Is Marcus Arroyo breaking the post-Oregon curse in Las Vegas?
The results aren't pretty for coaches who choose to leave Oregon. We have proof. But at UNLV, the former Oregon OC is turning things around.
Marcus Arroyo wanted a crowd.
With UNLV two games above .500 for the first time since 2013, the former Oregon offensive coordinator made a plea to his fanbase to show up against New Mexico last week.
“Getting our fans, our students, our community and everybody involved at Allegiant Stadium on Friday night would be an awesome thing,” Arroyo said before the game. “It would show such growth in everything we’re doing.”
Then his team went out and showed it. UNLV beat New Mexico 31-20, rallying from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to improve to 4-1 on the season.
To repeat: UNLV is 4-1. Let that sink in for a second.
Vegas has been a football graveyard for decades. No coach has had a winning record along the Strip since Tony Knap hung up the headset in 1981. The program has only been to four bowl games in its 50-plus year history and since 2014 has only spent three weeks with a record above .500.
And Arroyo, who before this year was 2-16 in his two years at UNLV since leaving Oregon, has the Rebels at 4-1 and is earning early Mountain West coach of the year buzz.
That doesn’t happen in Vegas. And it doesn’t often happen for coaches who leave Oregon.
See, Arroyo’s success this year isn’t just breaking UNLV’s long-running line of futility, it’s also turning around a trend that’s largely seen coaches fail to reach the same levels of success they had at Oregon after leaving Eugene.
Chip Kelly has been fired twice since leaving Oregon. Scott Frost and Willie Taggart have both been shown the door. And while it’s too early to judge the results, Mario Cristobal is 2-2 so far at Miami with a loss against Conference USA’s Middle Tennessee State.
“They coached better than us,” Cristobal said after the loss.
That’s happened for a lot for guys who’ve decided to leave Eugene. Here’s a look: