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August 29th, 2009, 04:11 AM

unc football
Tough transition for UNC football
Program struggling after making bold jump

By Terry Frei
The Denver Post

GREELEY Early in the decade, when the University of Northern Colorado committed to taking its athletic program to Division I and upgrading the Bears football program to Division I-AA, transitional struggles were inevitable.

Yet even the worst pessimist couldn't have envisioned what at least on paper looks to be a mess: The Bears, who won back-to-back Division II football national championships in 1996 and 1997, have gone 3-31 overall and 2-22 in league play in their first three seasons as a member of the Big Sky Conference.

That coincides with the tenure of Scott Downing, a former Wyoming, Purdue and Nebraska assistant who UNC hired to succeed Kay Dalton as head coach after the 2005 season.

"The job here was probably a little bit bigger than I thought it was when I came," Downing said Wednesday after practice, near the ongoing construction project at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion that will give the Bears upgraded locker room and training facilities. . . . (read more)