Oregon, which fired its football coach this week, should give Eastern Washington’s Beau Baldwin a serious look. They won’t, but they should.
A bit of unsolicited advice to Oregon, which is undergoing its first national search for a football coach since 1977.
The Ducks should give Eastern Washington’s Beau Baldwin a serious look.
They won’t, but they should.
With Phil Knight, UO’s biggest booster and Nike co-founder, bankrolling the search and the firm Parker Executive Search identifying candidates, Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens should explore every option.
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He should interview Boise State’s Bryan Harsin and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck – the two early leading candidates at relatively smaller schools.
Mullens should probe the interest of hot-name coaches in Big 5 conferences such as West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen, Florida’s Jim McElwain and TCU’s Gary Patterson.
If Mullens stays within the Ducks family, which doesn’t seem likely, he’ll consider first-year Central Florida coach Scott Frost, UO’s former offensive coordinator.
If reports are true that Knight plans to pony up $10 million for a coach, then Mullens has enough capital to poach almost anybody.
An assistant with a Pac-12 team said it feels “as if Oregon wants to catch lightning in the bottle again and go with a guy who may not be a big name,” referring to Chip Kelly, an offensive guru who led Oregon to a 46-7 record during his four-year stint (2009 to 2012).
If the Ducks are looking for the next Kelly, then Baldwin is the guy.
He built a pass-oriented spread offense that developed quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., who set season records at EWU before transferring to Oregon and leading the Ducks to last year’s Alamo Bowl.
In his ninth year at Eastern Washington, Baldwin has an 83-31 record while guiding the Eagles to six FCS playoff appearances, including the 2010 national title.
This year Baldwin has led second-seeded Eastern Washington (10-1) to the FCS playoffs once again.
His .732 winning percentage, which includes a 10-3 record at Central Washington, is second among current Northwest coaches to Washington’s Chris Petersen (.825), who has compiled a 118-25 record with the Huskies and Boise State.
And Baldwin’s teams have fared well against FBS teams. EWU is 2-5 against the Pac-12, including wins over Oregon State in 2013 and Washington State this year. The Eagles narrowly lost to Washington in 2014 (59-52) and 2011 (30-27).
The knock against Baldwin is the fear of hiring a FCS coach who might flop in the Pac-12. His predecessor, Paul Wulff, failed miserably at Washington State (9-40) during a four-year tenure (2008 to 2011), among the worst in school history.
That’s probably why the Huskies, Cougars and Beavers never seriously considered Baldwin when they had openings.
And it’s why the Ducks aren’t likely to give him a look.
But they should.
Pay the man
Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre will pocket $125,000 in bonus money for leading the Buffaloes to the Pac-12 title game and winning the Pac-12 coach of the year award.
All told, MacIntyre could earn as much as $500,000 in bonuses.
Still, that’s relatively minor to the payday that’s ahead for him.
Baylor and Houston are reportedly interested in MacIntyre, and Colorado will undoubtedly look to lock him into a long-term deal after leading the Buffaloes (10-2) to their first 10-win season since 2001.
MacIntyre, who is guaranteed $2 million a year, signed a one-year extension in 2014 that extends his contract through Dec. 31, 2018.
• UCLA coach Jim Mora had a 4-8 record and was 2-7 in the Pac-12 during his first losing season with the Bruins. Despite fan discontent, the fifth-year coach isn’t going anywhere largely because UCLA can’t afford to pay his $15M buyout.
• If Washington beats Colorado, this is how the bowls will likely align for Pac-12 teams: UW (Peach), Colorado (Rose), USC (Alamo), Washington State (Holiday), Utah (Foster Farms) and Stanford (Sun). Bowl assignments will be announced Sunday.
• Washington quarterback Jake Browning is just the third Pac-12 player to throw 40 touchdown passes in a season. He needs three to catch former California star Jared Goff, who set the Pac-12 season record with 43 last year. Former Oregon standout Marcus Mariota had 42 in 2014.
|Week 14 Seattle Times’ Pac-12 power rankings:|
|1. (1) USC (9-3, 7-2)||Not included in the Pac-12 title game, but one of the hottest teams in the nation with wins over UW and Colorado during its eight-game winning streak.|
|2. (2) Washington (11-1, 8-1)||Will have to pony up to retain coordinators Pete Kwiatkowski, Jimmy Lake and Jonathan Smith as well as assistants who could be poached by other teams.|
|3. (3) Colorado (10-2, 8-1)||And speaking of extensions, Buffaloes will surely offer a lucrative long-term deal to Mike MacIntyre, the Pac-12 COY, who is being linked to Baylor and Houston.|
|4. (5) Stanford (9-3, 6-3)||Closed the season with five straight wins and averaging 46 points over the final three games. Christian McCaffrey might have earned another trip to the Heisman Trophy award show.|
|5. (4) Washington State (8-4, 7-2)||QB Luke Falk, one of three FBS players with at least 4,000 passing yards, says he’s returning next year. But let’s not hold him to that promise and revisit the situation after the bowl game.|
|6. (6) Utah (8-4, 5-4)||Must decide if they’re sticking with junior QB Troy Williams, the former Husky who ranked 11th in Pac-12 while completing just 53.4 percent of his passes.|
|7. (11) California (5-7, 3-6)||For third straight year, a swirl of speculation surrounds coach Sonny Dykes and the possibility he’ll leave.|
|8. (10) Oregon State (4-8, 3-6)||Regardless of who plays quarterback next season, the heart and soul of the offense is RB Ryan Nall. The bruising runner had 951 yards and 13 TDs in 10 games.|
|9. (7) UCLA (4-8, 2-7)||OC Kennedy Polamalu got the ax and took the fall for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the Pac-12 in rushing (84.2 per game – 12th), scoring (24.9 – 11th) and yards (379.8 – 10th).|
|10. (8) Oregon (4-8, 2-6)||Former UO coach Chip Kelly is not leaving the San Francisco 49ers, so where do the Ducks turn now that they’ve canned Mark Helfrich?|
|11. (12) Arizona (3-9, 1-8)||Despite first losing season with Wildcats, coach Rich Rodriguez will likely get an extension before his contract expires after 2017.|
|12. (9) Arizona State (5-7, 3-6)||Coach Todd Graham owned the defensive problems – ASU ranks last in the nation allowing 357.4 passing yards per game. He’ll be on the hot seat next year.|