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Bellotti on next man up for Oregon: Promote from within? Former player? Or someone new?

The Oregon Ducks recorded their first road win under head coach Willie Taggart with their 49-13 victory over the Wyoming Cowboys on a cold night at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming. Photo by Austin Hicks, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. - As news broke that Willie Taggart is leaving Oregon to take over as head coach at Florida State, sports director Sky Muller was conducting an interview with Mike Bellotti.

Bellotti served as Oregon's offensive coordinator from 1989 to 1994. He took over as head coach at Oregon after Rich Brooks left the program.

When Bellotti became Oregon's athletic director, his offensive coordinator - Chip Kelly - took over as head coach.

Where should Oregon look?

High on Bellotti's list: Promote from within.

He said both offensive coordinator Mario Cristobal or defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt could do the job.

Bellotti also mentioned one of his former players: Justin Wilcox, head coach at Cal. Wilcox, 41, was born in Eugene and played defensive back for the Ducks from 1996 to 1999.

Also on his watch list:

  • Mike Norvell, Memphis head coach

  • Kevin Sumlin, former Texas A&M head coach

  • Jeff Tedford, Fresno State head coach. Tedford served as offensive coordinator at Oregon from 1998 to 2001.

LISTEN | Interview with Bellotti


Taggart told Director of Athletics Rob Mullens "he has accepted the head football coach position at another institution," Oregon said in a press release.

Mullens appointed co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal as the interim head coach.

Oregon has launched a nationwide search for a new head coach.

Mullens plans a 4 p.m. press conference Tuesday. | WATCH LIVE

“We thank Willie for his efforts at Oregon, and we wish him and his family all the best in the future,” said Mullens. “I am grateful to Mario Cristobal for his willingness to step up and lead our program through our upcoming bowl game. The University of Oregon is a high-caliber academic institution with one of the premier college football programs in the country, and we are confident that we will find another outstanding coach to lead our tremendous group of student-athletes into the future."


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