As the Oregon Ducks begin the search for a new head football coach after the school announced Mark Helfrich had been dismissed after four years, athletic director Rob Mullens is expanding his scope.
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Oregon Conducting Open Search
Tuesday, Nov. 29
Per Bryan Fischer of CollegeFootballTalk.com, Mullens said: “For the first time in decades, we’ll seek a coach outside our staff.”
Rich Brooks, who coached the Ducks from 1977 to 1994 and held the school record with 91 wins before Mike Bellotti surpassed him, was the last head football coach hired from outside of the Oregon staff.
Looking at potential candidates, Scott Roussel of FootballScoop.com reported Oregon has contacted representatives for Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck.
Bruce Feldman of FoxSports.com noted Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is another person on Oregon’s radar.
Offense has been a hallmark of Oregon’s program dating back to Bellotti’s tenure. Chip Kelly continued that trend after he took over, leading the Ducks to three consecutive seasons with at least 46 points per game from 2010 to 2012 before he went to the NFL.
Helfrich inherited a terrific situation with Marcus Mariota and oversaw his Heisman-winning season in 2014, but their offense was not as strong in 2016 with 35.4 points per game, and the defense was abysmal. It allowed 41.4 points per game, leading to a 4-8 record.
Based on how the internal promotion of Helfrich played out after Kelly went to the NFL, Oregon is smart to cast its net far and wide to find a new head coach. This is still a top-tier program in the nation with a passionate fanbase that will turn out in droves to support a winning team.