A lot of Oregon Ducks fans on social media Monday morning reacted to the news that offensive line coach Adrian Klemm would be leaving to take a coaching job with the New England Patriots as you would expect.
“Oregon is a stepping-stone program! How do we make it so these coaches don’t leave after a year or two and take better jobs?”
The honest answer is that you don’t, in my opinion. At least, you don’t if you’re trying to build a coaching staff that is filled with some of the top coaches in the sport.
This is the world of college football right now, and if you’re a good, nationally relevant team that is succeeding on the field and putting players into the NFL, then you are going to have to deal with coaches eventually leaving. Position coaches will jump to become coordinators; coordinators will jump to become head coaches; sometimes head coaches will jump to the NFL. It’s how the system works in college football. Alabama deals with this, as does Georgia, as does Ohio State.
And if you listen to what he says, this is what Dan Lanning wants as well. He has stated multiple times over the past year that he is always encouraging of his coaches going on to take bigger and better jobs. He works hard to foster an environment where coaches can work under him, learn a lot, succeed, and move on. That’s how Kirby Smart was with him at Georgia, and that’s how he’s going to be with his coaches at Oregon.
It happened earlier this year with offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham leaving to take the head coaching job at Arizona State, and again with safeties coach Matt Powledge going back to Baylor to become the defensive coordinator. This isn’t even a recent problem at Oregon, either, but something that Mario Cristobal routinely had to deal with during his tenure. OC Marcus Arroyo left to be the head coach at UNLV; DC Andy Avalos left to be the HC at Boise State; Joe Moorhead left to become the HC at Akron.
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Like I said, in the world of college football that we live in, this is the reality for nationally recognized teams like Oregon.
Gone are the days of coaches staying in a single place for a decade-plus. You will likely never see another Gary Campbell, who coached for 33 years at Oregon from 1983-2016. There may not be another Steve Greatwood, who was at Oregon from 2000-2016. With the new trend of upward mobility, and to be quite honest, the national relevance that the Ducks have obtained in the past couple of decades, Eugene has become a hot spot for position coaches and coordinators to make a leap to the next level.
In the short term, it is sometimes frustrating, and in a year where you lose arguably three of your top 5 coaches — Dillingham, Powledge, and Klemm — it can be tough to replace them all at the same level.
In the end, however, this is a good thing for the Ducks. It shows good coaches can come to Oregon, find success, and move up the coaching ladder. That will lead to more smart football minds wanting to join what is being built in Oregon and more success down the road. Imagine the opposite scenario where nobody wanted to hire any of the coaches that are on your staff. That doesn’t sound like a successful program, does it?
How does Adrian Klemm’s departure impact the Ducks in both short term and long term?