Hoke signs three-year, $1.8 million deal
EUGENE — The price for Brady Hoke is temporarily discounted.
Oregon has signed its new defensive coordinator to a three-year, $1.8 million contract.
The deal will pay the former Michigan coach $400,000 in guaranteed compensation in 2016 with a significant bump to $700,000 in guaranteed compensation in 2017 and 2018.
Don Pellum was demoted to linebackers coach after the Ducks finished the 2015 season 9-4 with a stunning 47-41 triple-overtime loss to TCU in the Alamo Bowl. He has two years left on the contract he signed after the national championship game that will pay him $410,000 annually.
“We’re in the ‘get better’ business,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said Saturday after announcing the hiring of Hoke. “We just felt as a program, and I just felt as leader of that program, that was the direction we needed to go, as far as a different voice, a different command over that unit.”
Hoke, 57, reportedly received a $3 million buyout after being fired by Michigan in December 2014. The payments were to be made in monthly installments over 24 months, bringing his total compensation for four years of work in Ann Arbor to $14.4 million.
Helfrich announced that Hoke will revamp Oregon’s defense by transitioning to a 4-3 base this spring.
“We needed just a different direction, and that will be schematic as well,” Helfrich said.
Hoke has never been a coordinator before, but he was a successful defensive-minded head coach at Ball State and San Diego State. He was also the Big Ten coach of the year in 2011 at Michigan, where he posted a 31-20 record with the Wolverines before being replaced by Jim Harbaugh.
The Ducks allowed a school-record 37.5 points per game last season and ranked 117th out of 128 FBS teams in total defense.
Helfrich said Pellum is still “a part of the solution.”
During a satellite radio interview, Hoke said he respects his predecessor and is looking forward to working with Pellum, a longtime Oregon assistant.
Defensive line coach Ron Aiken and secondary coach John Neal were also retained by Helfrich.
Michigan’s defense ascended from 110th to top-20 statistical rankings in three of Hoke’s four seasons. The Wolverines were seventh nationally, allowing 311.3 yards a game, in 2014.
“I think being out of it for a year, his passion and desire, he wants to get back,” Helfrich said of Hoke. “He has been an excellent head coach, he has been an excellent defensive coach for a long, long time.”
The terms of Matt Lubick’s revised contract as offensive coordinator and new offensive assistant David Yost’s contract have not been released yet.
Scott Frost, who left Oregon to become the coach at Central Florida, made $750,000 in guaranteed compensation as offensive coordinator in 2015.
After Oregon won the Pac-12 and appeared in the first College Football Playoff last season, Helfrich signed a five-year, $17.5 million contract extension through the 2019 season.