Mark Helfrich Fired by Oregon Ducks

Joe PantornoFeatured Columnist

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 19: Head coach Mark Helfrich of the Oregon Ducks looks on in the first half of their game against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

The Oregon Ducks announced the decision to fire head coach Mark Helfrich on Tuesday. 

Helfrich released a statement on the news, via

It is a great honor to have served as the head football coach at the University of Oregon. It is with respect and disappointment that we receive this decision. Plain and simple — we didn't win enough games this season.

Thank you first to my wife, Megan, and our family, the fans, the campus community, the board, our donors and administration. To our coaches, staff and their families, it is impossible to communicate my gratitude for the environment we got to work in every single day.

Finally, to the players — thank you, and I love you. The future is bright for this young, talented team, and we will be supporting them and their new leadership.

On Nov. 26, Dan Wolken and George Schroeder of USA Today reported Oregon was expected to fire Helfrich, as it "has made preparations for a coaching search."

Wolken and Schroeder added that Helfrich has an $11.6 million buyout, which initially created reservations among Oregon brass in terms of firing him. 

In fact, they were hoping that the Ducks' 30-28 win over then-No. 11 Utah in Week 12 would have been enough to ensure he would come back for a fifth season. 

The loss on Saturday to Oregon State, though, dropped Oregon's record to 4-8 in 2016, which is by far the worst mark during Helfrich's tenure with the team. 

In his first three years with the program, the Ducks went 33-8, including a Rose Bowl win and national championship appearance in 2014.

But Oregon's defensive woes made it impossible for the program to succeed. With an average of 42.1 points allowed per game, the Ducks defense is ranked 126th in the nation. That's an inexcusable number for a team that entered the season ranked in the Top 25 and had hopes of winning the Pac-12. 

Now Oregon is looking for a new coach who can help fix one of the worst defenses in college football. 


Stats courtesy of