I know this is the UW Dawg Pound but it seems since signing day we have had just as much focus on what is going on down South in Eugene. Pretty much not a day goes by without there being some sort of turmoil to report on. This week was no exception when the firing of Ernie Kent became official and yesterday when AD Mike Bellotti decided to step down after only a year on the job.
Bellotti's short tenure was marked by the school's first Rose Bowl appearance since 1995 and the disnitegration of order surrounding the football team in his absence as head coach. The turmoil started in the first game against Boise State and came to a head after the Rose Bowl when nine players got in serious trouble in seperate incidents. The latest being the bad news that QB Jeremiah Masoli would be suspended for the year after being convicted of burglarizing a frat house.
While Bellotti shared some double talk with the Duck Nation upon his exit:
"Timing in life is everything. This is not the most appropriate timing, in my perception, just because of the situations that have occurred," Bellotti said. "I want everyone to understand that I'm not running from anything at all. I've faced much more difficult situations as a football coach and weathered those. And I was planning on weathering these storms also as we move forward."
The question I have if you are not running from anything why are you leaving? An analysts job at ESPN is really no big deal. He could have had that opportunity anytime he wanted it. What this does do is free him to take another coaching job when it comes up next December. It is easier to survey the landscape as an analyst than as a sitting AD. To make things perfectly clear Mike Bellotti became a free agent yesterday and the for sale sign on the house in Eugene is likely to go up next.
I don't think Bellotti ever really wanted to be the Athletic Director and that point was driven home this year when everything started falling apart. What he wanted was a year or two off to get physically healthy and that is exactly what he is doing. Rumors have been out there for some time that if Dan Hawkins flounders again next season at Colorado Mike Bellotti will be first in line for the job.
Keep an eye on Mike Bellotti. He won't be in the television studio very long.