The University of Oregon announced the hiring of Mark Helfrich as the 32nd head football coach today in a press conference in the club at Autzen Stadium. The move formalized another promotion of an internal candidate, and the third consecutive time that the school has hired their current offensive coordinator for the position.
Athletic director Rob Mullens said the school interviewed a number of candidates, and stated the school was looking for someone who “Exemplifies excellence, leadership, and character and someone who would embrace what our winning football culture is all about… and we found that coach in Mark Helfrich.”
Helfrich took the stand and smoothly delivered a confident and at times emotional speech, thanking his family and staff, in addition to former coaches Rich Brooks, Mike Bellotti, and Chip Kelly, as well as Pat Kilkenny, and Phil Knight. He was asked about a wide range of topics, and spoke of coaching the Oregon Ducks as the “pinnacle for me,” and joked that he hopes to earn a “lifetime contract.”
Helfrich was candid and earnest throughout the introduction. When asked “How will you be different than Chip?” Helfrich replied “Well, I won’t wear a visor, I’ll eat more vegetables.”
Helfrich seemed set on maintaining “99.2%” of the current team philosphies, and it was also announced that Scott Frost would be taking over as offensive coordinator, and Helfrich intended to maintain as many of the current assistant coaches as he could.
As for the type of players Helfrich will target in recruiting, he mentioned four key attributes he looks for: “Character, Attitude, Toughness, and hopefully they’re fast too.”
In addition to several assistant coaches, there were also several players in attendance including Ricky Heimuli, Hroniss Grasu, Brian Jackson, De’Anthony Thomas, and Marcus Mariota. The players spoke of a rousing and energetic team-only meeting last night, when Helfrich was announced to the team. The players appeared genuine and spoke optimistically about the coaching change.
QB Marcus Mariota may have summarized it best when he said, “Honestly, I don’t feel like there will be much change.”
Mullens announced that the school signed the new coach to a 5 year- $9 million contract.