(featured image credit: CU Athletics)

After serving as Colorado’s running backs coach dating back to 2016, legendary Colorado quarterback Darian Hagan was one of two staff members to be retained by Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders from the old regime.

Now serving as the Executive Director of Community Engagement & Outreach as well as Football Ambassador at Colorado, Hagan continues to give back to the University he’s called home for so long.

“I’m doing a lot of different things that I think we haven’t had anyone really do yet,” Hagan said. “I’m bringing more insight to the community from an insider’s point of view.”

The Buffs4Life NIL Collective and Hagan have teamed for the 3rd Annual Devaughn Levy-Hagan Memorial Basketball Game this Saturday, July 22nd in honor of Hagan’s son and former Buffs who died by suicide.

Other fallen Buffs that will be honored include Rashaan Salaam, Charles E. Johnson, Drew Wahroos, Ray Cone, Ryan Johanningmeier, Gabe Overberg, Bill Roe and William Gulley.

Hagan will coach one of the teams alongside former Colorado basketball star, Shaun Vandiver to go up against Hagan’s teammate and fellow quarterback at CU, Charles S. Johnson.

In addition to the basketball game, expect plenty of current Buffs across all sports to attend the event including Colorado football players.

“We’ll have about 30 [football players] that will be attending, the entire women’s basketball team and eight to ten men’s basketball players,” Hagan said. ” Evan Battey and the TBT team will also be there for the pregame.”

Hagan and Buffs4Life will also have a special guest in former Harlem Globetrotter, Nathaniel “Big Easy” Lofton.

Fans can purchase tickets for Saturday’s Devaughn Levy-Hagan Memorial Basketball Game for $10 here. All proceeds will go towards Buka’s Village, a non-profit founded by Darian Hagan and Nyasha Levy in Devaughn “Buna” Levy-Hagan’s memory.

While DNVR spoke to Hagan, he also shared his thoughts on what Coach Prime has already accomplished at Colorado and his expectations for what is going to be a dynamic backfield for the Buffs in 2023.

“I think that the changes that he’s done are pretty remarkable,” Hagan said. “He’s done an admirable job of putting his vision in front of what he wants to attain and what he wants to see from the University of Colorado. I think it’s going to be a good fit.”

Colorado has seen an explosion on social media in terms of followers and engagement since Coach Prime’s hiring and Hagan is sensing something that Colorado hasn’t seen since he was suiting up in black and gold.

“I tell people all the time that we haven’t had this type of excitement since I played when Coach McCartney was in charge,” said Hagan.

In the leadup to last season, Hagan heaped praise onto then-true freshman Anthony Hankerson and his running style which reminded Hagan of his former teammate, Eric Bieniemy.

“I love [Hankerson] to death, I think that he, [Alton McCaskill and Kavosiey Smoke] will be a great backfield this season,” Hagan said.

Hagan also raved about true freshman Dylan Edwards and mentioned another former teammate when talking about the young speedster.

“Have I seen a running back that fast? I played with him, he was number two,” Hagan said with a chuckle. “His name is J.J. Flannigan. I think that Dylan is one of those guys that when he gets the ball in his hands, give him a little daylight and it’s over. You’re not going to catch him.”

“Dylan is a joy to be around, he always has a smile on his face and he has a purpose,” Hagan said. “I think that his first year they’ll try to get him easy touches in space but I’m looking forward to seeing all those guys do a really good job this season.”

Flannigan and Hagan both rushed for over 1000 yards in 1989 as the Buffs went 11-1 and finished 4th in the AP Poll before going on to win the National Championship in 1990. It was reported in December of 1989 that Flannigan had run a 4.28 40-yard dash.

While he may not be on the field this season, Hagan continues to add to his storied legacy as a Buff under Coach Prime.


Jake Schwanitz was born in Harlingen, Texas and was raised in Albuquerque, NM. Jake attended the University of New Mexico earning a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2016. He gained experience in analytics and scouting while working as a Football Video Scout at Sports Info Solutions in 2017 and 2018. Jake became an intern at DNVR in 2020 and became the full-time CU Buffs beat reporter for DNVR starting with the 2022 football season.