Ducks Name Azzinaro as DL Coach

EUGENE – Jerry Azzinaro (pronounced Az-in-ARR-ow), whose 27-year coaching career includes 10 seasons as a defensive coordinator and one year as a head coach, has been chosen to coach the University of Oregon's defensive line, according to the Ducks' head coach Mike Bellotti.

Azzinaro (7/11/58) coached the defensive line at Marshall University last season after serving the same role at the University of New Hampshire in 2007.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native brings with him the experience as defensive coordinator at Duke (2004-06), the University of Massachusetts (1998, 1994) and American International College (1987-91) in Springfield, Mass., in addition to serving as head coach at NCAA Division III Western New England College (Springfield, Mass.) in 1986.

"We are very excited with the experience and enthusiasm that Jerry brings to this program," Bellotti said. "He not only has demonstrated his ability as a sound technical football coach with a proven record of teaching the game from a defensive line standpoint, he has exhibited his expertise in many different areas of responsibility at the Division I level."

Marshall finished last season with a 4-8 record while facing a schedule that included nine of its 12 opponents advancing to bowl games. The Thundering Herd ranked fifth in scoring defense (27.7 ppg) in the 12-team Conference USA and sixth in rushing defense (164.4 avg.). Junior defensive end Albert McClellan earned first-team all-conference accolades, with his 57 tackles including 4.5 tackles for loss, while sophomore Michael Janac claimed honorable mention all-league honors.

His coaching resume includes a stint as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Syracuse from 1999-2003, where his pupils included All-American and NFL All-Pro defensive end Dwight Freeney. As defensive line coach at Boston College (1995-96), Azzinaro tutored four linemen who signed NFL contracts.

"I'm very happy to be part of a great program at the University of Oregon and look forward to becoming acquainted with a different part of the country," Azzinaro said. "I've heard great things about the Oregon community and how the fan support is unsurpassed.

"I think of myself as being a great teacher and motivator and thank Coach Bellotti for this opportunity."

Azzinaro broke into the coaching profession as a graduate assistant at American International College in 1982 while simultaneously serving as head wrestling coach at Hopkins Academy (Hadley, Mass.). He assumed the role as linebackers and running backs coach at Westfield (Mass.) State College in 1985 before taking over the reins at Western New England College the following year.

After returning to his alma mater for a five-year stint, he began his first tour at Massachusetts in 1992, serving as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator for two seasons before being elevated to defensive coordinator in 1994.

He also coached the defensive line at the University of Maine in 1998.

A former linebacker at American International College who led his team in tackles his senior year, Azzinaro received his undergraduate degree in psychology in 1981 and his master's in educational psychology from there in 1985. Included among his accomplishments was achieving a brown belt in combat judo as well as being crowned a New England Golden Gloves heavyweight novice champion.

He replaces Michael Gray, who had served as Oregon's defensive line coach for the past four seasons.

Azzinaro's appointment is effective immediately, with his contract to run through June 30, 2010.

He and his wife, Alison Rourke, have a Great Dane, Zeus.


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