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TRACK & FIELD
No Events in the Near Future
Few coaches have been as successful developing talent as Don Pellum, who also continues to be involved in much of the program’s recruiting efforts in addition to coaching the team’s middle and weak-side linebackers.
Possessing 32 years of expertise in the realm of collegiate athletics as a player, coach and administrator., he completed his playing career with the Ducks in 1984. The former starting linebacker embarked on his 23-year post-undergraduate association with his alma mater as a graduate assistant coach the following year. Since then, his Oregon tenure has covered a number of responsibilities, including recruiting coordinator as well as 20 years of coaching Oregon’s linebackers, safeties and defensive line. He has remained at Oregon ever since, with the exception of a one-year stint as defensive line coach, strength coach and academic coordinator at Willamette University (1987), as well as three years coordinating the recruiting efforts and serving as assistant athletic director for student services at the University of California (1990-92).
The lure of responsbilities on the field became too much to resist and Oregon couldn’t be happier. No team was better against the run in conference games during the Ducks’ 2009 Rose Bowl run, thanks in part to a group of linebackers. Pac-10 foes averaged only 118.6 rushing yards per contest in addition to Oregon’s league-best total defense in Pac-10 play (316.0 avg.).
Two of his pupils - Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger - shared honors as the Ducks’ second-leading tacklers that year before Matthews elevated his status as the team’s top tackler in 2010.
Both players took their talents to the NFL in 2011.
Pellum successfully molded a deep linebacking corps during UO’s BCS National Championship Game run in 2010 as six of his players finished among the team’s top 15 tacklers.
His group was instrumental in Oregon ranking 12th in the country in scoring defense (18.69 avg.) in 2010, as well as 27th in rushing defense (128.08 avg.).
A year ago, Michael Clay finished second in the Pac-12 in tackles (9.3 avg.), Dewitt Stuckey was third on the team in stops and Josh Kaddu was drafted in the fifth round of the NFL draft by Miami. Yet his influence over the program’s success runs much deeper than just that of statistics.
Pellum has developed a knack for bringing out the best from his players while concerning himself with their development aside from football as well. His players have led Oregon’s defense in quarterback sacks eight times, including 26 of the Ducks’ 38 sacks in 1999 by the defensive front four. Duck fans also fondly remember an inexperienced group prior to the 1994 campaign that keyed back-to-back New Year’s Day bowl appearances following the 1994 and ‘95 campaigns.
In the last three years, he has implemented one of the Ducks’ deepest linebacking corps in recent memory which included Kaddu and Matthws as first-team all-conference picks in 2011 and ‘10, respectively.
Yet few of his accomplishments could be any more rewarding than in 2005 when he transformed a unit which included only one returnee with any significant line-of-scrimmage experience at the major college level. What resulted was a group that helped Oregon lead the Pac-10 Conference in total defense and pass defense, in addition to finishing third in scoring defense. While his trio of 2005 starters began the season accumulating only 89 tackles during their Oregon careers, they tallied 207 between them that year alone.
Included was second-team all-conference outside linebacker Anthony Trucks, who led the team with 99 tackles en route to pacing the Pac-10 in quarterback sacks (11, tied for 8th in the nation), tackles for loss (15.5) and forced fumbles (5, tied for 7th nationally). In all, Pellum has been credited with much of the development for 24 Pac-10 all-league honorees in the last 18 seasons, including 2002 NFL draft choice Wesly Mallard.
One of Oregon’s most popular former players, Pellum returned to coaching on a full-time basis in 1993 following six years as a recruiting coordinator in the Pac-10.
Pellum was responsible with assembling outstanding recruiting classes with Oregon and California, and has been responsible for directing some of the Ducks’ best recruiting efforts in school history since his return. His recruiting efforts helped land him on the list among the nation’s top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com after Oregon’s 2007 recruiting class was ranked 11th in the country.
The 50-year-old Banning, Calif., native was a graduate assistant at Oregon for two years while completing an advanced degree in telecommunications and film, coaching the tight ends, and assembling the scout teams. He also has completed work toward his Ph.D.
Pellum and his wife, Marla, reside in Eugene.