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Oregon promotes offensive coordinator Helfrich to coach

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 20, 2013 at 12:25 p.m.

— Oregon hired Mark Helfrich as its football coach Sunday, promoting him from offensive coordinator as the successor to Chip Kelly.

Two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed the decision to The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the school had not announced it. The school scheduled an afternoon news conference. The move was first reported by CBSSports.com.

Kelly stepped down at Oregon on Wednesday to coach the Philadelphia Eagles. Helfrich’s promotion does not come as a surprise. Before Kelly left for the NFL, the offensive coordinator was considered the front-runner for the position.

The Ducks promoted wide receivers coach Scott Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback, to offensive coordinator, according to those who spoke with the AP.

Oregon, ranked No. 2 in the final AP Top 25, went 12-1 this season capped by a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Helfrich is from Oregon and was appointed offensive coordinator of the Ducks when Kelly took over four seasons ago. The Ducks have appeared in BCS bowls each of those four years, including an appearance in the national championship game against Auburn in 2011.

Before joining the Ducks, the 39-year old Helfrich was quarterbacks coach at Colorado from 2006 to 2008.

Kelly came to the Ducks in 2007 as offensive coordinator under coach Mike Bellotti and is credited with creating Oregon’s innovative hurry-up spread offense. Kelly went 46-7 at Oregon.

It had been widely expected that Kelly would jump to the NFL, leaving many surprised when he announced he was staying at Oregon after interviewing with Philadelphia, Cleveland and Buffalo following the Fiesta Bowl. Nine days later, however, he changed his mind and decided to go to the Eagles.

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