Just what the world needs, another talking head.
Just what Mike Bellotti needs, time to sort out his career.
It's certain that ESPN isn't hiring Bellotti to spin stories about his 8 1/2 months on the job as Oregon's athletic director. When the Ducks' coaching legend abruptly resigned Friday to take an analyst's job with ESPN, he descended into a sort of purgatory.
He hates being an AD, but there aren't any coaching jobs available, at least for 2010. He probably isn't sure he even wants a coaching job. But the possibility is out there and will remain out there. Meanwhile, he gets to keep Lou Holtz and Lee Corso in line.
And he thought the Jeremiah Masoli situation was a nightmare?
It's been done before and it's been done often. Former coach goes to the TV to talk some ball while simultaneously marketing himself to some interested AD. That's not to say Bellotti will ever coach again but does anyone doubt that he misses it? The man himself still talks fondly about missing Friday nights and Saturday game days with the team. What he didn't particularly care for was the recruiting. But do any of them? It's a drug, like sports writing, that gets in your DNA and doesn't let go.
It impacts your family, it impacts your health. Coaches and hacks share the same job view: No matter detrimental it is, you keep realizing you can't live without it.
There was something that seemed too soon about Bellotti stepping down as coach last year when Chip Kelly took over. The vibe I got was that he had more to give. Then and now. The AD thing sure didn't satisfy his career goals. His brief tenure has been, well, a mess . Bellotti had to deal with the football program's off-field problems as well as fire coach Ernie Kent.
He was probably thinking, "Who needs the aggravation?"
As a coach, he was a mini-Paterno or Bowden, a guy whose touch had made the school a national brand. All Bellotti had to do was blow a whistle, recruit and take Phil Knight's calls. Oregon football was on cruise football. It seems to me Bellotti is jonesing for that good life again, at least a different life.
Maybe he will re-invent himself as a TV guy. ESPN certainly could use some youth in its college football coverage. Lee and Lou not only are flat-out old, their shtick has worn thin.
Maybe in Bellotti's mind he checked out too soon. This move keeps him close to the game while figuring out what to do with the rest of his life.
As I said, none of this means Bellotti will actually get back into coaching. There aren't any jobs available. In a year there might not be any jobs that fit him. Example: You're not going to see Bellotti taking the Utah State job.
It does give him time to think, to plan, to re-emerge. I do know that a lot of schools would hire him in a heartbeat. When he was coaching, his name would come up all the time, most famously at USC before it hired Pete Carroll and Ohio State before it hired Jim Tressel.
No matter what happened Friday, we still don't know for sure if Mike Bellotti is resigning from college athletics. We do know he's transitioning. To what, we're not quite sure but it's clear he still prefers calling plays more than shuffling paper.