“We over me”; what Coach MacIntyre has brought to the football team

FIU football head coach Mike MacIntyre with his team on the sideline. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Jaymz Cosme | Staff Writer

FIU football’s head coach Mike MacIntyre has preached about building a competitive program and a winning culture, as his recurring message throughout the locker room has been “we over me”. 

Since he was named head coach in 2021, FIU continuously has shown signs of growth under his leadership. Currently, they’ve gotten off to their best start to a season since 2017 and have developed a new identity under a new staff. 

This year, they hold a 4-4 record over their first eight games and took a 33-27 victory over the Sam Houston Bearkats in their most recent game on Wednesday, Oct, 18, 2023.

In that game, the team showed their mental fortitude and stayed focused in a double-overtime victory. After falling into a 20-17 deficit, junior kicker Chase Gabriel was able to hit the game-tying field goal with five seconds remaining on the clock.

Energized by the clutch score, the Panthers went on to score back-to-back touchdowns in two drives and won the game. MacIntyre’s culture that he instilled into the team allowed them to come together and rally after falling late in the game.

Over two seasons with FIU, MacIntyre holds an 8-12 record as head coach. In his first year as head coach in 2022, he led the team to a 4-8 record and greatly improved upon their previous season.

Previously led by head coach Butch Davis from 2017-2021, the Panthers only won one game in 2021 and finished with a 1-11 record that season. In his five year tenure, he held a 24-32 all time record and went 1-16 between the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Now a little over halfway through his second season at the helm, MacIntyre helped reshape the look of the Panthers and turned around a program that had one win to boast. 

With over a decade of experience under his belt on the collegiate level, he has worked on teams all around the country and has seen countless different scenarios.

MacIntyre started his coaching career in 1990 where he joined the Georgia Bulldogs in 1990 where he was on the staff as a graduate assistant. After the 1991 season, he went on to spend the next four years of his career as a defensive coordinator.

He spent one year as the defensive coordinator for Davidson College before he took the same position at UT Martin in 1993, where he stayed until 1996. 

As the years passed, MacIntyre continued to bounce around from location to location and spent time in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets between 2003 and 2007.

It wouldn’t be until nearly 20 years into his coaching career that he got his first FBS head coaching opportunity for the San Jose State Spartans in 2010.

In his first season as a head coach, the team struggled and finished 1-11. The next year, the Spartans improved and finished 5-7 in the 2011 season. 

While never finishing with a positive record in MacIntyre’s first two years, his third year at San Jose State would be his most successful record-wise.

Showing his strengths as a coach, in 2012 he led the team to an 11-2 and finished ranked No. 21 in the NCAA in the final AP poll of the season. After a 4-2 start to the season, they went on a seven-game winning streak to close their season.

Following his success with the Spartans, MacIntyre took his talents to the Colorado Buffaloes and joined the team as head coach in 2013.

Despite coming off the best record of his career, he led the Buffaloes to a 4-8 record in his first season. Unlike at San Jose State, he couldn’t improve the team’s record in their next season, as they finished 2-10 in 2014. 

Dissatisfied with the results of the 2014 season, he returned to his roots and focused on building behind a better defensive team. 

Colorado steadily improved over the next two seasons and finished 10-4 in the 2016 season behind a top defense in the nation. 

Their 2016 team was ranked as highly as ninth in the AP poll at one point in the season as MacIntyre built this iteration of the team off his strengths. 

Featuring a strong running-game behind future NFL Pro Bowler Phillip Lindsay, the Buffaloes ran a ground-and-pound offense while mostly being a tough, defensive minded team. 

In light of his efforts in 2016, MacIntyre took home the biggest award of the year and won the AP poll’s Coach of the Year award.

Never reaching the heights of that team, his final two years were comparatively less successful. Between 2017 and 2018, the Buffaloes went 10-14, finishing with an identical 5-7 record in both seasons.

While having success in Colorado, both parties went their own ways following the 2018 season despite finding success only two years prior.

Without MacIntyre’s guidance, the Buffaloes spiraled, eventually finishing 1-11 in the 2022 season. Looking to revamp their program following a one win season, they hired NFL legend Deion Sanders as head coach prior to the 2023 season. 

Sanders bought in a culture of his own, along with many transfers including sophomore wide receiver Travis Hunter and junior quarterback Shedeur Sanders. 

Doing things in his fashion, the team features no captains, but instead “leaders and dawgs”, as coined by Sanders himself. Marked with a “D” or “L” on their uniform, the players who earned those titles are considered influential to the team and their success.

Since his time at Colorado, MacIntyre floated around in the NCAA until accepting the head coaching job at FIU after the 2021 season.

With many years of football experience, he continues to build with the Panthers and instill a new culture into the team.  By bringing over the “we over me” motto, FIU has had their strongest start to a season since 2019 and looks to continue playing as a team.

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