Hagan was never tempted to do that, though. He even had to give up his whistle for an operations role between 2011-15, but Hagan always kept a positive attitude.
“My love for the Buffs is what kept me here,” he told BuffStampede.com this week. “I love this program. I love everything about it. I love the city of Boulder. I love Colorado. I didn't want to be anywhere else. I just wanted to be here and watch these kids grow and help develop them and see them achieve their goals that they set out for.”
Arguably the best all-around athlete in the history of Colorado's football program, Hagan was a key part in the Buffs' two national championship runs in 1989 and 1990. He was inducted into the prestigious Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
“When you say Darian Hagan, everybody thinks Colorado football. You don't always think that about everybody you see,” said Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre, who promoted Hagan back to running backs coach this past winter. “When people say Mike MacIntyre, they don't automatically think Georgia Tech football. I wasn't the player that Darian was.
“That intertwines him, endears him to Colorado and endears him to the people of Colorado. When you hang around Darian, he's always smiling. He's just a happy-go-lucky guy that makes everybody happy and I think that's contagious.”
While Hagan said he has not been able to find much time to enjoy Colorado's new status as a nationally ranked program, he admits it has been refreshing to see so many national media members talking about the Buffaloes' rise.
“It is definitely cool to see how people are reacting to where we are today with Coach Mac's leadership and the way we have recruited,” he said. “It is kind of funny because when you look back on it, people said our recruiting was always either 11th or 12th in the Pac-12. To see the growth and the development that has gone on in this program is just awesome.
“These kids could have easily said, 'I don't want to be here at Colorado.' They could have easily not bought in. And they've been hit with everything. For them to still persevere and play with reckless abandon and passion, it says a lot about those guys.”
Hagan had a feeling during spring practices that this 2016 group had a chance to be something special.
“It kind of reminded me of when I first got here in 1988 and it was just starting to turn the corner,” he said. “And then '89 was a magical year. This feels just like 1988.”
Additional notes -
*** Hagan has helped develop one of Colorado's most surprising standouts this year, Kyle Evans. The former walk-on ranks second on the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns through five games.
“Once he got on scholarship, I think his confidence level took off a little bit more,” Hagan said of Evans. “We have always believed in him as an offensive staff. And when he has gotten an opportunity to get out there, he just plays his butt off. I always tell the guys, 'If you can do something well and do it consistently, you'll be rewarded.' And that is what he has done.”
*** Redshirt freshman Timmy Lynott leads Colorado's offensive linemen in snaps played with 351 early on this season. While he has given up two sacks and was penalized once, Lynott has graded out really well for a first-year starter at right guard.
“It was really stressful in the beginning obviously but I have gotten pretty used to it now and I am adjusting more,” said Lynott of his first five games. “I was expecting it to be pretty hard, and it has been, so you just have to keep trying to get better every practice.”
*** The Buffaloes are seeking their first-ever win over Southern Cal this week, and Colorado is also attempting to win back-to-back conference road games for the first time in 12 seasons.