Oregon's Osborne to Depart for Top Assistant Role at Arizona State

Dec. 14, 2000

EUGENE - Tom Osborne, who has served as the Ducks' special teams coordinator and tight ends coach for the past six seasons, will depart following Oregon's Holiday Bowl appearance to become the assistant head coach at Arizona State.

The 40-year-old Osborne, who has been a member of head coach Mike Bellotti's original staff at Oregon since 1995, rejoins the Sun Devils' new head coach Dirk Koetter, who served as the Ducks' offensive coordinator from 1996-97 before spending the last three years as head coach at Boise State.

Since coming to Oregon following two seasons at Boise State (1993-94) and Portland State (1991-92), Osborne has elevated the school's special teams units to the top of the Pacific-10 Conference and among the best in the country. The Ducks have led the league in kickoff returns and coverage each of the past two seasons and paced the Pac-10 in net punting two of the last three years. His special teams standouts have earned all-conference acclaim on 13 occasions during his tenure, including Jermaine Hanspard, who earned first-team all-league honors this year.

The Washington native also has coached some of the school's top tight ends in school history, with junior Justin Peelle earning all-conference honorable mention accolades following this season.

Osborne also will direct Arizona State's special teams and tight ends as part of his new assignment.

'It's not very often you receive an opportunity to become an assistant head coach at the Pac-10 level,' Osborne said. 'The thing that makes this decision so tough is it's hard to leave the coaching staff here, the players here, the whole aura of Oregon, Autzen Stadium and the fans. Mike (Bellotti) has been awesome the whole time I've been here, so it's very difficult emotionally to leave. But when you look at the big picture for the next 20 years of my coaching career, the opportunity to become the second guy in charge doesn't come up very often.

'I'm very honored and humbled that Dirk (Koetter) would think of me to fill that role and am excited about that challenge. With my desires to be a head coach down the road, I feel this is the best step to achieving that goal. I may come to the conclusion that being a head coach isn't what I really want to do but this allows me to be in a role to evaluate that. It's been a very difficult decision but I feel this is what's best for me and my family.'

Bellotti also said he was sorry to see Osborne go.

'We have appreciated Tom Osborne's services to the University of Oregon and wish him the best of luck,' Bellotti said.

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