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University of Oregon Ducks Tap Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich as New Head Coach

Mark Helfrich
Eric Evans/University of Oregon

In a move that surprised no one, the University of Oregon has tapped Duck’s offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich as the new head coach, replacing Chip Kelly who took the same position with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Promoting from within is the standard at Oregon; Kelly was the offensive coordinator for Ducks’ head coach Mike Bellotti when he took over. The school believs in stability and has used that to build one of the most successful college programs today.

University of Oregon Athletics Director Rob Mullens said of Helrich during his introductory press conference:

“We were looking for a coach who exemplifies excellence, leadership and character, and who would embrace what our winning football culture is all about. We found that person in Mark. He is a man devoted to his family, to his players and to this University and community, and I am excited to see him lead the Ducks to even greater heights.”

Helfrich was always the front-runner for the position, despite the fact that by state law the team had to interview a minority candidate. That candidate, Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, was hired by the Indianapolis Colts.

Helfrich was also considered the front-runner last year when Kelly flirted with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Helfrich, 39, is an Oregon native. His contract is reported to be for 5 years at $9 million.

The big question remaining is what did Kelly leave behind? Helfrich will maintain much of Kelly’s staff, but there are still big questions regarding the NCAA investigation into recruiting irregularities under Kelly. Did Kelly jump to the NFL because he knew there were big sanctions coming?

Stay tuned Duck fans. It could be a harder transition than you think.

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