"We wish Mark and his family the best", said UO athletic director Rob Mullens.
Less than 24 hours after OR fired its first head coach in 40 years, three players met with reporters to reflect on Mark Helfrich's time as coach and discuss the future.
FILE - In this October 1, 2016, file photo.
"The only person I've talked to [at Oregon] is [fired coach Mark Helfrich]", Kelly said.
Just moments after the Oregon State defeat, Helfrich was asked about his job security. This is the first time since 1977 that OR has fired a head coach. The Ducks were led by Marcus Mariota when Helfrich took over, and after Mariota left, he was replaced by an FCS transfer in 2015. Firing assistant coaches could cost the schools as much as another $12 million.
Now that that's behind us, we can focus totally on who OR will hire next.
"We're going to look far and wide". "So we're done with that I hope. When it happens, you're still taken aback".
After taking over for Chip Kelly, who exited to explore opportunities in the NFL, Helfrich took over in 2013 guiding the Ducks to a 37-16 record.
Nov 13, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly looks on during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.
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In response to a third question asking if there's any chance he will be the next coach at Oregon, Kelly simply said "no".
"No one wanted Mark to be more successful than me but we were on a poor trajectory". The 1-10 San Francisco 49ers are in the middle of a disastrous season of their own. "He's a tremendous person".
But, it really wasn't until the fourth loss, which ended in a 70-21 score at home against Pac-12 rival, Washington, when topics about Oregon's Head Coach Mark Helfrich's job started to surface.
However, the Ducks' biggest failing in recent seasons was on the defensive side of the ball, where the team ranked 115th in scoring defense a year ago, then fell to 125th (out of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams) this season.
The Ducks are coming off a 4-8 season, their first losing since 2004. Obviously, we might have done a poorer job of building the culture this previous year. That's not the only thing. With an elite program you make a change.
Kelly was the Ducks' head coach from 2009-2012, going 46-7 and helping to build the program into a national powerhouse. Kelly signed a four-year contract with the 49ers last winter. They said that players didn't do a good job of stepping up and becoming voices, and some of the ones who did were young, like Dye. Helfrich, a graduate of Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, guided the Ducks to the national title game in 2014 with Heisman Trophy victor Marcus Mariota at quarterback. But previous year he was challenged with replacing Mariota. This season, OR turned to another graduate transfer, Dakota Prukop out of Montana State, who was unseated by freshman Justin Herbert at midseason.
But Helfrich didn't just have trouble with the defense.
If you're a college coach, take note: If Helfrich can be fired after one losing season, two seasons after the finest year in program history, after coaching the program's only Heisman victor, with an eight-figure buyout - so can anyone else. It allowed 41.4 points per game, leading to a 4-8 record.
On Wednesday, a few players spoke to reporters about Helfrich and the uncertainty about the future.
"I just felt for him and the rest of the guys on that staff. But it's a business".