Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Former Oregon AD denies mega-booster Phil Knight wants Mark Helfrich fired.

Uncle Phil's Misguided Children

Mark Helfrich, Nov. 12, 2016. Image via Watertown Daily Times/AP.

From "The voices in your head don't count as reliable sources" department comes this quote from former Oregon athletic director and current booster Pat Kilkenny. In an interview on a Portland sports radio station, the former AD disputed a report that Phil Knight, Nike founder and Oregon mega-booster, wanted to see Ducks head football coach Mark Helfrich fired.

“First of all, we have a football coach. Phil is the least intrusive significant donor probably in the history of the planet,” said Kilkenny, who was Oregon’s AD from 2007-10 and is now a booster. “That just creates real problems for (current AD Rob Mullens), makes Mark Helfrich’s job already more difficult, and it’s not fair to Phil and Penny Knight.

“The Rovell thing made me want to throw up, because it was all about money, and that’s repugnant to me, and it’s repugnant to Phil. We care about achieving and competing at a high level, but everybody wants to do it the right way. That’s one thing special about Oregon. There are a lot of places that would do the things he mentioned, but Phil Knight would never do that.”

The claim Knight wanted to replace Helfrich came from ESPN "business reporter" Darren Rovell, who claimed Knight was willing to give the program $10 million dollars a year if it sacked Helfrich and replaced him with a new (presumably higher-profile) coach. 

Kinney said his reason for speaking out was that Knight and his wife, Penny, were "private people,' and praised Knight's "transformational" role as a donor to the University of Oregon his alma mater. In addition to supporting the athletic program, Knight's philanthropy has helped to fund several endowments, and recently made a $500 million-dollar donation towards the construction of a new science complex for the school. 

Oregon is currently 3-7, and won't be going to a postseason bowl for the first time since the 2004 season. 

(via Dr. Saturday)

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