Today was the dawning of the "Era of Mark". - (USA Today Sports photo by Kirby Lee)
The "Era of Chip" came to an abrupt end Wednesday morning, when Oregon coach Chip Kelly announced he was going to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles after all. The "Era of Mark" didn't take long to start.
In a move generally anticipated by everyone, the University of Oregon today formally announced the promotion of Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich to the head job. Ducks Athletic Director Rob Mullens had his plan of progression to Helfrich laid out, after everyone thought Kelly would accept the Philadelphia job after the Fiesta Bowl, but thought he could shelve it for a year when Kelly opted to not accept the Philadelphia job, or others offered by Buffalo and Cleveland. So while Kelly's decision came as a bit of a surprise, Mullen's response didn't (and it didn't take long to conduct a national search).
Helfrich, a native of Medford, and graduate of Coos Bay's Marshfield High, who played for Southern Oregon University, has been the Ducks' Offensive Coordinator since Kelly was promoted from that position to the Head Coach job.
Helfrich previously was a graduate assistant at Oregon, and most recently before coming back to Eugene, the Offensive Coordinator at Colorado from 2006 through 2008. Before that, Helfrich was quarterbacks coach at Arizona St. for 5 years, and 3 years before that at Boise St.
Helfrich in turn named Scott Frost as his offensive coordinator.
Addicted To Quack will have all the details on the beginning of the "Era of Mark", and it will be something all 11 other members of the Pac-12 will monitor over the next couple of years, never mind the next few days, as we see if the most dominant era in modern conference history not involving USC can continue.
With most of the coaching staff intact, a huge amount of returning talent, and no gap in recruiting, together with excellent facilities and tremendous fan base support, there's no reason to believe there will be much of a downturn, at least in the short-term.
It will be an interesting day to be a Duck for some time to come.