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Nick Aliotti retiring as Oregon defensive coordinator

Nick Aliotti has been in charge of the Ducks defense for more than a decade. He'll step down after the Alamo Bowl.


Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti will retire after the Ducks' Alamo Bowl matchup against Texas, the school announced Friday afternoon. Aliotti has served as DC in Eugene since 1999.

"After coaching for 38 years, it is time for a new chapter in my life," Aliotti said in a statement. "Coaching is all I've ever known but it has been a labor of love and a fantastic ride.

"I've coached in a lot of great games in my life but the things I'm going to miss the most are the great players and assistant coaches I have had a privilege to work with. There is never an ideal time to announce these decisions because I don't want to take away from the attention on this final game or the focus from the players who are the ones who deserve all the credit for getting us to where we are today.

"I've been fortunate to enjoy a great career and to step away from the game when I felt the time was right. Now is that time."

At Addicted to Quack, SB Nation's Oregon blog, fans have mixed feelings on Aliotti's retirement:

Aliotti has coached at Oregon for 21 seasons, through 3 different stints. He's led some of the best defenses in Oregon history. His "Gang Green" defense in 1994 led Oregon to its first Rose Bowl in 37 years. His defenses under the Chip Kelly era helped Oregon move from Pac-12 contender to national title contender.

But he'll definitely leave Oregon with conflicting opinions. Many (including our own David Piper) have called for his firing over the years. The defense struggled for much of the 2000s, and came up short in the biggest games this season.

But despite the ups and downs, Aliotti's passion for his players and for the game, and his legendary interviews, will be missed.

For several years, Oregon has been known for its up-tempo, high-octane offense. However, Allioti's defenses have been performing at a high level, too. In three of the last four seasons, the Ducks' scoring defense has ranked in the top 25 nationally. This year, they're giving up 21.6 points per game, good for third in the Pac-12 and 25th in America. Aliotti's best coaching job may have been in 2010, when Oregon allowed 18.7 points per game en route to a BCS Championship Game berth, ranking 12th in the country.

"Nick's contributions to the football program at the University of Oregon cannot be overstated," Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich said in the statement. "His dedication to the success of this program will certainly leave a lasting impression that is hard to measure. I want to thank him for his loyalty and efforts to help make Oregon football what it is today, and wish him and his wife, Kathy, a long and happy retirement."

Aliotti is wrapping up his third stint as an assistant coach on the Ducks staff. After playing running back at UC-Davis from 1972 to '76, he broke into the coaching world as a graduate assistant with Oregon in 1978, holding the job for two years. He returned in 1988, serving as outside linebackers coach for four seasons before earning a promotion to defensive coordinator in 1993. He left following the '94 season and spent three years as special teams coach for the St. Louis Rams and one year running UCLA's defense.

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