Amid speculation over future, interim Oregon coach Bryan McClendon says focus is 'on these guys'
As Oregon draws near the end of its 2021 season and new head coach Dan Lanning puts together his staff of coaches, speculation has ramped up in recent days that Bryan McClendon—named the Ducks’ interim head coach after Mario Cristobal bolted for Miami—will follow his former boss down to the East Coast.
On Monday, McClendon spoke with reporters and shot down any rumors he’s made up his mind on what’s next. That’s far from the truth, he said.
“I’ll say this, I don’t know how much of what’s out there is actually true, to be honest with you,” McClendon said. “The thing that is frustrating, though, is that I haven’t even thought about it as much as some of the other people have. My focus has been on these guys.
“It’s not right for those guys for my thoughts to be at other places,” he continued. “It’s not quite right honestly for my family to make a family decision while my focus is on the guys right now. … I do look forward to being able to make those decisions, it would just be a hard decision to make right now while my focus is solely on these guys and making sure these guys have a positive influence.
“I feel like anything that is out there right now it did not come from me. I won’t sit up here and say one way or the other, but it did not come from me.”
Driving speculation is the fact a University of Miami webpage reportedly appeared live referencing McClendon as an assistant coach, but has since been taken down. “I still don’t know how that happened, I think everything did get rectified,” he said.
The former South Carolina coach arrived in Oregon in April of 2020, hired by Cristobal to coach the Duck receivers. Days after Cristobal’s official departure in early December, McClendon was elevated to the interim tag.
“I don’t want to cheat them,” McClendon said. “I don’t want to make a bad decision for my family because my focus is so much on these guys right now. There will be a time to make to make that decision, but right now is not it. My focus has been on these guys, because that’s what they deserve and that’s the best possible way to make a decision for my family. I’ll have some time to step away from this to be able to do that.”
No. 14 Oregon (10-3) takes on No. 16 Oklahoma (10-2) in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Antonio. Kickoff is set for 6:15 p.m. PT on ESPN.