Ducks Hire N.Y. Giants Football Assistant
Feb. 14, 2001
EUGENE - Mike Gillhamer, who has accumulated four years of coaching experience in the NFL following 13 seasons of tutoring collegiate defensive backs at the Division I level, has been hired to coach the defensive secondary at the University of Oregon, according to the Ducks' head coach Mike Bellotti.
The addition of Gillhamer to replace Bob Gregory, who departed the same post following three seasons to become the defensive coordinator at Boise State, completes the Oregon coaching staff heading into the start of spring drills April 2.
The 44-year-old central California native becomes the second former professional football assistant to join the Ducks' coaching ranks this winter (joining former Oakland Raiders' assistant Robin Ross) after working with the running backs for the New York Giants since 1997. He assisted former Oregon assistant coach Jim Skipper (1980-82) for the first three years of his NFL tenure before being put in charge of the running game last season when Skipper left to become head coach of the San Francisco Demons of the XFL last August.
Gillhamer played a large role in helping the Giants rank third in the NFC in rushing during the regular season a year ago (125.6 avg.) while reaching the Super Bowl.
However, the remainder of the former Humboldt (Calif.) State standout's coaching expertise lies on the defensive side of the football, which he cited as one of the reasons he decided to return to the collegiate game.
'I felt this was a great opportunity to go to one of the top-10 college programs in the country and get back on defense, as well as go to a great place to raise my family,' Gillhamer said.
The former Fresno, Calif., prep and Humboldt State's 1975 most valuable defensive back initiated his collegiate coaching career with a five-year stint at College of the Sequois (Calif.) in 1979, overseeing the defensive line his first season before moving to the secondary from 1980-83. He then spent one year as defensive backs coach at Weber State before doing the same at Utah (1985-89) and San Jose State (1990-93). Gillhamer moved on to Nevada to tutor the secondary in 1994 before coordinating the Wolf Packs' defense in 1995.
He then served as defensive secondary coach at Rutgers under former Oregon quarterback Terry Shea in 1996 before migrating to the NFL the following year.
The former physical education undergraduate (1976) received his master's degree in special education from Humboldt State in 1981 and later served as a 'guest' assistant coach with the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League in 1988.
'I've known Mike Gillhamer quite a while from his days as a coach on the West Coast as well as at Rutgers, so I've been aware of his expertise as a defensive backfield coach,' Bellotti said. 'I know he did a great job with the New York Giants but had a desire to return to defense and is a great fit for us.
'Mike is very detailed oriented, a great teacher, an excellent recruiter, and understands defenses and the techniques required to be successful in the secondary. For us to add a second coach from a NFL playoff-level organization is a tremendous statement about how the Oregon football program is perceived by other coaching professionals.'