University of Oregon officially introduces its new head football coach

By Meerah Powell (OPB)
Dec. 14, 2021 12:29 a.m.

Dan Lanning is Oregon’s 35th head football coach

Coach Dan Lanning speaks at his introductory press conference on Dec. 13, 2021 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

Coach Dan Lanning speaks at his introductory press conference on Dec. 13, 2021 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.

Eric Evans Photography / via University of Oregon

The University of Oregon officially introduced its new head football coach to the world on Monday.


“I’ve always admired this program from afar, and the only word I can really use right now to describe this feeling is ‘grateful,’” Oregon’s new head coach, Dan Lanning, said during a press conference.

Lanning comes to Oregon after most recently coaching at the University of Georgia, as defensive coordinator. He’s stepping into his position at UO after former head coach Mario Cristobal announced last week his decision to leave the school and go back to his alma mater, the University of Miami.

“When we set out to find the next great leader for Oregon football, there were certain must-haves for our next coach,” UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens said. “The next coach must possess a demonstrable commitment to the student-athlete, high integrity and character, elite expertise in football, a championship mentality, a vision for what our program can be and the path to get us there, a commitment to this university and those who love it.”

“Ultimately, Dan Lanning stood out among the rest,” Mullens said.

Before coaching at Georgia, 35-year-old Lanning worked at the University of Pittsburgh, Arizona State University and the University of Alabama. This will be Lanning’s first time being a head coach.

“I like to speak to quality of experience,” Lanning said when asked why he’s now ready to step into a head coaching role.


Lanning said working under football coaches like Nick Saban, Alabama’s head coach, and Kirby Smart, Georgia’s head coach, has formed how he works.

“My approach in coaching has always been, if you’re not learning, you’re not getting better,” Lanning said. “I’ve continued to learn whatever seat I’ve sat in.”

Lanning said he chose Oregon for a multitude of reasons.

“Oregon provides everything that I know you need as a coach to be successful in college football,” he said. “I wanted to be in a place where I know we can compete, and we can win, and Oregon has that.”

Lanning said he wants his impact as a coach to be felt “beyond wins and losses.”

“This is a partnership between me, and the university, and our team,” he said. “This isn’t a one man show, and I want our program to be known for what we did for each other, and how we served.”

Lanning acknowledged that he will need to do some trust-building with the team, and with Duck football fans after Cristobal’s departure, and former coach Willie Taggart’s even more sudden departure before that.

“I’m going to stay at Oregon as long as I can stay at Oregon, and as long as Oregon will have me,” Lanning said. “There is no other for me. This is a premiere job for me in the nation, not just in this league, but in the nation. … there doesn’t need to be a next step for me. This job can be the final step.”

Lanning will stay with Georgia until after the team plays at the College Football Playoff at the end of this year.

Bryan McClendon, the Ducks’ passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, is serving as UO’s interim head coach for the upcoming Valero Alamo Bowl, according to the university.

The Ducks’ first game in 2022 is against the Georgia Bulldogs in Atlanta.