Bellotti To CFB Hall of Fame

Mike Bellotti (file photo)

EUGENE – Former University of Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti, who was instrumental in helping formulate the program's most successful era in school history, is one of two coaches among the 16 standouts to be inducted as part of this year's College Football Hall of Fame class as announced today by the National Football Foundation (NFF) in Irving, Texas.

Bellotti culminated a 14-year Oregon head coaching career following the 2008 season as the school's winningest football coach of all time (116-55). He becomes only the eighth former Oregon football player or coach ever to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame and the first since Ahmad Rashad (Bobby Moore) was inducted in 2007.

The 63-year-old Northern California native is the university's third football coach to join the previous 1,139 college football standouts who have been inducted into the hall since 1951. Hugo Bezdek (1906, 1913-17) was inducted in 1954 while Len Casanova (1951-66) was added to the list of legendary honorees in 1977.

The Ducks' four remaining College Football Hall of Fame members are J.W. Beckett (1913-16), John Kitzmiller (1928-30), Norm Van Brocklin (1947-48), and Mel Renfro (1961-63).

"It's a very humbling experience because you recognize all the players and all the coaches and all the administrators and all the boosters at every college I worked at," Bellotti emphasized. "It's truly an honor and there are a lot of people I need to thank."

Bellotti was appointed the school's 30th head football coach in 1995 following six seasons as its offensive coordinator, leading the Ducks to 12 bowl games in 14 seasons while tallying eight or more wins in a single year nine times. Included was what-was-then a school-record 11 victories in 2001, capped by a 38-16 Fiesta Bowl win over Colorado and a season-ending No. 2 national ranking.

While leading the Ducks to a share of the Pac-10 Conference championship in 2000 and an outright 2001 league crown, he became the first coach to lead the Ducks to 10 wins in one season in 2000 – a feat he would duplicate on three latter occasions – and has been a part of more than 25 percent of the school's 613 all-time victories in his 20-year Oregon coaching tenure.

His teams finished seasons ranked among the nation's top-25 six times in his last 10 years at the Oregon helm, and in the top-10 on three occasions. He remains as the third-winningest football coach in conference history in regards to league wins (72-43) and 16th in all-time conference winning percentage (62.6%).

"Congratulations to Coach Bellotti on being recognized with the most prestigious honor in college football," Oregon Athletics Director Rob Mullens said. "Mike played an important role in Oregon football history and we are extremely pleased he is being acknowledged for his accomplishments."

The 36-year collegiate coaching veteran accumulated a career head coaching ledger of 137-80-2, including a 21-25-2 mark in five seasons as head coach at California State, Chico from 1984-88.

Approximately 194 nominated players and coaches were considered for inclusion into this year's Hall-of-Fame class, with the honorees determined from a vote among more than 12,000 NFF representatives and current Hall-of-Fame members. Those results were then submitted to the NFF's Honors Court for final selection.

Among the eligibility requirements for coaches to be inducted are that they are retired from the profession a minimum of three years, must have coached at least 100 games over a 10-year span and maintained a winning percentage of 60 percent or better. In addition, all candidates' post-football accomplishments and community service were of prime consideration.

In addition to his on-field success, Bellotti was a member of the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees from 2003-09, previously served as the chair of the NCAA Football Rules Committee, and has continued as national vice president for the Muscular Dystrophy Association since 1995.

The recipients will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame at the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner Dec. 9 at New York City's Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

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