The Oregon Ducks football team had just 20 minutes notice to arrive at a meeting where they learned their coach, Mark Helfrich, had just been fired. University of Oregon football player Wayne Kirby said, “I think… heartbreaking. A lot of those guys just stopped as soon as Coach Helfrich came in. Coach Helf was bawling his whole family was bawling, and we just kind of joined right in there with them.”
Brady Breeze said, “It was dead silent. I looked around the room and not a person was moving you could just tell that people are just devastated. The team doesn’t know who’ll coach them next.”
But they said athletic Director Rob Mullens asked them to be patient as they conduct a nationwide search.
For a lot of players, Helfrich wasn’t just their coach, he was the reason they became Ducks. “Everyone loved Coach Helf. He’s like a dad to all of us and a lot of us came here because of him but now that he’s gone we’re just going to have to trust and do what he can in the off season and do what we can to make next season better,” said Breeze.
“I was hoping he’d be able to get another year but now that he’s gone I’ll just give this next coach a chance just jump right in,” added Kirby.
Helfrich, an SOU grad, coached the Ducks to a 37-16 record after taking over from Chip Kelly in 2013.
After reaching the college football playoff championship game after the 2014 regular season, the Ducks fell to 9-4 in 2015 and then 4-8 this season.