Just four days after Chip Kelly left Eugene to take the head coaching position for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Oregon Ducks secured Kelly’s replacement.
On Sunday afternoon, former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich was named as Oregon’s new head coach and only the second native Oregonian in school history to hold that position.
From the moment Helfrich took the podium to address the media and guests, you could hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes, the opportunity to lead the Oregon Duck football program was a dream realized for the 39 year old Helfrich who not long ago graduated from Marshfield High School in Coos Bay.
“I’ve been the luckiest man in the world,” Helfrich said when asked about being elevated to head coach. “… Coaching Oregon is the pinnacle for me.”
At the beginning, Helfrich took time to thank those responsible for his success.
In that group, Helfrich thanked his parents,…particularly his father Mike who was a devout Duck fan and passed away a year ago.
When talking about his father, Helfrich’s voice cracked with emotion.
“I only wish my father were here” said Helfrich. “Today would be a huge day for him,…..Somewhere he’s very proud.”
After his introductory speech, Helfrich fielded questions from the room full of reporters who seemed anxious to learn what changes, if any, were going to be made to the offense that was clearly designed and engineered by his offensive mentor Chip Kelly.
“We will attack in all phases” Helfrich explained.
“The things that have made this place special is this place. Our staff is outstanding. These guys could be anywhere in the country and they’ve chosen to be here with us and with these players….and that speaks volumes to what we’re all about.”
When asked specifically how he’ll be different from Kelly, Helfrich quipped,…”I won’t wear a visor….and I’ll eat more vegetables.”
Also on the minds of reporters were the reports of wide receivers coach Scott Frost being promoted to offensive coordinator.
While Helfrich did a bit of a jig ( dance ) around that question, he did say the two positions that are currently available, ( replacing defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro and offensive coordinator ) will be addressed shortly.
( Watch the media Q & A portion of Mark Helfrich’s press conference by clicking the video box above )