Hall of Fame welcomes Bellotti
Mike Bellotti described his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame as a humbling experience.
The winningest coach in Oregon history joined Len Casanova (1951-66) and Hugo Bezdek (1906, 1913-17) in the Hall on Tuesday night during the National Football Foundation’s dinner ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
“I think as a coach you recognize you’re there because of all the people involved,” Bellotti said during a joint press conference with the other members of the 2014 class. “Every single player that ever played for you, every single coach that you worked with that you stole an idea from, every administrator or booster that said, ‘Yes, I believe in this young man, I’m going to entrust our program to him.’
“Those are things that humble me.”
Bellotti compiled a 116-55 record during 14 years as Oregon’s head coach. He was also the Ducks’ offensive coordinator from 1989-1994 under Rich Brooks.
After capping the 2001 season with a Fiesta Bowl win over Colorado, Bellotti’s Ducks were ranked No. 2 in the final polls. Joey Harrington finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting that year.
“Mike had a wonderful way of relating to everybody,” Harrington said in May. “You see a lot of coaches today that pick one side or the other. They’re either the dictator, my way or highway, or a quote, unquote player’s coach, trying to be friends. Mike had an incredible way of doing it all. He could be your friend, he could be a disciplinarian, he could be a voice of reason and for me a voice of calm.”
Bellotti’s career record as a head coach was 137-80-2, including a 21-25-2 mark in five seasons at Chico (Calif.) State from 1984-88.
Now an ESPN college football analyst, Bellotti was asked about Oregon drawing defending national champion Florida State in the College Football Playoff on Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
Marcus Mariota is expected to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday in New York. Counterpart Jameis Winston is the reigning Heisman winner but was not invited to this year’s ceremony.
“Both teams with exceptional quarterbacks. Mariota has been a little bit more consistent. Jameis might still be the best quarterback in the fourth quarter to have if you’re behind,” Bellotti said. “Unfortunately for Oregon, Florida State has probably discovered a running game and playing a little bit better defense … but Oregon’s offense is practically unstoppable. There’s some other issue about the defense they’ll have to overcome for this game.
“I think it’s a great matchup and one I’m going to be excited to see.”
Oregon players enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame are J.W. Beckett (1913-16), John Kitzmiller (1928-30), Norm Van Brocklin (1947-48), Mel Renfro (1961-63) and Bobby Moore (1969-71).
Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who used three different starting quarterbacks during the Buckeyes’ Big Ten championship season due to injuries, won the Broyles Award on Tuesday.
Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost was one of the five finalists for the award given to the nation’s top assistant.
Mariota, who is from Honolulu, was the inaugural recipient of the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award.
Mariota is up for the Maxwell Award (college player of the year) and Davey O’Brien Award (nation’s best quarterback). Ekpre-Olomu is trying to become the first Oregon player to win the Jim Thorpe Award.