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Mark Helfrich Announcement Quotes
Release Date: 01/20/2013
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Athletic Director Rob Mullens
Opening Statement…

“Let me start by thanking everyone for coming out today, it’s a special day for the Oregon family. I’d also like to acknowledge and thank President Gottfredson for his support throughout the process and though he had to be out of town today, I know he shared my enthusiasm for today’s announcement. I also want to thank our fans, the coaches and our student athletes for their input, support and patience as navigate towards this transition. It again reaffirmed the strength and bond of the Oregon family and it’s this bond that has propelled Oregon football to become one of the premier programs in the country. We’re fortunate to have a world-class university, a passionate fan base, so many generous donors, state of the facilities, tremendous student athletes, coaches and staff and an impressive record of success. This belief was only further cemented during the search process as I received interests from an impressive list of coaches throughout the football world. We were looking for a coach who exemplified excellence, leadership, character and who would embrace what our winning culture is all about, we found that person in Mark Helfrich. Mark has 17 years of college coaching experience at the very highest levels and has been vitally important to our success the last four years. He’s a man devoted to his family, to his players, to his university and community and I’m excited to see Mark lead the Ducks to even greater heights.”

On the other candidates…

“We talked with an awful lot of people. We conducted five in-person interviews, but we talked to several other people on the phone. As you can imagine, there were a lot of calls. We had multiple internal candidates, I don’t want to identify a number, but we had multiple internal candidates. We’ve got a great staff and great student-athletes. A lot goes into producing the type of success we’ve had, so naturally we’re going to have multiple internal candidates.”

On Mark Helfrich

“Mark is a great coach, we got to visit with a lot of great coaches and what we learned through this process, reaffirmed exactly what we thought about Mark. We went through this process because we thought it was important to do our due diligence and everything kept pointing back to Mark Helfrich and that’s why we are happy to be here today announcing Mark.”

Pressure on getting a new head coach chosen quickly…

“Our number one goal was to have long-term success, so we wanted to find the right person. Time was a factor, but it was not the leading factor.”

On conducting the search so quickly…

“You’re always thinking about these things. This didn’t start on Wednesday at 7:15 when I got the call. We were very aware a year ago that this was a possibility and very aware shortly after the Fiesta Bowl that this was a possibility, so the wheels are always spinning. You don’t start the clock when you get the official resignation. These things are always happening, while people always want to say it took x number of days, there is a process that starts long before that. We were very thorough, internally and externally. I talked to a lot of people: NFL people, agents, scouts, athletic directors and other coaches. We gathered a lot of input and fortunately for us it all pointed back to one person and he happened to live right here at the same zip code.”

On continuity being a factor in choosing the next head coach…

“Mark’s a great coach, that’s why he’s named the Head Football Coach today. He exemplifies everything we want, excellence, leadership and character. Continuity was a bonus and the fact that he has deep roots in Oregon is a bonus, but it was not the driving focus. We wanted an outstanding leader to continue the tradition of Oregon Football and that’s why Mark Helfrich is being named the head coach today. Continuity has played a role in our success so it is a nice bonus.”

Why Mark is the right guy for the job…

“I’ve been fortunate to see Mark in a lot of different settings, whether it’s in the office, in the locker room, on the practice field, setting the tone for this process that makes this program successful. He has a clear vision and he has shown the ability to make difficult decisions and that’s what he want, someone who really wants to be the caretaker of this program and make sure that we keep moving forward.“

Last in-person interview…

“The last in-person interview was conducted on Friday and I would say the decision process really happened Friday night when we were really getting after it.”

Contrasting leadership styles between Helfrich and Kelly…
“They are different personalities, they are different people, but our focus is on the process. They both have a very clear vision of what they want, they’ve had very high standards and again they can sell that vision and make the difficult decisions to get to that process and that’s what this is all about, this is why this culture here is unique. The team meeting last night was outstanding, without giving the specifics, the energy of the student-athletes and the clarity of who we are and where we are going forward just solidified that this is the exact right decision.”

Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich

Opening Statement…

“Thank you Rob and I’d also like to echo his comments about President Gottfredson for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. Also huge thank you to my family, my wife Megan and our son Max and our daughter Maggie, I love you guys and thank you so much for everything you’ve done throughout this whole process as well as making my life complete. I’d also like to thank my parents; my father past away last year and today would have been a huge day for him, somewhere he’s very proud. I’d also like to thank Chip Kelly for bringing me here four years ago, a great friend of mine. He’s guy who I look forward to watching his career, I wish him a tremendous amount of success in Philadelphia, he’s a great man and he’s taught me much more in the past four years than we could discuss here today. There are so many other reasons why today is special for me, growing up in Oregon, raised about two hours from here, playing pick up football in Autzen Stadium and dreaming of someday playing in Autzen Stadium. Luckily for Duck fans I was never allowed to play in Autzen Stadium, Coach Bellotti at the time made a very good evaluation, but there were a couple high school games in there, but that was the extent of that dream. My dad went to school here and played here and my uncle played football here, my brother, his wife and my mom, so many other of my family and friends went to school here, and it just makes this home. Coaching at Oregon is the pinnacle for me. I kind of fell in love with the notion of being a coach when I played at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay for Kent Wigle and just seeing the influence that he had on thousands of young people and that’s something I take with me to this day. It’s an unbelievable honor to be around our players everyday and just teaching the value of hard work and the value of controlling what you can control and just having a great time doing something you love, that’s something we really try and push. The relationships formed between coach to player, player to player, and coach to coach is something that is unmatched in any other business, in athletics it’s kind of the ultimate reality TV for some people, but it’s real lives and that’s very special to me. Brian Jackson, a guy from Hoover, Alabama, me a guy from Coos Bay, Oregon and a guy from LA can all come together and fight for the same goal, that’s a unique deal to me. Because of the foundation laid by Rich Brooks, Mike Bellotti, Chip Kelly and the incredible support of Phil Knight and his family and Pat Kilkenny and his family, the Oregon athletic family, this place is known among the nation as elite for many reasons. There’s so many reasons why this is a special place to me, it’s how we play, it’s our fans support, it’s our world-class facilities and the international reputation of this University. The other group I need to single out here today is our coaching staff, each one of those guys could be somewhere else and to have their faith in me, that means more than I can express and I thank those guys in a huge way. It’s the former players of all ages and abilities, you guys are welcome around here at anytime, this is your program. Mostly for me it’s about our student-athletes and I had an unbelievable meeting with those guys last night. We have a special group of guys, with an unshakeable commitment to each other, again thank you and that’s what makes this the best job in America. If I was a recruit and I had a chance to be one of those guys’ teammates, I’d be on board, I’d jump in, ask where I sign and get on the next flight. Going forward we will attack on all phases, we will embrace innovation and we will strive our best to win each and every day. To the great fans of this program and university community, I promise you we will work as hard as we possibly can to make you proud. It’s an honor for me to be chosen as the caretaker of Oregon football, thank you and Go Ducks.”

On looking to fill coaching vacancies within the program…
“That’s a process we’ve already begun. There’s so many things that go into it, there will probably be another wave of hiring and potentially firings  in the NFL following the next couple weeks and that will be announced here as soon as we get those things finalized.”

On the continuity continuing for the program…
“We (Chip Kelly) and I are different guys, but the thing that makes this place special is the players and the people. Our staff is outstanding, these guys could be anywhere in the country almost and they chose to be here with us and with these players and I think that speaks volumes to what we are about.”

Differences between him and Chip Kelly…
“It’s going to be 99.2% very similar, but there is going to be that .2% where you’re going to go woah that’s totally different. I won’t wear a visor, I’ll eat more vegetables. We’re about a process, we’re all about an end game, it’s all about the process and the players.”

Immediate changes he plans to make…
“I don’t think there is anything that is outwardly apparent, I think there is streamline stuff, whether its how you recruit or how you run practice and all the little things in the process. We’re not going to be under center with four tight ends, there’s not really going to be anything noticeably different I don’t think.”

On his promotion…

“I’m a pretty simple guy and I love what I do. It’s bizarre that someone would take my picture when I’m standing there drinking a bottle of water.”
“I’m part of a big operation and I take that very seriously.”
“I’ve enjoyed every situation I’ve been in and worked hard. Hopefully I will continue to do that.”

On his relationship with Chip Kelly…

“He (Chip Kelly) has been a huge influence on me. I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and for, a ton of great people going back to when I went to school in southern Oregon. You take a little bit of everybody with you.”
“We have a great relationship. Chip will be a lifelong friend. I respect him a ton and wish him nothing but the best.”

On offensive play-calling…
“I’m very comfortable calling plays and we have several guys on our staff who are comfortable calling plays and we’re not worried about that right now, we are worried about our business and the process, that stuff will take care of itself. We have a plan. We will address that probably after spring ball. There’s a lot that goes into that. It depends on who the other hires are.”

On recruiting…
“We are 100% the same philosophically. We’re going to recruit character. We’re going to recruit attitude. We’re going to recruit toughness, and hopefully those guys are fast too.”
“We’re not going to make exceptions for character. We want great people in our program… and we’re not going to compromise that.” 
“There are so many things that make this place unique that have nothing to do with one person. This place, these people, these players; that’s what makes this place special.”
“The Oregon brand is so amazing in terms of the caliber of people that have been interested in coming here.”
“I grew up in this state. I know what football means to a guy in Coos Bay or a guy in Heppner, Oregon. I know that there are houses divided, and that’s part of the deal. We want everybody involved… and we’re going to do our best to make everybody feel involved.”

On opening practice to the public…
“So many of those things are out of our control. It’s a safety thing on some level, but we’ll cross that bridge.”

Player Quotes

#8 QB Marcus Mariota

On new head coach Mark Helfrich

“I feel like we all really wanted Coach Helfrich. Since the moment that we heard {the announcement} last night, the vibe of the team has been unreal. As a player, that makes me really excited. I’m looking forward to getting this whole thing going.”
“We’re all definitely very excited. For myself, I’m excited to continue to learn from someone like him. He has a lot of football intelligence.”

On next season…

“We’re going to take it one day at a time. Win the day doesn’t change for us. We’re going to continue to live with that mentality and look forward to tomorrow.”

On offensive play-calling…

“Honestly, I don’t think there will be much change. Coach Kelly had a tendency to want to keep things going and I think Coach Helfrich feels that way, too.”
 “If we can continue our pace and push it further, that would be crucial for us.”

#90 DT Ricky Heimuli

On the defense’s future without Jerry Azzinaro

“Obviously, he was a great coach for us and he brought us a long way. It’s going to be hard to adjust without him, but we haven’t let his culture die. One thing he always emphasized to us is to not forget who we are and how we got here. We are Oregon football and how we got here is we won the day everyday. That doesn’t change for any of us.”

#6 RB De’Anthony Thomas

On the team’s reaction to the new head coach announcement
“We had a great feeling after our meeting last night. I feel like our team is excited for Coach Helfrich to step up. We have to focus on what we need to do and live in the moment.”
“I feel like our team has a great vibe and we are ready to go. I can’t wait to get these spring practices in and go from there.”

#12 DB Brian Jackson

On head coach Mark Helfrich

“That’s who we wanted to step into that role. He’s been here with us and understands how the program rolls. I don’t think there’s a better way to keep this thing rolling than to get someone who was already in this with us from the beginning.”
“We’re ready for him to take us where we need to go next and I feel like this team’s going to take off soon.”
“When they announced our new coach would be Mark Helfrich, everybody gave him a standing ovation. I like him a lot and it will be fun for me to finally be coached by him. I think everybody is all on board and we’re ready to be coached by him. I think he’ll be a force.”

On the program’s future without Chip Kelly...

“We have a lot of players coming back. We were the ones that kept this thing rolling last year. Yes, we have our coaches and play-callers, but it’s us out there who are performing these plays. We have slight changes, but I think everything will be pretty much the same.”
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