Oregon will hang on to the same offensive scheme during the next season by promoting offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to become the successor to former head coach Chip Kelly, who left for the Philadelphia Eagles in the cycle of new hiring around the NFL. Shortly after Oregon beat Kansas State 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl, Chip Kelly was expected to move to the NFL. Although Chip Kelly interviewed with Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills, he initially announced the decision to remain stay at Oregon for his fifth season as head coach. However, Chip Kelly decided on Wednesday to take up a head coach job with the Philadelphia Eagles, which left a vacancy at Oregon.
Ducks offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich, who became part of Chip Kelly’s coaching staff since the start of his head coach stint at Oregon, was projected as a top candidate for the job. At the time of Chip Kelly’s expected departure Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said they’d already started reviewing replacements for the head coach job, although there was no timeline for the new hiring. Rob Mullens added that although Oregon was looking in-house for potential head coach candidates, there was "no leader in the clubhouse."
Nevertheless, Mark Helfrich was expected to have a jumpstart given his offensive background and familiarity with Chip Kelly’s no-huddle, spread-option offense that led the Ducks to their fourth consecutive BCS Championship in the four seasons under Kelly. Mark Helfrich, a Southern Oregon alum began his career as a graduate assistant at Oregon State in 1997. He then made quarterback coaching stints at Boise State and Arizona State before a new post at Colorado catapulted him to the youngest offensive coordinator in the BCS. Chip Kelly came calling-in during 2009 offering Mark Helfrich a similar position at Oregon.
Oregon has conducted several interviews with potential head coaching candidates including Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton this week, according to reports. However, Pep Hamilton opted for the Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator job on Friday, prompting Oregon to make the inevitable decision.
"We were looking for a coach who exemplified excellence, leadership and character, and who would embrace what our winning football culture is all about," Rob Mullens said of the new head coach Mark Helfrich. "We found that person in Mark. He is a man devoted to his family, to his players and to this university and community. I am excited to see him lead the Ducks to even greater heights."
Thus, Mark Helfrich becomes the third straight Oregon head coach to take the job up by a series of succession.
Chip Kelly, who started off as an offensive coordinator in 2007 (an opening that mark Helfrich also contested for then) inherited his post after head coach Mike Bellotti departed following the 2008 season. Mike Bellotti, a former Duck offensive coordinator himself landed the head coach gig following Rich Brooks' departure.
Mark Helfrich also promoted wide receivers coach to the new offensive coordinator, according to sources although an official still has to be made by Oregon.
The Ducks (12-1) ranked No.2 in the final AP Top 25 at the end of last season.