Oregon has made preparations for a coaching search that will follow the eventual firing of Mark Helfrich, but the school has not officially pulled the trigger on the move as of late Saturday night, multiple people with knowledge of the process tell USA TODAY Sports.
Those people spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the process.
Given the difficult coaching marketplace and the $11.6 million buyout he’s owed, Oregon’s powerbrokers were hoping there would be enough reasons to keep Helfrich following the Ducks’ upset win at Utah. But Oregon’s 34-24 loss at Oregon State essentially erased any notion that the school could legitimately make the argument to keep Helfrich, who is 37-16 overall (4-8 in 2016) but has overseen significant slippage in both on-field performance and recruiting since the 2014 national championship game appearance.
Given the fragility of Oregon’s season ticket base and the potential for things to get even worse, Oregon officials are coming to terms with the necessity of making a change.
As soon as Oregon makes the move, it will move quickly on a coaching search it has been preparing itself for several weeks to execute.
Among those who will figure prominently in the search, according to people with knowledge of the situation, are Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck and Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, though others could be involved.