On Monday, MacIntyre signed a five-year deal to coach the Buffaloes and was introduced at a news conference at Folsom Field.
His hiring ends a two-week search by Colorado that included a rejection by its first choice, Butch Jones.
MacIntyre inherits a program that's had seven straight losing seasons, including a 1-11 record this year under Jon Embree that was the worst in the 123-year history of the program.
He's turned around a program before.
The Spartans (10-2) are ranked No. 25 in the BCS and are heading to the Dec. 27 Military Bowl in Washington, D.C. to face Bowling Green (8-4), two years after a 1-12 showing in McIntyre's first season. This is the first 10-win season in a quarter century for the Spartans, who are ranked 24th in both the AP and coaches' polls.
MacIntyre, the son of former Vanderbilt coach George MacIntyre, is 16-21 in his three years as a head coach at San Jose State after serving as Duke's defensive coordinator and working as a secondary coach for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets. He also was an assistant for David Cutcliffe at Ole Miss.
The 47-year-old MacIntyre took over a Spartans program still reeling from limited scholarships following academic penalties by the NCAA stemming from problems before previous coach Dick Tomey arrived. After the 1-12 season featuring a heavy schedule of ranked teams, the Spartans went 5-7 in MacIntyre's second season.
Last week, Jones rejected a five-year, $13.5 million offer that would have made him the highest-paid coach in CU history, and instead took the vacant head coaching job at Tennessee. Jones also had been promised upgrades at Folsom Field and the team's training center.
This marks athletic director Mike Bohn's third head coaching hire since he fired Gary Barnett in 2005. Embree had three years remaining on a five-year contract when he was fired after going 4-21.
The Buffaloes job isn't a glamorous one, with sub-par football facilities and a fan base and booster pool disenchanted by seven straight losing seasons — and now, as Embree's quick hook attests, an administration that wants immediate upgrades on the scoreboard and in the Pac-12 standings.
The new coach faces a truncated recruiting season and must try to keep defections to a minimum from a roster that's loaded with freshmen.
AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed.