Oregon Coach Bellotti Will Stay With The Ducks

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti, approached by UCLA in its search for a head coach, said Friday he's staying put.

"You're always flattered when others want to talk to you, but that's because of the success we've enjoyed based on our players, our support staff and our administration," Bellotti said in a statement posted on the university Web site. "I have been, and continue to be, 100 percent committed to the University of Oregon and our pursuit of a national championship."

Bellotti, who turned 57 on Friday, is in his 13th season as Oregon's coach with a record of 105-52. The university confirmed Thursday that he had spoken to UCLA officials.

"I was approached by them on several occasions and finally agreed to allow them to come to Eugene and speak with me," his statement said.

Bellotti said his priorities are "the quality of life, my family and the opportunities to win. ...

"UCLA wanted to present to me a scenario that would offer all those things and asked if I would listen. That's as far as it ever went. I never considered it an interview, merely an opportunity for them to provide me with some information and insights into their program," he said.

The Ducks are 8-4 this season, but lost their final three regular-season games after losing quarterback Dennis Dixon to a knee injury. Oregon will play South Florida in the Sun Bowl on New Year's Eve in El Paso, Texas.

UCLA is seeking a successor to Karl Dorrell, who was released from his contract Dec. 3 after compiling a 35-27 record in five seasons.

Bruins officials have talked to a number of prospects.

On Thursday, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who once held the same position at USC, pulled his name from consideration.

School officals also interviewed Temple coach Al Golden on Wednesday, a day after meeting with former Washington coach and current Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Rick Neuheisel, who played quarterback for the Bruins.

UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker is serving as interim head coach for the Bruins' Las Vegas Bowl appearance on Saturday against Brigham Young.

A spokesman for UCLA said the school hopes to wind up its search soon and wouldn't comment on Bellotti or any other outside prospects.

"We are not officially commenting on any candidate other than saying that DeWayne Walker would be interviewed, and he has been," Marc Dellins told The Associated Press.


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