Chip Kelly was reportedly ‘hated’ by boosters at Oregon
Chip Kelly’s rise to fame in the coaching world was a rather rapid one, and there were apparently times when he did not know how to handle it. That may have contributed to a contentious relationship he had with the boosters who supported the Oregon football program when Kelly was there.
In his latest installment of a three-part feature on Kelly, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times spoke with author Mark Saltveit, who has followed Kelly closely and written books about him. According to Saltveit, boosters at Oregon despised Kelly and wanted him fired even after the unprecedented success he had with the program.
“The majority of boosters hated Chip; they were trying to get him fired when he was 46-7,” Saltveit said. “And you know the history of the Ducks; they went entire decades where they didn’t have 46 wins, so a guy who finished top five in the nation every year he was there and they’re trying to get him fired?”
Kelly is said to have scaled back his appearances with boosters as he became more successful with the Ducks. Saltveit said he angered some big donors by refusing to make the two-hour drive from Eugene to Portland for public appearances, and some have wondered if he chose UCLA over a program like Florida because there wouldn’t be as much demand from fans and boosters.
Mike Bellotti, who worked with Kelly for three years at Oregon first as the head coach above him and then as athletic director, doesn’t think that was a factor in Kelly’s decision.
“I don’t think you have to do that anywhere less than anywhere else,” Bellotti said. “I don’t think UCLA boosters, Florida boosters, Oregon boosters, Texas A&M boosters — you’ve got to be available to them on the basis of whatever you decide and you set up or your president, athletic director or board of regents tells you, ‘Hey, there’s certain things you need to do and certain things we’ll figure out how to do.'”
For whatever reason, Kelly’s personality rubs some people the wrong way. We’ve seen that with the way some of his former NFL players have blasted him over the years, but there’s no denying his track record of success at the college level. If UCLA can contend for national championships under Kelly, they’ll find a way to handle any boosters he might annoy.