Before Oregon became the intimidating force they currently are utilizing Chip Kelly’s “Blur Offense,” Mike Bellotti was running the show. Bellotti took over the head coaching job in 1995 after Rich Brooks left for the NFL, and he turned the Ducks into a perennial Pac-10 contender.
Under Bellotti, the team enjoyed its first double-digit win season in school history, winning the Holiday Bowl in 2000 while going 10-2. The next year they went 11-1 with Joey Harrington at quarterback, their best year ever. Bellotti stepped down as coach to become the school’s athletic director two years ago and turned things over to Kelly. Not long after that, he left his post with the school to become a college football commentator.
Colorado just fired coach Dan Hawkins this week, creating a vacancy at a prominent school. Mike Leach and Mark Mangino were successful coaches at Big 12 schools and both are available. Apparently Bellotti is too.
The former Oregon coach told The Denver Post “[he and Colorado] had some initial talks, nothing more than that” and that he would need more information about Colorado to determine his interest in their opening. More importantly, he said “I’m interested in getting back in coaching. But it would have to be the right situation.”
Memo to coaches on the hot seat (I’m looking at you, Neuheisel): get your act together because there are other good coaches on the market. Aside from Leach and Mangino who were already available, now we know Bellotti is too. This information should give athletic directors more reason to closely evaluate their coaching staff; I can already think of several over whom Bellotti would be an upgrade.