Oregon Ducks assistant Keith Heyward leaving the program – The Register-Guard

Posted: January 29, 2021 at 7:54 pm

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Ryan Thorburn |Register-Guard

Oregon assistant Keith Heyward, who was passed over for the defensive coordinator position for the second time last week, announced on Monday that he is leaving the program.

Heyward, a former Oregon State defensive back, spent the past four seasons coaching the Ducks' safeties.

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reported Heyward, who previously worked with California coach Justin Wilcox at USC and Washington, is likelyheaded to Berkeley to join the Bears.

The move would be an intriguing North Division assistants swap.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal is hiring Cal defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter to replace Andy Avalos, who left to become Boise State's head coach.

Heyward was considered for the defensive coordinator position following the 2018 season but Cristobal hired Avalos.

Once (Avalos)got it, I was a little disappointed, to be honest, in myself," Heyward said at the time. "But this is a team, and coach Cristobal did what was best. So weve got great defensive coaches on our side of the ball, and Im excited for the direction that were going.

Several of Heyward's star pupils publicly expressed their gratitude for the job he did at Oregon.

"He is not only a football coach but a LIFE coach!" former Oregon safety Jevon Holland tweeted. "You were one of the most influential people at Oregon and my life. From recruiting to mentoring to coaching you've helped all of us become better men. Love you coach! Thank U!"

Star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux said Heyward's departure "cut deep."

"You are one of the reasons I came to Oregon," Thibodeaux tweeted. "I knew it couldn't last forever but didn't know it was (coming) this soon."

Heyward was given the titles of assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator at Oregon but Avalos was in charge of the defense the past two seasons.

"My ultimate goal is to be a head coach," Heyward said during an interview with The Register-Guard last year. "Ill be 40 next year.Im still waiting for that opportunity to be a coordinator."

Contact reporter Ryan Thorburn atrthorburn@registerguard.comor 541-338-2330, and follow him on Twitter@By_RyanThorburn. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.

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Oregon Ducks assistant Keith Heyward leaving the program - The Register-Guard

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January 29th, 2021 at 7:54 pm

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