Some thoughts about the Mark Helfrich news conference

Some thoughts about the Mark Helfrich news conference
January 22, 2013, 9:30 am
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Exclusive: Mark Helfrich with Dwight Jaynes

I wanted to make sure that I publicly noted how impressed I was with several facets of the Oregon news conference for Mark Helfrich Sunday afternoon in Eugene. A few things of interest:

  • The Duck athletic department really is a family. Not only did Helfrich have his wife and children there, the athletic department family was well represented. Basketball coach Dana Altman, associate athletic director and former head track coach Vin Lananna, golf coach Casey Martin, and most of the football assistant coaches were in attendance. And they all seemed genuinely pleased to see Helfrich get this job.
  • Along with the normal news release about Helfrich, there was another media handout and one that I don't think I've ever received previously. It was a copy of Helfrich's coaching contract. Hey, it's a state school and these things are a matter of public record. Among the items of interest in the contract: If he wins 11 games, one of which must be a BCS bowl or playoff win, he gets a year added to his contract; the contract is for five years, at $1.8 million per year; he gets two cars and a country club membership; there's up to $200,000 in academic-related bonuses; he can earn an extra $835,000 for bowl-participation, conference titles, wins and other performance incentives. He also gets 12 tickets to all home football games and use of a skybox suite.
  • There probably is something to the fact that Helfrich is an Oregon guy. At least he doesn't talk too fast and out of the side of his mouth. But in terms of wanting to stay at Oregon forever, I wouldn't put that on him. If this guy has a great deal of success and the Green Bay Packers want to hire him, I wouldn't think badly of him for wanting to go.
  • How will he be different from Chip Kelly? Well, he wouldn't get into specifics but if I had to guess, I'd say the Ducks might just throw the ball a little more than they have in the past. Helfrich, at his other stops, was involved with some pretty impressive passing attacks.
  • Kudos to athletic director Rob Mullens for handling the search in a timely, yet seemingly thorough manner.
  • There's never been a coach at Oregon take over the football program under more pressure than Helfrich. Win 10 games? Well, that used to be a big deal but now, not so much. I wish him luck.