So Oregon fired our football coach Mark Helfrich last night. So now we have to look for a new coach. What should we look for in a new coach, and who do I think we should hire?
Obviously, the first criteria is that this coach is a proven winner. But at Oregon, it’s more than winning. Oregon is a unique brand, not every coach will be a good fit for us. Oregon loves to be different, to be weird. We’re also high energy though. Our fans are passionate. We like to wear a million different uniforms. We like to score a million points every game, while having a fast creative defense that feasts on turnovers. We have an identity, although one reason why Mark Helfrich struggled so much and got fired is because he doesn’t have an identity. So, we need a coach with an identity. Mike Bellotti was about running the ball, and stopping the run. Chip Kelly was about Win The Day and Fast Hard Finish. We can’t be like UW, or USC, or Alabama or Ohio State or Oklahoma. We can’t try to be like other schools, we need a coach that makes other schools want to be like us again. We need a coach who makes Oregon be Oregon again. So who’d be good candidates? There’s two guys who come to mind.
The first is Western Michigan coach PJ Fleck. He went 1-11 his first year, 8-5 the next two seasons, and is now 12-0 this year. He knows how to build a program from the ground up. He’s young and is high energy. He runs up and down the sidelines. He’s also different, unique from everyone else, because of his mantra he gets his players to buy in with. His manta is “row the boat” which is perfect for Oregon. It’s a corny mantra, weird, but his players buy into it, and Oregon as a program would buy into it too. PJ Fleck would be a natural fit at Oregon, and while MAC coaches don’t always succeed at Power 5 schools, he’s worth taking the chance on.
The other guy who comes to mind is, well, Chip Kelly. Of anyone in the world, he is the most perfect coach for Oregon. He’s super unlikely to return though, as bad as he’s doing in the NFL. Everyone already knows why he’s the perfect coach for us, so I won’t go into it. The only question is, would he want to come back?
I would mention Scott Frost, but he’s only been a head coach at UCF for one year, so he’s still unproven as a coach, even though he got UCF from 0-12 to 6-6. He needs a few more years at UCF to show that he is indeed a good coach, by improving on the 6-6. If Scott Frost continues to win more at UCF in the coming years, then we can go get him, if our next coach doesn’t work out. However, for the time being, Scott Frost shouldn’t be a candidate, even though he’d be a great fit.
Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, he’d be a good candidate, but nobody has really mentioned him. He’s done all he can do at Mississippi State, got them to a New Year’s Six game, knows how to recruit. If you can get Mississippi State to a New Year’s Six game, you can get Oregon to the ‘Natty.
Bryan Harsin at Boise State, no. He’s the Mark Helfrich of Boise. Lane Kiffin, no. He’s an asshole. Les Miles, no. Les Miles is terrible at offense, he’d be a terrible fit, although his weird personality would fit right in at Eugene. Any current offensive coordinators, no. Oregon needs a head coach who is a proven winner.
Now, my opinion. Chip Kelly is highly unlikely to come back, so I think the right coach, the perfect guy for Oregon right now is WMU coach PJ Fleck. Let’s go get him. Oregon, row the boat.