Helfrich issued a statement saying he was honored to have served at Oregon. A source involved with the hiring process at OR described Schiano to Canzano as "one of the best".
"We're going to have a broad, diverse pool of candidates", Mullens said. "When it happens, you're still taken aback".
OR football coach Mark Helfrich was sacked from his position on Tuesday, but it looks like the Ducks already have their eyes on a potential replacement. One reason the 49ers are here is because of Kelly's relationship with Central Florida coach Scott Frost, who served as offensive coordinator at OR and worked with Kelly there as receivers coach. From 1977 to 2008, the Ducks had just two head football coaches - Rich Brooks and Bellotti. The program's options are to entice a sitting Power Five coach - perhaps a Dan Mullen from Mississippi State or Jim McElwain from Florida - or dip into the Group of Five, whether Western Michigan's P.J. Fleck or Boise State's Bryan Harsin.
Asked if OR reached out to him, Kelly responded: "Nope, nope, nope".
OR athletic director Rob Mullens announced the firing of head coach Mark Helfrich on Tuesday.
Other options include Central Florida coach Scott Frost, a former OR assistant, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin and Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck, the last of whom has led his squad to an undefeated mark and a possible Cotton Bowl bid this season.
"Nope. Nope. Nope", Kelly told reporters. "He's a tremendous person".
Other names linked to the OR job are Florida's Jim McElwain, UCF head coach and former OR offensive coordinator Scott Frost, Bryan Harisn of Boise State and West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen.
Former athletic director and fellow billionaire booster Pat Kilkenny, who in the past month or so has stepped back into the public eye, talking about Helfrich and dispelling rumors about the coaching situation, knows the lay of the land in terms of big business and college athletics.
Helfrich went 24-4 in his first two seasons, including a loss to Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff championship. Although he had a great season, his injury-plagued year and Oregon's lack of quarterback depth dropped the Ducks to just a 9-4 record. Helfrich was beloved by his players, but simply did not win enough games his final two seasons. That's not the only thing.
What did make some people do a double-take was the wording at the end of the program's press release announcing the move.
At 7:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, Oregon's Twitter feed sent out the breaking news under the super-awkward title "Football Program Getting New Direction", which probably deserves a whole post of its own for the way it says everything and nothing at the same time.
Helfrich, who went 37-16 in his four years as head coach, had an $11.6 million buyout on his contract with the Ducks.
Helfrich helped recruit and groom quarterback Marcus Mariota, who won the 2014 Heisman Trophy while leading the Ducks to the title game. But the Ducks had to rely on graduate transfers entering both 2015 and 2016. But after five starts, Prukop was benched in favor of true freshman Justin Herbert.
The Ducks also had trouble on defense. Defensive coordinator Brady Hoke didn't stop the bleeding. When the 2017 season opens in September, the Ducks will have their third head coach since.
On Wednesday, a few players spoke to reporters about Helfrich and the uncertainty about the future.
"Finally, to the players thank you, and I love you", he said.
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The press release has since been edited, and GoDucks.com editor Rob Moseley, an OR alum and former newspaper reported, apologized for the original copy. This includes the preparation of derivative works of, or the incorporation of such content into other works.