Don Pellum officially named Oregon’s defensive coordinator

Former Oregon linebackers’ coach Don Pellum was officially announced as the Ducks’ next defensive coordinator on Tuesday morning. Pellum takes over for the Nick Aliotti, who retired after 17 years with the program.

“This is a challenge I welcome with open arms,” Pellum told “I have been fortunate to enjoy a long relationship at an institution that means a lot to me as well as the luxury to work with a lot of class coaches and athletes. I certainly have benefitted from the knowledge handed down to me from numerous head coaches and coordinators but head into this next phase of my career anxious to implement ideas of my own.”

Head coach Mark Helfrich, who’s worked with Pellum for six years, praised the new defensive coordinator and expects the defense to benefit from Pellum’s expertise.

“Don Pellum is a great teacher and one of the best communicators I have ever been around,” Helfrich said. “The entire defense will benefit from his demanding preparation, with an emphasis on discipline and relentless effort.”

Pellum has worked with several top linebackers during his 23 years at Oregon, especially recently. Inside linebacker Derrick Malone was named all-Pac-12 honorable mention this past season after compiling a team-high 105 tackles. Kiko Alonso was named the 2013 Fiesta Bowl defensive MVP and was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. Less than an hour before Pellum was officially named defensive coordinator, Alonso received defensive rookie of the year honors from the Professional Football Writers of America.

Michael Clay played alongside Alonso last season and told that no other coach has helped him as much as Pellum.

“I have never learned or grown so much under a single coach than I did under Coach Pellum,” Clay said. “He immediately commands the respect from his players unlike anyone I have ever come across and gets the max out of everyone he comes into contact with.”

Pellum talked to the media directly after Aliotti’s retirement in the days leading up to the Alamo Bowl and deflected questions about potentially replacing Aliotti. Now, the bowl win and the defensive coordinator rumors are behind Pellum, so he can focus on continuing Oregon’s recent run of success.

“I am grateful to Coach Helfrich and the University of Oregon for the confidence they have bestowed upon me and am excited to add to the success this program has enjoyed,” Pellum said.

Pellum will still coach inside and weak-side linebackers next year. The Oregonian first reported the news of Pellum’s promotion on Saturday.

Follow Victor Flores on Twitter @vflores415


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