Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre leaves the field after defeating Utah on Nov. 26 in Boulder, Colo. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Leadoff: National coach of year has degrees from both Tech, UGA

Good morning. This is Leadoff, today’s early buzz in Atlanta sports.

A man with ties to both the Georgia Tech and Georgia football programs has won two national coach-of-the-year awards this month.

Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre, winner of the Walter Camp coach-of-the-year and the Home Depot coach-of-the-year awards, lettered on Tech’s football team as a free safety in 1987-88 and started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Georgia in 1990-91.

The local connections made MacIntyre’s visit to Atlanta for last week’s College Football Awards show all the more special.

“Coming back and basically being across the street from where I graduated and played is really special,” he said, “especially when I drove by (Bobby Dodd Stadium) and saw that. It did bring back a lot of memories and nostalgic-wise is pretty cool.”

After graduating from Tech with a bachelor’s degree in business management in 1989, MacIntyre was hired by Georgia coach Ray Goff as a graduate assistant.

“I still talk to Ray a couple of times a year,” MacIntyre said. “I really appreciate him giving me an opportunity.”

MacIntyre earned his master’s degree in education from UGA with an emphasis on sports management in 1991.

From there, his career took him to numerous assistant-coaching positions at both the college and NFL levels and to head-coaching positions with San Jose State and, since 2013, Colorado.

MacIntyre this season led Colorado to a 10-3 record and an appearance in the Pac-12 Championship game, where the Buffaloes lost to No. 4-ranked Washington. Colorado had gone 10-27 in his first three seasons, but this year’s turnaround didn’t catch him by surprise.

“Our expectations really were to win the Pac-12 championship,” he said in Atlanta. “Going into fall practice, I felt like we were going to have a good team. I even have it written on the 15th day of my practice notes that we’ve really got a good football team.”

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Word should come late this morning on whether commissioners in Collier County, Fla., will pursue negotiations with the Braves to build a $100 million spring-training stadium in a Naples development. Full story here.

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Major League Soccer’s expansion draft starts at 2 p.m. today. Click here for Doug Roberson’s report on the options available for Atlanta United.

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On the day after their embarrassing 42-14 home loss to the Falcons, the Los Angeles Rams fired coach Jeff Fisher. Full story here.

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Further reading:

Steve Spurrier and the Bulldogs are “buddies” now? (Or is he kidding?)

Can Braves get out of their TV deal? 

Why is the Mercedes-Benz Stadium halo board in South Dakota?

What gifts will the Georgia Tech and Georgia players get from bowls?

Leadoff appears Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

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