It happened in an instant.
On Friday at the Valero Alamo Bowl when reporters were set to discuss Oregon’s defense against a talented Longhorn offense, Duck defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti decided to announce his retirement and call it a career.
Through a statement released by the University of Oregon football program about an hour before a scheduled press conference, Aliotti’s stunning decision sent television and print reporters racing to their computers and twitter feeds to spread the word.
When it came time for the press conference, Aliotti casually strolled into the media hotel ballroom flashing his wide smile we’ve all become accustomed to and addressed what everyone wanted to know.
Why,….and what led him to this decision.
“This is something that was going to happen last year” explained Aliotti.
“I told Mark I would go one more year, and therefore I did. After 38 seasons, I coached the very first year after I stopped playing, and so I’ve had a good ride.”
In fact, Aliotti told the room full of media he actually went to mid field of Glendale Stadium last year after the Fiesta Bowl victory over Kansas State and grabbed some turf as a keepsake fully intending to step down.
To stress his point, Aliotti offered the media the opportunity to actually look at the plastic baggy of turf he say’s he keeps in his briefcase to validate that moment.
However, that changed when former Duck head coach Chip Kelly left Eugene for the NFL.
“When Chip left, I decided to stay along with Mark to finish up the recruiting because it seemed like a tough time” said Aliotti.
“We were on 13 kids and wanted to finish the deal. I’m not trying to be a martyr or pat myself on the back. I believe in and love Oregon. I wanted to do a good job by Mark. I wanted to do a good job by these kids without having something to say.”
VIDEO: Watch Friday’s Oregon defense press conference by clicking on the image above.