The title of this article was taken from the subject of a sentence. Yesterday [2-3], at the Oregon Club Recruiting Luncheon, Mark Helfrich, while eloquently praising and thanking many, uttered the simple 5-word sentence, “Don Pellum is a stud.” The audience responded with their loudest, and warmest, applause of the day. We got it.
Well it’s time for me to praise and thank coach Helfrich for all that he has done. As an old man, now retired from high school coaching, I feel so very fortunate to have a head coach and a football program nearby that I can admire so much. Unfortunately, it took anger to make me write this. Anger at the stupidly malicious people whose voices I too often hear. People who claim that Helfrich should be fired because he “let THEM down.” Oh, I realize I shouldn’t pay attention to them.
I often summon the Serenity Prayer, and the saying, “Don’t let assholes take up space in your brain.” I stopped going to football and men’s basketball games several years ago because of the stupid negativity of the fans. Why is it always that the stupidest, rudest people are the loudest?
Yeah, I’m too sensitive. I have absolutely no understanding of how someone can boo a person or team. How they can loudly insult people who are trying really hard to do the best they can. These chumps seem to truly enjoy, be empowered, with finding fault with others — and then expressing that displeasure to as many people as possible.
Okay, I’ll stop. I’m well aware that I’ll never change assholes’ behavior. But writing that felt kinda good. Even an old, semi-active volcano has to let off some steam once in awhile.
What caused me to write this was the proverbial straw. Not the worst thing I’ve read, but bad enough to provoke me into action. A couple of “fans” on the Internet [Ah, the joy of anonymous obnoxiousness on the Internet.] criticized Helfrich for letting them down with his far-less-than-perfect recruiting class. One wanted to fire him — an on-going, ridiculous, theme.
That did it.
These coaches work arduous hours, almost year-round, trying to bring wonderful kids to the University of Oregon, and it’s not good enough for some people? Even the Register Guard, on last year’s announcement of the 2015 recruiting class, had as a FRONT PAGE HEADLINE: “Ducks lose out on JuJu Smith.” How do you think that makes the coaches and other players feel?
Mark Helfrich doesn’t need me to defend him. The quality of the kids he coaches and the program he administrates definitely should show us how fortunate we are to have him. Helfrich has taken over a very good football program, from Chip Kelly, and significantly improved it on all levels.
Compare the class displayed by the Oregon players, on and off the field, to the obnoxiousness of way-too-many spectators in the stands. Check the Ducks’ grade averages and graduation rates. They’re very successful because Helfrich and his staff thoroughly vet each of his recruits. Yet many “fans” initially treated Vernon Adams as if he was an alien disease-carrier. Oregon, under Helfrich, simply won’t give scholarships to young men with “character issues,” no matter how talented they are.
Also Helfrich is always honest with his recruiting. He let much-needed QB Dakota Prukop visit Alabama “to be sure,” when Prukop was ready to commit to the Ducks. Helfrich’s philosophy:
“If I have to bullshit a kid to get him to go to Oregon, he shouldn’t go to Oregon.”
Helfrich has added 4 assistant coaches: Matt Lubick, Ron Aiken, David Yost, and Brady Hoke. All are outstanding as people and teachers.
Compare Helfrich’s upgrading of the Duck offense to what Kelly did with the Eagles. (That is if you know enough about football to be able to make that comparison)
Yeah, I’ll enthusiastically support a coach with the integrity and wisdom of Mark Helfrich. I’d rather lose a few games with a man like that than win ’em all with an asshole in charge.
Mark Helfrich is a stud.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline