Football coaches often need nerves of steel. Nick Aliotti, the Oregon defensive coordinator, now has hips of titanium.

Aliotti had double hip replacement surgery recently Ñ his right hip was rebuilt Feb. 6 and the left four days later, both at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene. He stayed in the hospital for 11 days, or about one day for each year he had been in pain.

'I have nothing but great relief,' he says, 'and I feel wonderful. I know it's going to get better and better. Three months from now, I'll be walking and living a normal life.'

Aliotti returned to work this week Ñ half days. 'I'm just tired,' he says. He will probably use crutches for another three weeks and then a cane for four to six weeks. During spring practice in April, he'll be the coach screaming from the golf cart.

'I notice I'm actually going to have a normal walking gait,' he says. 'I'm taller Ñ at least I feel like I am. I feel more fluid.' Maybe he'll even trot around with the players again.

Aliotti, who turns 50 on May 29, says he 'couldn't lie down or sleep at night without pain. It was bone on bone. É You never want to do (both hips) like I did, but I did it. It's pretty much behind me now, the worst part.'

Aliotti, who was a running back at UC Davis from 1972-75, says his hips probably wore out.

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