After a disappointing 4-8 record in the 2016 season, Oregon has fired head coach Mark Helfrich.
“We want to thank Mark for his eight years with the University of Oregon and appreciate his efforts on behalf of Oregon football,” athletic director Rob Mullens said in a statement. “We wish Mark and his family the best.”
The decision to fire Helfrich marks the first time since 1976 that Oregon has fired its football coach, as the Ducks have consistently promoted from within once a coach has left for a different position.
Helfrich took over after Chip Kelly’s incredible run with the program ended in 2013, reaching the CFP championship game in his second season with the team.
“It is a great honor to have served as the head football coach at the University of Oregon,” Helfrich said. “It is with respect and disappointment that we receive this decision. Plain and simple – we didn’t win enough games this season.”
While Helfrich holds a very respectable 37-16 mark as Ducks’ head coach, the struggles of this season signaled it was time for a new voice of the program. The main reason behind Oregon’s struggles the past two seasons was its porous defense, ranking 117th in the country in 2015 before dropping even further to 126th this season.
While Helfrich, who served as offensive coordinator under Kelly prior to taking the head coach position, was instrumental in grooming Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, he has struggled to find that success in the two years since the star pivot left for the NFL.
With a rich recent history and incredible financial support from Nike founder Phil Knight, Oregon will be an attractive destination for top coaching candidates throughout the country.