Search Begins for New Offensive Coordinator

EUGENE – University of Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti vowed to move quickly to fill the Ducks' vacancy at offensive coordinator following Wednesday's official announcement that Gary Crowton had resigned to fill the same position at Louisiana State.

The 49-year-old Crowton was brought in two years ago to help implement the spread option offense, which resulted in Oregon ranking among the nation's top-25 in total offense and scoring offense each of his two seasons in Eugene. The Ducks led the Pacific-10 Conference in total offense (422.9 avg.) and finished ninth in the country this past season after ranking 12th nationally in scoring offense (34.5 avg.) in 2005.

Oregon finished the 2006 season with a 7-6 record after posting a 10-2 ledger the previous year.

Bellotti thanked Crowton for his contributions but promised the Ducks would move forward.

"We appreciate what Gary contributed to our success and wish him and his family the best of luck," Bellotti said. "He brought a great deal of enthusiasm with him to work every day. At the same time, we will move forward and strive to bring in the best offensive coordinator and the best quarterbacks coach in the nation as we continually look to set the bar nationally.

"It is our goal every year to lead the Pac-10 in total offense and scoring."

Although Bellotti has utilized five different offensive coordinators in his 12 years as Oregon's head coach, he attributes that to the national respect for what the Ducks have accomplished. Two of the program's past coordinators, Dirk Koetter (1996-97) and Jeff Tedford (1998-2001), departed Oregon for Division I head coaching opportunities, with Koetter now the offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL. Crowton becomes the second former Oregon offensive coordinator coaching in the Southeastern Conference as Alan Borges (1995) heads the offense at Auburn.

"It's flattering to have your peers think enough of what we've accomplished that they become interested in tapping into our resources," Bellotti emphasized. "But at the same time, our success is going to continue to create other opportunities for our assistants. That's a credit to our entire staff."

Although Crowton's arrival to Oregon coincided with the Ducks' transition from their traditional pro-style offense to the spread option prior to the 2005 season, Bellotti said his departure will not result in a change in offensive systems anytime soon.

"Each year we strive to adapt our offensive style to the talent we have at hand," Bellotti said. "The type of athletes we have recruited and are currently recruiting are best suited for the spread offense that we will continue to utilize."

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