Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti has won many bowl games and conference titles and led many Duck teams to winning seasons, but has yet to take home a Coach of the Year honor himself, in his entire career.
In 1995, after leading the Ducks to a 9-2 record he was beaten out by then Stanford coach Tyrone Willingham, who led the Cardinal to a 7-4-1 record.
In 2001, with his No. 2 ranked Ducks headed to the Fiesta Bowl he lost out to Washington State’s Mike Price.
In 2005, his Oregon team lost just one regular season game, to USC, and he was left out again, as USC’s Pete Carroll and UCLA’s Karl Dorrell shared the honor.
And in 2007, after taking the pre-season No. 6 pick in the Pac-10 to as high as a No. 2 ranking in the BCS in week 10, only to see injuries derail a potential shot at a National Title, ASU’s Dennis Erickson took home the award.
If Bellotti can get the Civil War victory in Corvallis on Saturday, leading an Oregon team through its many quarterback issues all the way to a second place finish and the Holiday Bowl, he should be a lock for Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
Mike Riley, on the other hand, has never coached a Beaver team to a first or second place finish in the Pac-10. However, if he were to finish off this seemingly miracle run the Beavers are on, it would be his, and by a landslide.
Giving it to someone either than these two would be a surprise. Even it went to Jim Harbaugh, who has done an outstanding job with Stanford this season. His team is not bowl eligible. He’ll have to wait.
So, not only is the Rose Bowl and state pride, etc. at stake on Saturday. But so, too, could be Pac-10 Coach of the Year.