The Oregon Ducks football program has hired Ron Aiken as the defensive line coach. A native of South Carolina, Aiken has been the defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals for the last six years following an eight-year stint with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Aiken helped defensive tackle Darnell Dockett to three Pro Bowl selections and is sure to impact the Ducks defensive line.
“This is a great opportunity for me to be at the University of Oregon and to assist with the continuation of the success they have enjoyed here,” Aiken said during his introduction. “Wherever I have coached, my goal has always been to do what I can to help win football games. I love teaching the fundamentals of the game as well as coming up with the schemes that will contribute to the development of young men.”
Defensive linemen under Ron Aiken have a knack for getting to the quarterback. The Cardinals ranked in the top-16 of the league in quarterback sacks in five of his six campaigns in Phoenix. They were sixth in the NFL in 2009 (43) and seventh in 2011 (42).
“Ron Aiken is an icon in the defensive line community,” Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich said Friday. “His vast experience – coaching in all phases at the high school, college and pro level – will complement our current staff.” Aiken replaces Jerry Azzinaro, who left the team a few weeks ago to follow Chip Kelly in the NFL.
Helfrich seems to have found a coach with Duck-like qualities also, saying, “When speaking with former colleagues and players he coached, three words came up every time: fundamentals, respect and character. We are excited to welcome Ron and his wife, Sheryl, into the Oregon family.”
At Iowa, the American Football Coaches Association honored Aiken as the Division I Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002. The Hawkeyes allowed fewer than 100 yards per game on the ground in Aiken’s first three seasons and made the postseason every year he was on their sidelines.