It seems obvious now that Athletic Director Rob Mullens has done a tremendous job at Oregon, but a few years ago this site was in a veritable melt-down as many wanted to see him gone. “He doesn’t know how to hire good people” and “he is just a bean-counter” are the type of phrases written in emails to me and repeated in comments on this site. Some famous FishDuck writers gave their thoughts right here three and a half years ago, and many of the statements in that article and this one were not pretty.
Those of us who are of GreyBeard age view this time as a Golden Era of Oregon Athletics. Never have we as fans experienced a year of a conference championship in football, sweet sixteen finishes for both genders of basketball, an indoor track national championship, a volleyball team finishing 14th in the nation, and both softball and baseball teams achieving National Seeds in their respective NCAA tournaments–in a rebuilding year. It is stunning, it is rare, and I am grateful.
It was not long ago when Mullens was being fried in the media for creating a contract with too big a buyout for Mark Helfrich, and then refried for too small a buyout for Willie Taggart. It seemed he could not get it right, and we fans were indignant.
Yet I would remind people how hard it is to hire and retain good coaches, as you just don’t know how it will turn out. You do your best homework, listen to the pitch and make your best selection with crossed fingers. I point to the example in the late 1970’s when Oregon State had three finalists for their head football coaching job who were Terry Donahue (who went on to UCLA to win a boatload of games and bowls) Rich Brooks, and the Offensive Coordinator for National Champion USC (under John Robinson) Craig Fertig. It seemed like a great choice for the Beavers at the time…
Imagine if they hired Rich Brooks?
All the rebuilding would have taken place in Corvallis? Beaver Brooks would have brought in Mike Bellotti to update their offense, and Beaver Bellotti would have ushered Chip Kelly to Oregon State. All our history could have been theirs?
All due to the decision of one Athletic Director, as we fans have no say in the decision and just have to live with the results. The blame or credit of every hire gets placed entirely on the Athletic Director, and oftentimes–it is a crapshoot. Who knows which coach will get it done? Hiring coaches is very, very hard…
Yet Mullens’s hiring record is amazing. Recent hires of Coach Lombardi (Softball), Coach Waz (Baseball), and Coach Abel (Soccer) appear to be working well already, and the Ducks are in a position that we fans can only dream of. And yet we fans had nothing to do with it; the results come from one man.
He has also been a superb ambassador of Oregon as President of the CFP Committee, and he has fostered a great relationship with Oregon’s most important booster. I, Mr. FishDuck admit to writing and speaking ill of Rob Mullens years ago, but he has proved me completely wrong, and I am thankful for his success on our behalf.
I, for one, am ready to give Rob Mullens his due. How about you?
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!“
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
Top Screenshot from ESPN Video
Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks, a season ticket holder at Autzen Stadium for 35 years and has written reports on football boards for over 23 years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, have a daughter Christine, reside in Eugene Oregon, where he was a Financial Advisor for 36 years and now focuses full-time on Charitable Planned Giving Workshops for churches and non-profit organizations.
He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More…
FishDuck Going to Articles on Monday and Tuesday Only…
Our off-season schedule begins, and we move from publishing articles seven days a week to Mondays and Tuesdays only. Same great group of writers, and we will have an article on other days on occasion.
The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there. At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.
Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!
OBD Forum members….we got your back. No Trolls Allowed!