It may just be that rebuilding projects are in his blood -- his father, George MacIntyre, performed remarkable transformations at UT-Martin and Vanderbilt in the 1970s and '80s -- but Mike MacIntyre said it is not difficult to figure out the foundations of his success.
And much of it is in the recruiting effort he makes.
"This is not rocket science," MacIntyre said. "You go and recruit good players and then get them to care about each other.
"A coach's primary job is to provide direction for the players, but that is the formula: good players and good people. I say it is three-pronged: pray, plan and act."
The University of Colorado hired MacIntyre on Dec. 10 to lead its football program after dismissing Jon Embree on Nov. 25. Embree was 4-21 during his two seasons.
MacIntyre elevated the San Jose State program from two wins in 2009 to the No. 24 ranking in the final BCS standings last season. The Spartans won 10 games and the Military Bowl on his watch.
Colorado has not had a winning season since 2005 and has dropped from five victories in 2010 to the lone win in 2012. The last one-win season in Boulder was from Colorado coaching legend Bill McCartney in 1984. It was the last losing season for McCartney, who guided the program to its only national championship in 1990.
MacIntyre said the program can be great again.
"I don't know if last year was rock bottom or not, but it was really tough on everyone," he said. "This place has a history of ups and downs, and hopefully that was the bottom of the downturn and we are headed back in the right direction."
MacIntyre's past could give hope to this downtrodden program.
His last two stops came with challenges, but each was rewarded with tremendous results. At Duke, he helped the defense turn around to the tune of 68 fewer yards and nearly 10 fewer points per game in his first year. He then took over at San Jose State and turned the program around in his third season. He has worked on a limited recruiting budget and can find players to fit his style.
Keeping players who were committed to Colorado was the immediate job, and MacIntyre said he believes was successful.
"I got on the job in the dead period so that made it tough, but we had 10 solid kids committed and we kept them all," he said. "Seven of those kids were bombarded by other Pac-12 schools when Coach Embree was fired, and the other three were getting called by every Mountain West school.
"We needed speed at linebacker, speed at receiver and a quarterback. We got all of those things."
MacIntyre also dipped into his old stomping grounds to round out the class.
Four of the final six players who committed were from Northern California -- three from San Jose.
Three-star defensive back Chidobe Awuzie is from San Jose (Calif.) Oak Grove, while a pair of two-star athletes joined in Kenneth Olugbode of San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep and Ryan Severson from San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian.
The signing of Awuzie resulted from a direct tie to his former program.
"He's a young man who came to our camps at San Jose State for three straight years. I've known him since he was a 10th grader," MacIntyre said on signing day. "I'm really excited about him. It came down to us and Washington State, and we're excited that he decided to come here. He's a really good football player and an extremely intelligent young man."
The players coming to Colorado from California will continue to be part of the fabric of the program, as they always have.
Like most every coach, MacIntyre said he wants to be more active in his own state. The school has done a poor job of that recently.
Of the 140 players from Colorado to have signed with FBS-level programs from the class of 2009 through the class of 2013, the university has signed 14.
Making matters worse is that only four of those 14 players were ranked among the top five in the state; the last time Colorado signed the top player from its state was in the class of 2009 with Nick Kasa.
MacIntyre knows those results must change.
"Colorado has good football players," he said. "We are going to comb the state to get them and do our best to keep them. We are going to keep our Pac-12 footprint and try to get into Texas, but Colorado has to be recruited better.
"So far, our message has been well received. We are making some inroads at schools, and we are going to be going out to some coaching clinics and having guys come in to ours. You have to take the time with everyone, and that includes the coaches. We respect the job they are doing, and they need to know that we need them year-round and not just if they have a player."
MacIntyre has spent most of his time getting to know what he has, a process that will be refined as the program goes through spring practice and before the coaches get back into their recruiting routine.
"We want to be as active as we can in recruiting, but we have to be smart," MacIntyre said. "There are offers out there right now at positions we know we need just because of the roster, but once we see these guys out on the field we may be like, 'Whoa, we need a lot more guys at that position.'"
He is planning on approaching his Colorado cast with the same mindset that has gotten him to this point -- an attitude of winning the day. It has made him successful.
"I know it sounds like coachspeak, but we will approach each game like its own season," he said.
"I know I see it quicker than the fans do because we are around the guys all week and not just once a week, but we are going to attack this with that approach. I think that is the way to build the program back, and I think you see better results that way."