As reported here earlier today, former Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti is leaving the school as athletic director to get into television. ESPN has now confirmed Bellotti will be joining the network as a college football analyst.
Bellotti’s first broadcast assignment will be on ESPNU-TV as an analyst for the Auburn spring game on April 17. He will officially cease his duties as Oregon AD on April 5.
During his presser to make the announcement today, Bellotti said he had been talking to ESPN for months about a role at the network and he was offered a contract on Monday. He said he would’ve preferred to stay on as Oregon AD and do a limited number of ESPN games, but the network thought that would present a conflict of interest.
With that in mind, it’s clear just how much Bellotti wanted to get into television.
Perhaps the Oregon football team’s off-field issues the past four months, including the year-long suspension of starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, also pushed Bellotti to speed up his departure from the school.
John Canzano of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN writes today that Bellotti’s stop in ESPN might be a short one:
I felt from the start that there was a possibility that Oregon could have Bellotti both as football coach Chip Kelly’s predecessor and successor. Is this just a break to catch his breath while Kelly coaches the Ducks for a good spell? Would Bellotti join Kelly as an assistant coach?
Or take a year off and go to work as a television analyst before getting back into coaching? Wouldn’t be shocked. I don’t think Kelly is going anywhere soon, and the setbacks inside the program have certainly hurt him nationally, but keep an eye on Bellotti as this all moves forward.
With Bellotti the biggest name in Oregon football coaching history, it certainly would be a shock to see him go to another school. If Kelly falters, perhaps a refreshed Bellotti would consider a return.