The University of Oregon announced this week that former player and long-time assistant coach Don Pellum would be taking over as Defensive Coordinator. This following the recent retirement of even longer time coach Nick Aliotti. All Ducks fans wish Coach Pellum the very best of luck in what we hope will be a long and successful tenure running Oregon’s defense.
But whew, what a gauntlet he had to run just to get named. The crack staff at FishDuck.com/weknowdefensebecausewearesodefensive unearthed secret documents that revealed the arduous vetting and selection process that was undertaken since the Alamo Bowl. What follows is just a small sampling of the competition that Coach Pellum faced in landing his new job.
Responding to requests from long-time fans who wanted a defensive coordinator with experience, the Ducks secretly interviewed a coach who has known success in the defensive staff booth of many a press box. Negotiations apparently broke down when the coach in question asked that ramps leading up to Autzen Stadium be leveled to make it easier for him to get to work. The kindly old gent was thanked for his time and his legs were covered with a quilt.
Next the search committee looked for a coach with ties to Oregon and who had experienced collegiate success (as opposed to the grease fire Kiffin had overseen at USC). Justin Wilcox was an obvious candidate since his defense had one good game against Oregon way back when, whoopie, I mean ahem. At the last moment Wilcox’s candidacy foundered when he made one last demand demand as part of his compensation package.
Oregon then decided to search for someone with a somewhat less regal opinion of himself. They determined that the successful candidate would be a coach who had known both success AND failure. Someone who had seen both the highs and lows of the college game, so that he could coach toward the former and avoid the latter. The obvious choice would have been Ty Willingham. He of the improbable 2001 victory over Oregon and equally improbable 2008 run through the Washington schedule in reverse. Willingham has pretty much kept to himself since departing Seattle needing a rabies shot. The administration located Willingham and, after a look at his current situation, decided to pass.
Deciding that Willingham may have been a little too laid back anyway, the Ducks searched for a coach with passion and drive.
After hunting far and wide for a defensive coordinator that would fit the Oregon Way, and finding none, the Ducks decided that their man had been here all along.
Good luck, Coach. We are all behind you.
Top photo by Gamedayr.com