I had my ups and downs
with Mike Bellotti
when he coached Oregon football
. I'm never going to hate completely on a guy who elevated the football program when he took over in 1995. But Bellotti's announcement today that he's leaving the athletic director's post less than a year into it for an ESPN analyst's job definitely smacks of "when the going got tough, Bellotti got going to a much easier job."
I'm sure Bellotti will be a good broadcaster. Other than a conversational tic of starting sentences with the word "Again," Bellotti is more articulate than your average football coach. And he's willing to criticize, a trait that was just plain weird when he sat in on Ducks broadcasts last season (instead of schmoozing donors during the game) and second-guessed
decisions by his successor and subordinate, Oregon coach Chip Kelly. Removed from that odd setting, Bellotti will likely flourish at ESPN.
Too bad he got going when Oregon has such a tough time with needing to hire a new men's basketball coach and dealing with all the off-season football fallout.