In Oregon's media release, it pointed out that Leavitt was responsible for the dramatic turnaround that Colorado's defense experienced in the last two years. Leavitt was a one of five finalist for the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach for the 2016 season.
During the 2016 season, Colorado is eighth nationally in yards per play allowed (4.69) and No. 18 in scoring defense (20.5). Before Leavitt arrived in 2014 at Boulder, the Buffs allowed 6.55 yards per play and 39.0 points per game.
Oregon's defense in 2016 allowed 6.41 yards per play and 41.4 points per game. The Oregon media release said that Willie Taggart upon being hired indicated that adding a top-flight defensive coordinator was among his first priorities.
Both Taggart are Leavitt is a former head coach at South Florida.
While the head coach at USF, Leavitt was 95-57 from 1997-2009. The record includes a loss to the Ducks in the 2006 Sun Bowl. Leavitt also spent four seasons coaching linebackers with the San Francisco 49ers before returning to the collegiate ranks with Colorado.
According the media release, Leavitt will take over a Duck defense that was rebuilt around several new starters this past season. Oregon has an emerging star in freshman all-American Troy Dye, the team's defensive MVP, and could return 12 of their top 13 tacklers from 2016.
Leavitt, 60, played safety at Missouri before beginning his coaching career there as a graduate assistant in 1978-79. He worked under Bill Snyder at Kansas State from 1990 to 1995, first as linebackers coach and then as co-defensive coordinator with current Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops.