Some random thoughts on the first day of the Mark Helfrich hostage crisis:
- I swear, it's still difficult for me to get past the fact that to let their football coach go, the Ducks must pay him $11 million to leave. For a man who has won a total of 37 games as head coach in his career? This is college football today, folks: Out. Of. Control.
- Whatever UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens is doing right now in regard to Coach Mark Helfrich, he probably should have done weeks ago. Trying to gauge interest some other coach might have in choosing Oregon? Negotiating a contract with another coach? Doing a background check on a coach? ALL of that could have been done earlier. Coaches have agents and agents are middlemen. You can connect with them on background and still have the ability to deny talking to the actual coaches. Don't you think Texas had a lot of work done in advance when it hired Tom Herman the day after the season ended?
- Is Mullens still trying to make up his mind about this? I would find that impossible, either way. A man in his position has to be more decisive than that.
- Speaking of hiring a new coach, I'm not a fan of search firms. A good athletic director at that level should know full well who he wants to hire. That's part of the job. Search firms tend to be riddled with conflicts of interest that don't necessarily serve the client well.
- It's hard to believe that Mullens holds Helfrich in high regard if he's OK with allowing him (and his staff) to twist in the wind like this in front of fans, boosters and media. And it's hard to believe he'd have a very good working relationship with him if he brings him back next season.
- Hiring a new football coach is likely to be the biggest move Mullens will ever make at Oregon and he'll be staking his own job on his selection. So that might be bringing a little stage fright.
- The state of Oregon has a Rooney Rule, you know. At least one minority must be interviewed before the job is filled. Theoretically, at least.
- I'm not one to believe the entire pack of Oregon assistant coaches has to be let go if Helfrich is fired. If they're so good, a new coach would certainly want to keep some of them. Usually there are coaches retained on both sides of the ball as a bridge to a new coach and his system.
- If the head coach and all his assistants are suddenly gone, I hope our state doesn't go bankrupt -- at some point it's going to be a pretty big hit on PERS.