"I want to thank Karl for his hard work in leading our program since 2020," said Colorado athletic director Rick George. "Ultimately, however, the results on the field just did not measure up to our expectations and standards, which made it necessary for us to make this change at this time. It was an extremely difficult decision and I wish Karl all of the best in his future endeavors."
Dorrell was in his third season at Colorado. Saturday's loss was the program's sixth straight dating back to 2021. Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson was also fired Sunday. Offensive coordinator Mike Samford will serve as the interim coach.
Hired by Colorado after Mel Tucker left for Michigan State early in 2020, Dorrell took over in February that year amid the COVID-19 pandemic that saw the Pac-12 initially postpone its season but then reverse course and play a shortened campaign. Dorrell had plenty of college coaching experience at the time. He spent five years as UCLA's coach from 2003-07 and had multiple stints as an assistant on the Colorado staff in Boulder.
Still, outside of a 2014 season as the offensive coordinator at Vanderbilt, Dorrell had spent 11 of the previous 12 seasons coaching at the NFL level.
Despite the extended absence from the college game, his first season back with the Buffaloes went well. Colorado finished 4-2, second in the Pac-12 South, and reached the Alamo Bowl. The last two seasons were nowhere near as successful, though, as the Buffaloes fell to 4-8 last year before starting the 2022 season with five straight losses.
Dorrell's contract at Colorado ran through the 2024 season with the program owing him around $8.5 million in buyout monies. He finishes his tenure at Colorado with a mark of 8-15 overall, 6-9 in Pac-12 play.
The team's five losses in 2022 have come by an average of 29.8 points per game. Colorado's 23-point loss to Arizona was the lowest margin of defeat it suffered in any game this season.
Dorrell's replacement will be the fifth coach Colorado has hired since the 2010 season.