Mark Helrich has become Oregon's 32nd head coach in school history and while most know him as Oregon's offensive coordinator the last four seasons DuckTerritory.com went back in time to find out just who the new head coach really is.
On Sunday Oregon has named Mark Helfrich their newest head coach of the football program. Helfrich will take over after being Oregon's offensive coordinator for the past four seasons.
Helfrich is an 'Oregon guy' if there ever was one. The Oregon coach grew up on Oregon's coast in Coos Bay and played football at Oregon prep powerhouse Marshfield High School from 1988-91. After starring as a local prep he was offered a walk-on spot at Oregon, but instead decided to play at Southern Oregon.
From 1992-95, Helfrich was the starting quarterback and was one of the nation's best at the NAIA level.
In 1993 as a sophomore, Helfrich had his best season at SOU that led to being named an NAIA honorable mention All-American. That year Helfrich accumulated 3,196 yards of total offense. Helfrich threw for 2,712 yards and 23 touchdowns while throwing for 400-yards or more three times.
After graduating from Southern Oregon, Helfrich landed the running back position during 1996. In 1997 Helfrich moved to Oregon as an offensive graduate assistant and worked under then offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
After one year at Oregon Helfrich followed Koetter to Boise State where Koetter was named head coach in 1998.
At Boise State Helfrich worked with the quarterbacks and instantly made an impact. Bart Hendricks saw vast improvement working with Helfrich. As a junior Hendricks threw for 2,746 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Hendricks completed 57.8-percent of this throws. He also added 119 rushing attempts for 357 yards and eight touchdowns. As a senior however Hendricks saw his best season at Boise. In his second season under Helfrich Hendricks threw for 3,364 yards, 35 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions. Hendricks also increased his completion percentage to 60.5 percent. Hendricks won the Big West Conference player of the year award in 1999 and 2000. The Broncos were also the fourth best passing offense in the nation in 2000.
After the 2000 season Koetter left Boise for Arizona State and he brought Helfrich with him once again to coach quarterbacks. At ASU Helfrich's impact was once again felt.
Helfrich quickly improved sophomore Jeff Krohn's numbers. In 2001 Krohn's quarterback rating jumped from 118.6 to 153.4. He also increased his completion percentage from 48.8 to 54 percent. In 2001 Krohn threw for 19 touchdowns compared to 12 as a freshman.
Under the tutelage of Helfrich Oregon's Marcus Mariota had one of the best years ever at quarterback in 2012.
In 2002 ASU decided to go with Andrew Walter after a quarterback battle between Walter and Christiansen. Walter originally lost the battle in fall camp. Walter won the job for good against San Diego State when he threw a touchdown pass on his first pass of the year. Later in the year behind Walter the Sun Devils upset the No. 6th ranked Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. ASU finished the year 8-5 and played in the Holiday Bowl against Kansas State. In 2002 Walter set the Arizona State single-season passing record with 3,877 yards. Walter also threw 28 touchdowns and completed 56.7 percent of his passes. Walter's quarterback rating in 2002 was 137.1.
In 2003 Walter once again threw for over 3,000 yards and completed 52 percent of his throws. Walter's quarterback rating dropped down to 127.3. In 2004 as a senior Walter returned the Sun Devils to promise finishing the year 8-3 in the regular season and a berth in the Sun Bowl. Walter finished the year honorable mention All-Pac-10 and threw for 3,044 yards and 30 touchdowns. Walter completed 57.3 percent of his passes and finished with a 138.4 quarterback rating.
With the coaching from Helfrich Walter went on to set almost every single passing record at Arizona State. Walter became the school's first 3,000 yard passer in school history and then proceeded to do it three years in a row. During the 2004 season Walter also passed John Elway as the Pac-10's all-time touchdown leader.
Walter was drafted in the third round of the 2005 NFL draft.
While at Arizona State the Sun Devil offense was one of the best in the Pac-12 and the nation. In Helfrich's final season at ASU the Sun Devils finished third in the nation and first in the Pac-10 in passing yards per game (373.9).
In 2006 Helfrich decided to join the Colorado staff and became the nation's third youngest offensive coordinator. He was also the youngest out of BCS schools at the age of 32.
At Colorado the coaching staff struggled to turn around a program in shambles but the Buffs saw improvement, no matter how small it was, year after year on offense with Helfrich as the offensive coordinator. After Helfrich's first year at Colorado then Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti contacted Helfrich about his opening for the same job. Oregon instead went with Chip Kelly after Helfrich decided he wanted to spend more time at Colorado.
When Bellotti stepped down following the 2008 season Kelly assumed the head coach position and one of his first calls was to Helfrich to try again.
Helfrich assumed the offensive coordinator's role at Oregon for the 2009 season and from 2009 to 2012 the Ducks saw what is called the 'Golden Age' of Oregon football. The Ducks went to four straight BCS bowls, played for one national title, and won one Rose Bowl and one Fiesta Bowl. The Ducks also won the Pac-12 in Helfrich's first three years and finished 11-1 in the regular season in 2012. Oregon's offenses during that time were almost unstoppable. The Ducks averaged 44.7 points, 283 yards rushing, and 500 yards of total offense during that four-year span.
Helfrich - under the wing of Kelly - turned Jeremiah Masoli into one of the nation's best quarterbacks in 2009. After Masoli left the program sophomore Darron Thomas replaced Masoli as if he was never there. Thomas led the Ducks to their first and only National Title Game appearance when Oregon lost to Auburn in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. Thomas finished the year in 2010 second in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency and third in total offense. As a junior under the leadership of Helfrich Thomas improved even more. In 2011 Thomas' efficiency rose to 11th in the nation while throwing for a school-record 33 touchdown passes. Thomas' was the school's first quarterback to throw for 30 or more touchdowns in multiple seasons.
When Thomas declared for the NFL draft following Oregon's 2011 Rose Bowl victory the Ducks had a quarterback battle between sophomore Bryan Bennett and freshman Marcus Mariota. Mariota would win the job and instantly become one of the nation's best quarterbacks. Mariota threw for 32 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 2012. Mariota also completed a school-best 68.5 percent of his throws and missed the NCAA freshman mark of 69.5 by Sam Brandford in 2007. Mariota finished 2012 sixth in the nation in quarterback rating with a rating of 163.9.
In 2012 Oregon's offense was their best ever scoring 49.6 points per game and massing 537.4 yards per game. The Ducks averaged over 300 yards rushing and 222 yards passing in 2012. Only Baylor, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State outdid Oregon in 2012.
But it wasn't just 2012 that Oregon dominated on offense. In 2011 with a heavy veteran offense the Ducks averaged 46.1 points and 522 yards per game. The Ducks just missed 300 yard a game rushing in 2011 with 299.2 per game. The Ducks also averaged 230 yards throwing. In 2011 only Houston and Baylor had better years on offense. In 2010 the Ducks again averaged over 45 points with 46.8 in 2010. Oregon's total offense was fourth in the nation with 530 total yards. Oregon's offense was equally balanced with 286.2 yards rushing and 248 yards passing per game. In Helfrich's first year as offensive coordinator in 2009 the Ducks were 28th in total offense with 412 yards per game. The Oregon offense averaged 231 yards rushing and 190 yards passing. Oregon did however average the sixth best rushing total per game nationally. Oregon was also 8th in scoring in 2009 with 36.1 points per game.
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