Coaching, not just NIL dollars, matters in recruitments for Oregon

The USC Trojans were stung once again by the Oregon Ducks and Dan Lanning in a major battle for an important player. Derrick Harmon went to Eugene instead of Los Angeles, yet another occurrence in which the Ducks defeated the Trojans in a player-acquisition competition.

One of the central reasons for Oregon’s success is undeniably the money the Ducks are able to put forth in the NIL space. Phil Knight is an old man. He wants Oregon to be successful. He won’t spare any expense. Having a megadonor who is totally committed to the success of sports programs, to the extent that he will be able to pay top dollar for various prospects when needed, is naturally a huge advantage Oregon has. No one will doubt or question that particular point. However, it’s not as though money is the only thing deciding these battles. One point to emphasize here is that the coach matters.

Dan Lanning has not yet won a Pac-12 championship, and there are certainly some areas where he has not maxed out as a coach. However, he has certainly been a good coach for Oregon, especially in the more structural, program-building aspects of the job. NIL money and Phil Knight’s competitive desire certainly matter, but let’s be honest here: If Mark Helrich or Willie Taggart were coaching Oregon, the Ducks wouldn’t be winning as many recruiting or transfer portal battles. The program wouldn’t be as strong and players wouldn’t find Eugene nearly as attractive.

Is NIL money the main advantage for Oregon in these player-acquisition battles? Probably, yes. We’re not arguing against that. It is important to note that coaching does matter. It is not peripheral to this discussion.

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Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire