If you didn’t hear it, another huge sigh of relief reverberated around the Oregon football program Wednesday morning as veteran defensive backs coach John Neal decided to remain in Eugene to coach Oregon in 2014.
Early this week, Neal was reported to be interested in the head coaching vacancy at the University of Alabama-Birmingham when former coach Garrick McGee departed to become offensive coordinator at Louisville.
Before joining the Oregon staff, Neal was an assistant coach at UAB from 1995 to 2003.
With Don Pellum’s announcement Tuesday as Oregon’s new defensive coordinator, it was widely speculated Neal would seriously consider a move upward on the coaching ladder especially at UAB where he has coaching ties.
According to Drew Champlin at AI.com, Neal was set to fly to Birmingham today ( Wednesday ) to interview for the head coaching position but suddenly changed his mind according to a source within UAB.
The report says Neal made the decision to remain at Oregon after speaking at length with his family.
The source at UAB said Neal was humbled by the opportunity to return to UAB, but after speaking with his family he decided to remain in Eugene.
Certainly good news for several of Oregon’s defensive back recruits including Arrion Springs who voiced his surprise and concern Tuesday via his twitter account when he learned Neal was reportedly interested in the UAB job.
There’s certainly also relief from returning corner back Ifo Ekpre-Olomu who decided to return to Oregon for his senior season. In his press briefing last week, Ekpre-Olomu partly credited that decision to his close relationship with Neal.