Oregon football's Mark Helfrich dangling by thread, to meet with AD

By The Sports Xchange
Oregon Ducks head football coach Mark Helfrich. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Oregon Ducks head football coach Mark Helfrich. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Oregon head football coach Mark Helfrich will meet with the athletic director this week about his future amid reports the Ducks already are making preparations to conduct a coaching search.

Helfrich is on shaky ground following the 34-24 loss to rival Oregon State on Saturday in Oregon's season finale, dropping the Ducks to 4-8 overall and 2-7 in the Pac-12.


Helfrich told reporters Sunday that he spoke with athletic director Rob Mullens on the phone and the two planned to meet "midweek."

According to USA Today, Oregon made preparations for a coaching search that will follow the eventual firing of Helfrich, but the school has not officially made the decision on the move as of Sunday afternoon.

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Helfrich said Saturday evening that in his previous three seasons as head coach he never had a season-ending meeting or review with Mullens.

Helfrich would be owed an $11.6 million buyout by Oregon if he is fired.

Helfrich is 37-16 overall as a head coach after he succeeded Chip Kelly in 2013, but there has been a significant drop-off since the Ducks' 2014 national championship game loss to Ohio State. This is the first season since 2004 that Oregon is not bowl eligible.


Helfrich asked for a meeting with Mullens on Sunday morning but the athletic director's travel schedule conflicted. Mullens leaves for Texas on Sunday for his role on the College Football Playoff Committee.

"I asked if we could meet today, and it just didn't work out," Helfrich said Sunday.

Helfrich said going out recruiting next week is "not ideal ... less than ideal" because of rumors swirling about his job security.

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"Obviously this kind of situation occurs and it's not ideal for anybody," Helfrich said. "We'll be very honest about everything as is always our approach in recruiting."

Helfrich said if he keeps his job he does not plan to make any changes to the coaching staff.

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