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Oregon Defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt has left the Ducks program (Update)

The Ducks have another vacancy on their coaching staff. Who will fill the DC role?

NCAA Football: Oregon Spring Practice Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

According to Brett McMurphy and other sources, Ducks defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt is leaving the program for reasons unknown as of press time.

Coach Leavitt leaves the program in a better place than he found it defensively when he was hired during the 2016 offseason from the University of Colorado under current Florida State head coach Willie Taggart. He improved the defense in every metric from previous coordinators sometimes by hundreds of places.

Coach Pepsi was not known as a recruiter but as an excellent developer of talent. Numerous prospects and former players in the NFL can attest to his coaching acumen, including several Ducks who were considered non-prospects but somehow found themselves on the NFL radar, including CB Arrion Springs, LB Troy Dye, EDGE Jalen Jelks, and EDGE Justin Hollins.

He will be dearly missed by the program but it was clear that he and head coach Mario Cristobal weren’t on the same page when he was actively looking for a head coaching job this offseason, namely the Kansas State vacancy. I am of the opinion that there was some tension regarding Cristobal’s elevation to head coach over Leavitt and it was a background story.

As for the Ducks, they are without an Inside Linebackers coach as the position was under Leavitt’s purview. According to 247 Sports, it has been stated that Co-DC and Safeties coach Keith Heyward is the logical heir to the DC title. Reportedly, Heyward was the point of contact during the hiring process of the vacant OLB coach position, not Leavitt. As for the financial aspect, due to the freshness of the news, it has not been determined if any buyout clauses were triggered by his "departure".

Wherever he lands, he will have success and I wish him well in his future endeavors.

Good Luck and thanks for the great work while in Eugene, Coach Leavitt!

Oregon is currently without a receivers coach (more on that later) and now a DC / ILB coach.


Oregon isn't responsible for paying the entirety of the buyout owed to Leavitt. It will be offset by the next contract he signs with another team. The terms are that the payments will be made in installments rather than a lump sum.

As speculated, Keith Heyward will be named the new full time DC in short order.