The University of Oregon announced that former football player and assistant coach Joe Schaffeld died on Monday this week. He was 85 years old.
An Oregon Hall of Famer, Schaffeld was a lineman on the Ducks in the late 1950’s and played in the program’s Rose Bowl appearance in 1958. He returned to the program 16 years later as an assistant coach, working the team’s linebackers under head coach Rich Brooks.
Schaffeld eventually transitioned to taking over Oregon’s defensive line, where he made his biggest impact as a coach. He was on the staff for 24 years and oversaw unprecedented program success before stepping down as the longest-tenured football coach in school history.
He was inducted into the Oregon Hall of Fame in 2013.
“Other than Len Casanova, he was Mr. Oregon,” Brooks said, via Oregon Athletics. “Every Oregon high school he went into, they all knew Joe – whether it was a secretary, the principal, a janitor or the head coach. He was obviously a major factor in my 18 years, coaching the defensive line and helping develop so many great players. At the end of the day he was just a good guy and great person, always having his players’ best interest at heart. He may have been hard on them, but he absolutely loved them.”
Following his coaching career, Schaffeld spent more than 20 additional years around Oregon Athletics. He took on a role with the Duck Athletic Fund, which allowed him to connect with the university long after his coaching days were over.
Ducks coaching legend Joe Schaffeld dies at 85, leaves behind legacy of tough love: ‘He was a father figure for many kids’
Caught up with several who knew Joe well, including Mike Bellotti, Rich Brooks, Harrington.
— Aaron J. Fentress (@AaronJFentress) September 9, 2021
Schaffeld is memorialized by the Oregon football program through a trophy that bears his name. The award is given annually to the Ducks’ top defensive lineman as chosen by the team’s coaching staff. It’s certainly a fitting tribute to one of the most important defensive coaches in Oregon history.
We send our sincerest condolence to Schaffeld’s family and friends during this difficult time.