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Friday, March 13, 2009
Bellotti steps aside at Oregon; Kelly takes over


Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

There will be no last hurrah for Mike Bellotti at Oregon in 2009.

The school announced Friday that Bellotti would step down as the Ducks head coach before spring practices begin on March 30, and, as per the succession plan described on Dec. 2, 2008, offensive coordinator Chip Kelly will take over.

 
  Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US Presswire
  Mike Bellotti is stepping down as Oregon's football coach to become the school's athletic director.

Bellotti will replace athletic director Pat Kilkenny on July 1.

A news conference is scheduled for Saturday.

Just this past weekend, Bellotti had intimated to the Portland Tribune that he was torn between stepping down or returning for the 2009 season.

This seems to be a decision that will help alleviate the growing pains that surely will accompany a sudden administration change, and lessen the potential who's-in-charge confusion that might have complicated the 2009 season.

That said, spring will certainly feel a little strange with 14 years of head coaching continuity ending.

The Ducks are expected to earn a high preseason ranking, and with USC rebuilding its defense and potentially vulnerable, challenge for the Pac-10 title.

Those high expectations now fall on Kelly's plate, as the architect of the Ducks' often dominant spread-option offense transforms from an X's and O's guy to team CEO.

Bellotti, the dean of Pac-10 coaches, finishes his career with a 116-55 record. His 72 Pac-10 victories ranks sixth in conference history