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A Reasonable $10,000,000 Coaching Search

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Eight figures can get you a lot, but there are a lot of bad ideas out there. Tako is here to help find cost-effective solutions.

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Trail Blazers v Kings
He’s saying OOOOOOOOOOOOO
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A Darren Rovell Tweet of dubious origin and relevance set off a furor among Ducks fans. Surprised?

Is it possible that “talk heating up” means “I said this idea to myself, and then said it again, but LOUDER”? Sure. Regardless of legitimacy though, it’s an interesting idea: given ten million dollars, what coach could/should Oregon go and get? Sean posed this question to the ATQmunnity on Sunday. The answers ranged from “wouldn’t happen for any sum of money” (Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll), to “bad fit for recruiting/program culture” (Les Miles, Ed Orgeron, Tom Herman), to the just plain “Your idea is bad, and you should feel bad.” (Mark Stoops).

Jim Tressel, Jon Gruden, and John Harbaugh are mentioned in the comments, without a hint of irony.

Here’s an actual comments quote from valued ATQ user, and accomplished author (From Surviving to Thriving on bookstore shelves now: buy one, hell, buy two) JonathanPDX:

I would prefer Saban because his players are slightly less rapey.

Probably not the best quote to pull if I want you to buy his book. Sorry Jonathan. My point is, that comments section got out of control and unreasonable, very quickly. I’m not here to be unreasonable, as I proved the last time I wrote a coaching wish list piece, before Oregon basketball hired Dana Altman.

Okay, well let’s not bring up old shit. Did I seriously use “needless to say”? Ugh, I’m the worst.


So here’s what I’m looking for in this hypothetical hire:

  • Can we get it for $10,000,000?
  • Would it actually make sense at Oregon?
  • Would it make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field?
  • Would it actually accept our offer?

First, let’s rule out some of the popular choices:

Nick Saban

  • Can we get him for $10,000,000? Sure.
  • Would he actually make sense at Oregon? Maybe. It’d be a weird culture fit; he’d hate the uniform thing, he’d get annoyed with the lack of giant linemen on the west coast, and having to play 10:30 PM eastern games isn’t fun for anyone, especially someone used to having that SEC visibility bias on his side.
  • Would he make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? Probably, yes. He’s a really good game planner, adaptive to his personnel, and really values depth of roster. He doesn’t really have strong recruiting ties up here, though he’s Nick Damn Saban, he’d get to know the west coast real quick. I really don’t like the way he uses grayshirts and oversigning.
  • Would he actually accept our offer? Hell no.

Chip Kelly

  • Can we get him for $10,000,000? I’m not 100% sure Chip Kelly uses the same monetary system we do, so this wouldn’t really be the thing that gets him here. I’m convinced Chip Kelly would coach a football team for $30,000 a year if it was something he really wanted to do.
  • Would he actually make sense at Oregon? For Oregon, he makes complete sense, because we know exactly what we’d be getting. If Chip Kelly ever decides to come back to college, his offensive philosophy and program culture are great equalizers that are less effective on their own in the NFL.
  • Would he make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? He won a conference championship with Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback.
  • Would it actually accept our offer? No. He’s done this before. He has no need to do it again. I’ll say it before, and I’ll say it again: Chip Kelly is never, ever, ever, getting back together with Oregon.

Les Miles

  • Can we get him for $10,000,000? Yes.
  • Would he actually make sense at Oregon? If you’ve been frustrated with Oregon’s lack of quarterback development, and you think Les Miles is gonna solve it, you’ve got yourself a problem. Hiring Miles would be a gigantic culture shift, and Oregon would come out of 2-3 bad transition seasons as a team that wants to win with defense and power running, only doesn’t really have the right athletes to win that way because they’re all still down south. Essentially, we’d be a colder version of Arizona State.
  • Would he make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? ...no.
  • Would he actually accept our offer? He isn’t doing anything else, so maybe.

How about some more plausible choices?

PJ Fleck

  • Can we get him for $10,000,000? Yes.
  • Would he actually make sense at Oregon? Kind of, yeah. He’s really only ever coached in the Midwest, but he’s young and crazy, he likes a good program-wide mantra (his is “Row the Boat”), he’s an offensive-minded coach who’s built Western Michigan into a Top-25 team, and looks ready to make the leap to a big program.
  • Would he make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? Maybe. My big hangup about hiring another offensive-minded coach (Scott Frost is another version of this same gripe) is that we already have that in Mark Helfrich. So if we’re going to replace an offensive-minded coach with another version of the same thing, it better be a markedly better version. Otherwise, we’d just be throwing needless amounts of transition into the mix for potentially negligible programs gains.
  • Would he actually accept our offer? Yes, though if another school comes calling that’s closer to his base (hey there Notre Dame), it’d be harder to get him.

Tom Herman

  • Can we get him for $10,000,000? Probably, yes.
  • Would he actually make sense at Oregon? Eh, maybe. The bulk of his coaching career has taken place in Texas, and everyone seems convinced he isn’t leaving Houston for a job outside that region of the country. Everyone has him pegged for jobs like Texas or LSU as his next step up, not Oregon.
  • Would he make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? Same story as Fleck: if you’re gonna replace offense with offense, you better be sure as hell it’s a step up, especially considering the recruiting inroads between Helfrich and staff and whatever new staff would come in.
  • Would he actually accept our offer? I doubt it.

We’ve talked a lot about names that are out there. Let’s go through some more... under the radar choices.

Steve Spurrier

  • Can we get him for $10,000,000? We’d probably have to also let him on the golf team; not as the coach, mind you, but as a player.
  • Would he actually make sense at Oregon? Feels right, doesn’t it? He’s a player’s coach, he’s funny, he likes to score points.
  • Would he make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? Probably not. His South Carolina teams were pretty bad when he abruptly quit last year, and he just doesn’t have the energy for this job any more.

Would he actually accept our offer? Heck no.

Jared Leto

  • Can we get him for $10,000,000? Yes, especially if we can convince him that this is necessary for an acting role, and get him to go full method.
  • Would he actually make sense at Oregon? Leto starred as Steve Prefontaine in Prefontaine, the less rom-com of the two Pre movies. Billy Crudup’s performance is generally more well-regarded, but Leto seems more likely to do something dumb like switch careers.
  • Would he make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? No.
  • Would he actually accept our offer? No.

Rasheed Wallace

  • Can we get him for $10,000,000? Yes. He hasn’t made more than $10 mil in a year since his last year with the Pistons in 2008-09. As much as it looks to get paid to shoot this shit with Kevin Garnett on TNT, I bet he’d be okay with making an eight-figure salary again.
  • Would he actually make sense at Oregon? Sure! He’s got Pacific Northwest ties, he’s a combination of hypercompetitive, affable and charming, and batshit insane. He’s basically a taller LeGarrette Blount, and he worked out great at Oregon.
  • Would he make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? Difficult to say: he’s never coached college football before, so there’s no evidence that he’d be good at it. There’s no evidence he’d be bad at it either, though.
  • Would he actually accept our offer? I bet he would.

2 million actual ducks

  • Can we get them for $10,000,000? Yes. A quick look online shows if I buy enough ducks at once, I can get them for less than $4 each.
  • Would they actually make sense at Oregon? They’re ducks, so...duh.
  • Would they make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? Off the field? Absolutely. They’d have unlimited duck eggs to eat, they could walk them on leashes at pregame walkthrough, and the skies above Autzen Stadium would be much more enjoyable. On the field? We wouldn’t be able to play because all those ducks wouldn’t fit on the field at one time.

Would they actually accept our offer? I’m not sure they’d be aware that they were the head coach of anything, and may just fly away without telling anyone.


And now, my official endorsement for Mark Helfrich’s replacement as Oregon head football coach.

A metric ton of marijuana

  • Can we get it for $10,000,000? If I did my math right, a metric ton of weed will cost somewhere between 5 and 12 million dollars. So, as long as your hookup isn’t trying to play you, then yes.
  • Would it actually make sense at Oregon? Nothing has ever made more sense at Oregon than a metric ton of marijuana.
  • Would it make Oregon’s football team better, both on and off the field? Yes. Oregon players would be able to easily manage their levels of anxiety, in both academic and athletic settings, and there is a growing vocalization among football players that marijuana is a hell of a lot better as a pain reliever than the current methods currently in place. A low-stress, low-pain football team is a successful football team.
  • Would it actually accept our offer? Oh yes. Would the NCAA accept our offer? That’s another question.