'Having your kids know who you are is a good thing': The I-5 Mailbag
Mike Bellotti on Dan Lanning, then answers on the Ducks and Dawgs, N'Faly Dante's fit, scheduling and winter survival tips.
HOTH — Mike Bellotti didn’t keep it too complicated when it came to his relationship with Oregon during his 14 years as the Ducks head coach.
“If you show you are happy and committed to a program,” Bellotti told The I-5 Corridor Thursday, “they tend to give back to you — as long as you’re winning.”
Bellotti is the winningest coach in team history and was taken care of handsomely during his time in Eugene, with the now-73-year-old saying he turned down jobs at USC, Notre Dame and Ohio State when Oregon reassured its commitments to him and developing his staff and program.
So yeah, Bellotti said, it makes sense that Dan Lanning is sticking around in Eugene. Lanning is the highest-paid coach in program history, the Ducks have provided him with the largest operating budget in program history and he’s responded by winning 81 percent of his games in his first two years as a coach.
“I wanted to make sure they wanted me there and that they were going to continue to invest in our success,” Bellotti said. “And with Dan, he’s told me Eugene is a great place for him and his family.”
That’s the part where Bellotti can relate the most. Bellotti arrived in Eugene in 1989 as the team’s offensive coordinator with a four-year-old and a three-year-old. His son Sean was born just before the 1994 season. They all got to grow up in the same area.
“I told Dan that I got a chance to see my kids,” Bellotti said. “If one of them had a game Thursday I could sneak that in. Or I might be able to catch 30 minutes of a home game on a Friday night. You can’t do that at a lot of places. I didn’t have a commute. I could ride my bike to work if I wanted. It was something that was different than what a lot of coaches had to deal with in terms of raising a family.
“Having your kids know who you are is actually a good thing.”
We’ll have more from Bellotti next week in the Michigan installment of our Big Ten preview. But now, let’s answer some mail.