Is Dana Altman Safe From Poachers?

Ryan Robertson Editorials 15 Comments

Dana Altman has been a phenomenon as head coach of the Oregon men’s basketball team. He is the winningest coach in program history by a large margin, he has the most conference titles and the most NCAA Tournament appearances in school history, and he has far and away the best winning percentage of any coach the school has ever seen. Altman is already statistically the best men’s basketball coach in school history, with a chance to end his career with no doubt about him being the best in school history.

That is, unless someone steals him.

Altman is a hot commodity. Sitting at 690 career wins as a head coach, he has the 61st most wins in NCAAM history. With so many wins, and seemingly so many more years of coaching ahead of him, Altman is seasoned enough to attract the biggest schools, but young enough to leave some doubt that he might leave Oregon. Phil Knight won’t let one of the Oregon sports programs lose such an important figure without a fight, but the Ducks are struggling to get over the hump and win an NCAA Tournament title under Altman. Could he be persuaded to leave Oregon for a blue blood with a head coaching vacancy?

Mike Krzyzewski retired from Duke recently, but the Blue Devils quickly scooped up a replacement. Roy Williams retired from North Carolina, Krzyzewski left Duke, and by my estimation: Juwan Howard is going to be able to leave Michigan for the NBA if he so desires. There are several NBA head coaching jobs open that may pry top NCAA coaches from the ranks. Altman doesn’t fit the mold of an NBA coach, but several other coaches could be brought up to the NBA.

Will any of the open jobs be good enough to get Altman out of Eugene, or will he see the departures as his opportunity to get Oregon a championship?

Ryan Robertson
Yuma, Arizona
Top Photo By: Twitter

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Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Oregon Baseball on ESPN2 Tonight at 7:00 PM

The Ducks lost last night to LSU 4-1, and that forces a final game tonight which decides who wins the regional and moves onto the Super-Regional. Let’s GO DUCKS!

(For you Baseball guys out there–who does Coach Waz start? Mosiello?)


Not gonna happen!


I don’t see Dana leaving. You have about 10 programs that I would put above Oregon basketball currently. None of those programs appeared to come after Dana. I think Dana’s last game as a coach comes with the Ducks. At 64, I don’t think he is young enough that most schools are not going to want him for 5 years. Coaches over age 70 are the exception, not the rule. I can see Dana shooting for 800 wins.


I seem to remember that at one point DA said he planned to be at Oregon until he retired–and that he was not going to wait until he was really old to retire. :) So he may be “gone” in a couple of years, but not to take another coaching job.


I hope not! I would think it unlikely. Kids leave ALL the programs, so…….what’s an improvement on Oregon, when you’re 64 years old, earn a fortune, and live in one of the best places on Earth(and your pension gets better every year you’re on the job)? I’d be surprised if he went anywhere else, but…….then again, I’m surprised every day!

J Duck

Well of course I think he’ll bring us a championship! This roster he has assembled for next year has a lot of talent and veterans. It’ll all come down to chemistry and getting them to play like guys that have been together for 3 years and not 1. That is how Virginia did is a couple years ago…not a bunch of 5 star one-and-done players, but I think there were 2 Senior, 2 Junior, and 1 Soph. starting? Kentucky’s full wave of 5 star backups coming on the court for the 5×5 star starters went undefeated but choked in the national semi’s. I think DA is the master of getting them ready by March…this could be the year! If the big’s develop and can stay healthy…watch out

Darren Perkins

I think he stays. He stayed at Creighton for 17 years, accepted the Arkansas job in 2007 and then backed out. Point being, he doesn’t move easily. He’s got some Mark Few in him. He doesn’t strike me as the type who wants to follow the foot-steps of legends or join a basketball blue-blood. I think he knows he has a good thing wants to be the guy who turned Oregon into a basketball school.

Of course, I could be wrong ; )

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

Darren, you and I are like many economists out there; often wrong, but never in doubt!

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck

I think Notalot brings up a number of good points and I would agree that I don’t see Dana leaving over more money. However his recruiting is now at a high level, but not at what the biggest programs achieve.

What if he wonders how well his offense and defense could do if he had say, Duke, recruiting? He might actually find it a touch easier to win a NC at one of those places and considering all he has done–it would be the last challenge left for him.

I do worry about losing him someday…


Interesting topic, I suppose he deserves to go where he wants. I hope he chooses to stay, a man of great skill and integrity.

He is the highest paid state employee, but not even in the top 20 of college coaches in pay. He also is only the third highest paid coach in the Pac-12. If pay is really important to him he may leave, I suppose. I don’t see that as a driving force, but who knows.

Santa Rosa Duck

If he is the highest paid state employee, that would suggest that he is making more than Mario Christobal and I doubt that. Just how much does Dana Altman get paid? Thanks for the article Ryan.


Got it from an article almost a year old, may not be accurate now. It does make a point about a ceiling when he is already pushing a potential boundry.

Interestingly, at the time same article, Chip Kelly was the highest paid state employee in California. One must realize sc, is a private school, doesn’t count on the public employee list.

J Duck

Yeah I think MC is the highest paid state employee, not sure Moorhead doesn’t even make more than DA? Be interesting to look it up, I don’t file that stuff away too much in my little 56k brain drive


Ryan, you chose a topic of wide interest. Coach Altman has earned the respect and appreciation of fans.

Your article left out key actors in Coach Altman’s decision tree. The AD, Rob Mullens, surely does not want Dana Altman to go anywhere. Altman makes Mullen’s life easier.

Then there is the team. Coach Altman is a teacher from a family of educators. He may have the deepest and most talented group of players to coach in his long coaching history. Raised with character and ethical values of commitment and loyalty I do not see Coach Altman leaving his team and the legacy he built.

He can do everything at Oregon including winning national championships. I don’t see him as someone seeking the bright lights of big cities, though I’m sure that Altman’s agent gets plenty of calls.

I hope that Coach Altman retires as a Duck. However, he has done so much for Ducks basketball, that despite the disappointment I would feel should he go elsewhere, I would follow his team and wish him well.

Dana Altman is a true Man of Oregon.

J Duck