Washington Redskins tight ends coach Bill Embree has agreed to become the University of Colorado's next head coach, and he will hire Minnesota Vikings running backs coach Eric Bieniemy as his offensive coordinator, The Denver Post reported Thursday, citing former Buffaloes coach Bill McCartney and an unnamed source.
"Embree's going to be the head coach and Bieniemy's going to be the offensive coordinator," McCartney told The Post. "Take it to the bank and hang your hat on it."
Colorado athletic director Mike Bohn told The Associated Press that he hopes to hire a football coach in the next few days and denied he already had offered the job to Embree.
The Post's source said only minor details remain to be finalized before the deal becomes official.
After practice in Ashburn, Va., Embree was escorted off the field by a Redskins public-relations employee, who said: "Coach can't comment at this time yet, so we'll deal with it another time."
"I just read what Coach McCartney had said, and it sounded like he's got a good chance to get the job," Shanahan said. "I have talked to a couple of people on the board already, and they had asked me if I would release him or let him go earlier than the end of the season, and I told them I would if he was given the job to help him with recruiting and get his staff.
"I've always believed and always had a philosophy that when one of your assistant coaches has a chance to be a head coach and really upgrade their job and a lifelong dream for him, that I'd be more than happy to let him go early," Shanahan said. "We've got a lot of quality coaches on our staff that can pick up the slack. Jon's just a heck of a football coach, heck of a guy, and if he does get the job, I'd say he would do a fantastic job."
Shanahan said he wasn't sure if Embree actually was mulling an offer from the Buffaloes. Shanahan also said he "wouldn't even try" to make a counteroffer to make Embree stay with the Redskins.
"I think he would be perfect for that scenario if it does happen, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he gets his dream job," Shanahan said.
Dan Hawkins was fired as the Buffaloes' coach Nov. 9 after going 19-39 and losing his last 17 games outside Colorado. He was dismissed three days after Colorado blew a 28-point lead at Kansas with 11 minutes to play, the biggest collapse in the program's 121-year history.
Longtime assistant Brian Cabral took over on an interim basis and went 2-1 as the Buffaloes finished 5-7, their fifth consecutive losing season.
After The Post quoted McCartney as saying Embree was Colorado's choice, the school quickly put out a statement denying it had reached that point.
"The rumors that the University of Colorado has hired our next head football coach are untrue," Bohn's statement said. "In the interests of the young men in our program, and our fans and supporters, I want to make clear that the search committee has not yet completed its work, and we have not yet offered the job to any candidate.
"We are hopeful of making a head coach announcement in the coming days and beginning a new and exciting era of CU football," Bohn added.
McCartney told The Post that had he been given the job again, his plan was to hire Embree and Bieniemy, another former Buffaloes player, and groom one of them to take over in a few years. McCartney told the newspaper that once it became clear he wouldn't get the job, he pushed for either Embree or Bieniemy to be hired.
Bieniemy declined comment through a team spokesman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.