Oregon Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich has been nearly perfect through his first two seasons at the helm accumulating a 24-4 record. Although the Ducks have yet to capture their ultimate prize of winning a National Championship, the Oregon athletic department feels Helfrich has the program well on its way.
On Monday the department offered Helfrich a five-year, $17.5 million contract extension to stay with the school through the 2019-20 season. After former head coach Chip Kelly left for the Philadelphia Eagles, Helfrich was promoted from offensive coordinator, and the team didn’t skip a beat en route to the 2014 Pac-12 Championship. Still, Helfrich fell in the 2015 National Championship game and must elevate his squad to the champions circle if he hopes to fulfill the program’s lofty expectations.
“Mark has provided tremendous leadership of our football program and the values and character that he insists upon are in line with our mission as an institution,” Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said in a statement. “The success of our student-athletes on the field and in the classroom will continue with Mark’s leadership and we are thrilled that he will stay at home in Oregon for a long time to come.”
During the first season of the extension, Helfrich is set to make $3.15 million, a number that will increase until his final season in which he’ll make $3.8 million. If Helfrich decided to leave Oregon for a new job within the first two seasons of the deal, he will be forced to pay a $2 million buyout back to the University.
The Ducks will begin their hunt for the program’s first ever National Championship on September 3 when the team squares off against the Eastern Washington Eagles.
*Photo credits to Otto Greule, Jr., Getty Images