the team and surrounding himself with coaches steeped in the Buffs' tradition in order to restore the luster to the program as it starts a new chapter by joining the soon-to-be Pac-12.
Embree was officially introduced as the new coach Monday after accepting a five-year deal that's worth approximately $1 million a season, not counting incentives.
He steps in for Dan Hawkins, who was fired after going 19-39 during four-plus underachieving seasons in Boulder.
Joining Embree's staff will be another former Buffs stalwart, Eric Bieniemy, who will finish out the season as the Minnesota Vikings running backs coach before returning as CU's offensive coordinator.
Brian Cabral, a longtime Colorado assistant who served as the interim coach once Hawkins was let go, also will stay on board, taking his name out of the running for the head coaching position at nearby Northern Colorado.
This is all part of uniting a bickering Buffs Nation.
"It's a family affair and we didn't want to provide any type of erosion of that family affair," said athletic director Mike Bohn, whose school will leave the Big 12 after this season. "That was something we really worked hard at. We want to ensure we do everything we can to rally, because that is the most important thing for us to do. We've got to unite behind this coach, this staff and this program, and that's going to allow us to be successful quicker than many people think we can be."
Bohn said a national search was conducted, not just a who's who among former Buffaloes, although it may appear that way.
The candidates included former CU coach Bill McCartney, who led the Buffs to their only national title in 1990 but had been out of football since 1994.
Cabral and Bieniemy also were considered for the job before it finally went to Embree.
"I believe I'm the right fit," Embree said. "That's why I believe I'm going to have success."
Once the decision was made to go with Embree, Bieniemy and Cabral said they had no bitterness and didn't balk at jumping on board.
"I wouldn't miss this for anything," said Cabral, who went 2-1 while filling in for Hawkins. "I wouldn't miss working with Jon and Eric. That's a dynamic duo without a doubt. I certainly want to be a part of that."
Embree interviewed for the position five years ago, but lost out to Hawkins, who was considered a "home run" hire by Bohn before eventually striking out.
This time, Embree dazzled Bohn and the search committee in his interviews.
So, how would Bohn describe this hire?
"The right fit, the right time, the right coach, that's what it is right now," Bohn said. "What you see is what you get -- passion, competitive spirit, a great communicator."
The 45-year-old Embree left his position as the tight ends coach of the Washington Redskins following their game against the New York Giants on Sunday to take over his dream job at his alma mater.
An all-conference tight end for the Buffs in the mid-1980s, he's hoping to restore tradition to an underperforming program.
"It was hard watching what happened with the program," Embree said. "I know in my heart Dan Hawkins did the best he could. I have nothing against Dan Hawkins.
"Honestly, we need to improve things. It was difficult seeing it like that. You know what it's capable of and you know where it's been. To see it not flourish was hard, because you helped build it."