Coaching Profile: Mike Bellotti

The former Oregon head coach has been a name surrounding the vacant head coaching job at Arizona. Read on to learn more about why he may or may not be a fit at UA.

Coach: Mike Bellotti


1977-1978:Offensive coordinator at Cal State Hayward

1979: Offensive coordinator at Weber State

1980-1983: Offensive coordinator at Cal State Hayward

1984-1988: Head coach at Chico State (21-25-2 record)

1989-1994: Offensive coordinator at Oregon

1995-2008: Head coach at Oregon (116-55 record)

2009-2010: Athletic Director at Oregon

Current Position: College football analyst for ESPN and ABC

Philosophy: No matter the personnel he's had, Belotti has found a way to produce top offenses year in and year out at Oregon. At Oregon, he ran both the "West Coast Offense" and eventually switched to the spread-option at Oregon, and produced a top 25 passing offense six times in 15 years. In 2007 and 2008, his Ducks ranked in the top 10 in both rushing offense and total offense. His schemes are versatile enough to accommodate quarterbacks of different styles, but is most suitable for a dual-threat quarterback. For Bellotti, speed at the skill positions is key to what he wants to do schematically offensively, and size and strength up front along the offensive line is also a characteristic of a Bellotti coached team.

Defensively, Bellotti has had success in producing NFL players, such as Haloti Ngata, Jairus Byrd, and Patrick Chung, but stopping his opponents has never been what he's known for. He employs a 4-3 defensive scheme, and much like he does offensively, he'll sacrifice size and strength for speed at the linebacker and defensive back positions. By doing this, he creates defenses that have the ability to make plays all over the field, but are also vulnerable to bigger teams that pound the football between the tackles on the ground.

Why he should be hired:

1. Knows what it takes to win: As Oregon's all-time winningest coach, Bellotti accumulated the second most wins in the Pac-10 (116) of any program during his tenure at Oregon. He reached bowl games in all but two of his 14 seasons with the Ducks, including the 2001 Fiesta Bowl. His Oregon teams finished in the top 25 seven times, and 2004 was the only season in which his team finished with a sub-.500 record. For a fan base looking to win consistently, it's hard to argue that Bellotti's track record doesn't make him an ideal fit.

2. Home run hire: For an Arizona fan base looking for a big name coach to take over the program, Bellotti would certainly fit the bill. Known as the "Dean of the Pac-10", Bellotti is well respected by his fellow coaches and has proven in his time at Oregon that he has what it wakes to help his teams compete year in and year out in the Pac-12. He'll certainly "win the press conference" and is a guy that will function well within Byrne's plan for the program and get along well with players, assistant coaches, and boosters alike.

3. Ability to adapt scheme to 2012 team: In terms of the immediate future, Bellotti may actually have no problems bringing the spread-option to Arizona. Matt Scott is the perfect quarterback for this system given his ability to both run and throw the ball, and running backs Ka'Deem Carey and Jared Baker would be ideal fits out of the back field. The personnel is there for Bellotti to come in immediately and make a splash with the new offensive scheme.

4. Recruiting: With the powerful offenses Bellotti has been known to field, it is likely Arizona is able to retain the offensive recruits in the class of 2012. Beyond that, Bellotti has the connections and name value out west to recruit at a high level and bring in the top talent out west year in and year out to Arizona. During his time at Oregon, he also recruited the south, namely Texas, very well and it is likely he would have the same success at Arizona.

5. Instant credibility: The state of Arizona football is in a little bit of dismay following the firing of Mike Stoops, and by bringing in a big name like Bellotti, it immediately gives Arizona the perception that is on the upswing and in good hands. Bellotti would give UA an immediate boost in national attention, which would pay dividends in all aspects of the program.

Why he shouldn't be hired:

1. How long would he stay? At 60 years old, how much more does Bellotti has in the tank? In a recent interview, he said he knows he can coach for five years, but beyond that he's less certain. Byrne may decided instead to go with a coach that could potentially make a long career in Tucson, something that is not guaranteed with the former Oregon coach.

2. Scheme beyond 2012: After Scott graduates in 2012, Arizona does not have another quarterback on the roster to effectively run the spread-option. Both Tom Savage and Daxx Garman are more ideally suited for the offensive system currently employed by Arizona, where they are allowed to throw between 30 and 50 times per game. Neither possesses Scott's running ability, and 2012 would likely be a rough year with Savage, Garman, or a true freshman recruited by Bellotti running the show for the Wildcats. He's shown before the ability to adapt his system to fit his personnel, but that transition could be difficult if he's forced to do it year after year.

3. May be looking for more stability: Arizona may be considered too much of a rebuilding project for a man at the stage in his career that Bellotti is at. If he is looking to return to coaching, he may look instead to enter a better situation than the one Arizona is currently in, which may prevent him from even expressing interest in the job.

4. Price tag: Bellotti has said before that he is enjoying working for ESPN and may not make a return to coaching. It will likely take a hefty contract to bring Bellotti back onto the sidelines, one that Arizona may not be willing or able to provide. Byrne is looking for a cost efficient solution, and Bellotti may not be it.

5. Does he still have it? Bellotti has been out of the coaching game for over two years now, and that may have been enough to cause him to lose his passion for coaching. Commentating and analyzing games for ESPN affords him a lot more freedom and flexibility in his personal life, and he may not be willing to give that up to return to the grind of coaching and recruiting. If he does not still have the passion for coaching necessary and the desire to succeed at a high level, then Bellotti will not last very long as a candidate for the Arizona coaching vacancy.

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