Bellotti quits as Ducks AD, joins ESPN

Former Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti has resigned as the Ducks' athletic director and will join ESPN as a college football analyst.

Bellotti, who assumed the position of athletic director in July, will provide studio and game analysis among several ESPN platforms, making his debut April 17 on ESPNU's telecast of Auburn's spring football game.

"I am really excited to join the best team in college football broadcasting," Bellotti said in a statement Friday. "Working as an analyst for ESPN is a dream come true and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I will bring the insight, experience and expertise I have gathered from 36 years of coaching college football to the studio and telecast booth. Spring ball is in full swing, I can't wait to start."

In 14 seasons, Bellotti's Ducks went 116-55 as he became the school's winningest football coach. In 2001, Oregon won 11 games, including a 38-16 victory over Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl to finish ranked No. 2.

"Coach Bellotti ranks as one of the most successful head coaches in the perennial power Pac-10 Conference," Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production, said in a statement. "His knowledge and experience will deepen our roster of analysts and provide us with a unique perspective of someone who recently coached in the game."

A UC Davis graduate in 1973, Bellotti joined Oregon in 1989 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Rich Brooks.

"He wanted to get back in football. That's the impression I got," current Oregon football coach Chip Kelly told ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel on Friday. "He's really, genuinely excited about the opportunity. I'm happy for him. I'm sad. I had one of the best situations. When your AD actually understands what it's like to be football coach, it's great."

Bellotti's tenure as AD had been tumultuous. Earlier this week, he dismissed men's basketball coach Ernie Kent because of losses and dropping attendance.

He's also seen a spate of player misconduct on the football team. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, mentioned as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate, was suspended for the upcoming season last week after pleading guilty to a second-degree burglary charge.

Masoli was the biggest name atop a list of incidents involving nine players, five of whom were kicked off the team or suspended for 2010.

Running back LaMichael James, who set the Pac-10 freshman rushing record last season, pleaded guilty to an unrelated harassment charge and was suspended by Kelly last week for the season opener Sept. 4.

"I want everyone to know I'm not running from anything at all," said Bellotti, who said he will continue to make Eugene his home.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com's Ted Miller was used in this report.