Back in early November, it leaked out to the media that Phil Knight would pay upwards of $10 million per year for the next head coach of the Oregon Ducks. Of course they hadn’t even announced that Mark Helfrich wouldn’t be retained at that point so that might also have been a power move to push the Oregon admin to make that call.
However, although the hire of Willie Taggart wasn’t a move that blew everyone away they sure have made waves with the support hires. First they landed former HC and star Colorado DC Jim Leavitt, who saved Mike MacIntyre’s attempt to rebuild Colorado. Now…
Re: Mario Cristobal hire: Willie Taggart has put together one hell of a staff, pulling a few guys I didn’t think he could land at #Oregon.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 13, 2017
Oregon is getting killed in Pacific Northwest recruiting by Washington, which was a sleeping giant in the region before Chris Peterson took over. They were maintaining their offensive success pretty well under Helfrich but couldn’t figure out how to field good defenses in the wake of Nick Aliotti’s retirement at the end of the Chip Kelly era.
Now they have to figure out how to tap into new recruiting turf or beat Washington for the regional kids and recreate the formula that led to their long rise and dominance in the region over the last decade and a half. It’s a good start to pay some handsome money to get good coaches to try and figure that out. It’ll be interesting to see what Taggart’s strategy is for reversing the trends in the region and getting Oregon back on top. No doubt Phil Knight will give him as much money as he needs to try and prevent Washington from reclaiming their top spot long term.