Mike Bellotti doesn't know how to keep a secret.
You could see it in his body language. Hell, you could see it in his language.
'At some point I won't be your head coach," Oregon's coach would tell recruits, "but our values won't change."
It was one of the more unique transitions of power in college athletics but now it is official. Oregon announced Friday afternoon that Oregon's longtime coach would move over to become athletic director on July 1. Recruits knew that was a possibility for the last three months. It makes the transfer of power almost seamless with Kelly already having increased power with the staff.
You knew the change was coming, and probably soon, ever since assistant Chip Kelly was named coach-in-waiting in December 2.
Bellotti basically had until March 30, the beginning of spring practice, to spit or get off the pot. Now that he is gone, Oregon might never be the same. Bellotti meshed his coaching abilities with his personality that allowed him to bond with Nike benefactor Phil Knight. Knight acted a king at times when it came to Oregon athletics, but never intruded on the crown jewel. Oregon football became a top 25 program because of the partnership of Bellotti and Knight.
Bellotti leaves as the dean of Pac-10 coaches (116-55 in 14 seasons) having led the Ducks to 12 bowl games including the 2002 Fiesta Bowl. This year's team could be poised to break USC's seven-year death grip on the conference.
Oregon a consistent winner through the decline of bitter rival Washington and the re-emergence of the Trojans, all the while Bellotti fought the annual Civil War with Oregon State. One of his final accomplishments will be a memorable ripping of the Beavers that kept them out of the Rose Bowl.
Kelly, 45, already has made his presence felt. The former New Hampshire offensive coordinator's dogged recruiting made Oregon a finalist for current Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor last year. On Monday, Kelly will find out if his efforts have paid off on Bryce Brown. Oregon is one of four programs still in the running for the nation's No. 1 recruit in the class of 2009.
"It's a great situation," Kelly said in January before a decision had been made. "That's why the situation at Oregon is as good as it gets. I have a chance to take over a top 10 program. You're AD happens to be the all-time winningest coach at the school."
The decks should be cleared for Bellotti when he takes over in his new job this summer. Current AD Pat Kilkenny will be the one having to make a decision on the future of basketball coach Ernie Kent. Women's basketball coach Bev Smith also in danger of losing her job.
Whatever happens, something soon will be named after the old coach/new AD. Bellotti Field at Autzen Stadium sounds nice. Sorry Rich Brooks.