Rich Brooks, who capped an 18-year career at Oregon with the school’s first Rose Bowl trip since 1958, was hired Friday as coach of the Los Angeles Rams.
Brooks said he signed a four-year contract with the NFL team. Terms were not disclosed.
“After 18 years here, I felt a change would be good for me. I really believe the ultimate in the coaching profession is the NFL,” Brooks said during a teleconference from Eugene, Ore. “The challenge of being a head coach in that league is very intriguing.”
Brooks, 53, coached special teams for the Rams in 1971-72. He said he feels comfortable making the transition from college to the pros.
“I’ve got a lot of my players who’ve gone on to the NFL and I’ve watched them on Sunday. I know a lot of coaches who have coached for me and with me in the NFL,” he said. “I think I keep up to date with the trends in football in general.”
The NFL’s scouting combine began in Indianapolis Thursday. Brooks said he would be there today to begin interviews for a coaching staff.
“It’s very premature for me to talk about who I would hire or who I would take with me off the Oregon staff,” he said. “My first order of business will be sitting down with each of the people remaining under contract with the Rams. I’m sure some of those people will be retained.”
Brooks owns two homes in Eugene, recently moving into a new one.
“I’m obviously filled with anticipation and excitement. At the same time, after 18 years, it’s a nostalgic day for me in Eugene,” he said. “We shared a real great ride last season and I’ve got a lot of roots here and that’ll be hard to leave.”
Brooks, 91-109-4 since becoming Oregon’s coach in 1977, succeeds Chuck Knox, fired last month.
The Rams intend to move to St. Louis starting next season. NFL owners are expected to discuss the matter beginning next Thursday.
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