After years of rumors, Chip Kelly is headed back to college.
The UCLA Bruins confirmed Saturday morning that Kelly had signed a five-year deal to replace Jim Mora.
Formal UCLA announcement: UCLA Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero has named former NFL and college head coach Chip Kelly as the Bruins’ 17th head football coach. Kelly agreed to a five-year contract worth $23.3M with a $9M reciprocal buyout.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) November 25, 2017
It had already been reported that Kelly was leaning toward UCLA, and reports Friday indicating that he’d passed on Florida seemed to more or less confirm that the much sought-after coach was headed back to the Pac-12. UCLA immediately becomes a legitimate threat nationally thanks to the reputation he brings, though he has a lot of work to do to get them atop the conference.
If Chip Kelly is going to return to coaching, it sounds like it won’t be with the Florida Gators.
Yahoo’s Pat Forde reported on Friday that Florida is moving on from Kelly and looking to other candidates they’ve explored. Forde also says that if Kelly does return to coaching, it will be with UCLA.
With Florida reportedly moving on from Kelly, the Gators are expected to turn to UCF head coach Scott Frost as their replacement for Jim McElwain.
Frost’s UCF squad entered Friday’s game against South Florida undefeated at 10-0. He is also reportedly a candidate at Nebraska, for whom he played quarterback in college.
Previous reports have said that Kelly was leaning towards UCLA over Florida. Another report said the 53-year-old coach was expected to make his decision by Sunday.
The college football world is waiting on Chip Kelly’s coaching decision in order for all the other dominoes to begin to fall. And one report says that decision could come as early as Sunday.
CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported late Wednesday that Kelly could make his decision as early as Sunday. The free agent coach is reportedly deciding between UCLA and Florida.
Kelly met with Florida’s representatives on Sunday and then spoke with UCLA in the ensuing days. There has been differing information surrounding the situation.
One report on Wednesday said Kelly had reached a non-binding agreement with Florida that allowed him to hear a pitch from UCLA. Dodd says he was told something similar.
Dodd says the delay in Kelly accepting could have to do with his buyout with the 49ers, or possibly with some haggling over potential assistant coaches on his Florida staff.
Despite the report from Dodd and Florida source Darren Heitner which suggest Kelly has a non-binding agreement with the Gators, two reports on Wednesday suggested Kelly was leaning towards taking the UCLA job.
Kelly, 53, has taken the year off from coaching after being fired by the 49ers following a 2-14 season. He went 46-7 in four seasons at Oregon prior to leaving for the Eagles. He led Philly to consecutive 10-6 seasons before receiving control over team personnel, which led to a downturn for the team. Kelly was hit with a show cause penalty from the NCAA after committing infractions at Oregon, but that expired while he was in the NFL. He is widely considered the most desirable coaching candidate on the market.
Chip Kelly has been weighing his coaching options, and all reports indicate he is choosing between UCLA and Florida. Now two reports are saying that it looks like Kelly is leaning towards picking UCLA over Florida.
Bruin Report Online veteran UCLA reporter Tracy Pierson reported on Wednesday afternoon that all signs point to Kelly picking the Bruins. Pierson says “a large number of reliable sources in the coaching and agent worlds are indicating that Chip Kelly has decided to coach at UCLA.” He adds that coaches have been contacted about the possibility of joining Kelly in Westwood.
Gridiron Now’s Frank Frangie also reports that he’s hearing the same chatter that Kelly is headed to UCLA.
Pierson does caution that no deal has been finalized or signed, meaning that things could change. Keep in mind that Kelly has backed out of a deal before. Back in Jan. 2012, multiple reports said Kelly was finalizing a deal to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach. A day later, he decided to back out of the deal and remain at Oregon for another season. He ended up leaving for the Philadelphia Eagles a year later.
Kelly met with Florida’s representatives on Sunday. He then met with UCLA’s representatives (either on Monday or Tuesday), not long after the school fired Jim Mora as head coach.
Any school looking to hire Kelly would want to have him in place as their head coach before the early signing period, which begins on Dec. 20.
Chip Kelly has already reached an agreement to become the next head coach of the Florida Gators, but the deal he has in place allows him to explore other options for a short time. That’s what one report is claiming, at least.
Sports attorney Darren Heitner, who graduated from the University of Florida, reported on Wednesday that Kelly signed an agreement with Florida on Sunday. However, he apparently has a window where he can back out of the deal.
Sources: Chip verbally agreed to Florida before South Carolina game & Florida has been vetting dozens of assistant candidates.
Chip signed an agreement with Florida on Sunday. Agreement includes window for Chip to back out of deal. Hence UCLA talks.
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) November 22, 2017
That seems a bit unusual, but it would help explain why a bunch of Florida players tweeted the exact same reaction on Sunday amid rumors that Kelly had agreed to become the next coach of the Gators. It certainly seemed like something had happened at that point.
Kelly has already met with officials from UCLA, and George Schroeder of USA Today reports that he turned down an offer from Tennessee. Believe it or not, Schroeder was told that UCLA’s association with Under Armour could be a potential issue for Kelly, who is close with Nike founder Phil Knight. The report also states that Kelly is intrigued by a potential coaching vacancy at Arizona State, where Todd Graham is believed to be on the hot seat.
Kelly went 46-7 in his four seasons at Oregon and took the team to a national championship game, so you can understand why he has so many offers from top programs. He should be able to instantly bring top recruits to any of the aforementioned schools, which is why teams are pushing to get a deal done before the early signing period in December.
Chip Kelly has a decision on his hands.
The free agent head coach has met with UCLA’s representatives, according to Football Scoop. They also say that Kelly has been contacted by a school that has not fired its coach to gauge his interest in the potential job.
Kelly met with Florida’s representatives on Sunday. The Gators made a push to hire Kelly as their next head coach, but no agreement was reached. Reports said that Kelly wanted to also talk with UCLA, who had just fired Jim Mora earlier in the day. He has now done that.
Kelly is one of the top available coaching candidates. He was extremely successful in his four years at Oregon and went 46-7 while taking the Ducks to the national championship game. He got into trouble with the NCAA and was hit with a show cause penalty that expired while he was in the NFL. Though Kelly had initial success but later flamed out in the NFL, he is still highly regarded, for good reason.
Schools reportedly are pushing for a decision because they want a coach in place for December’s early signing period.
Chip Kelly may be open to hearing a pitch from UCLA before deciding on his next job.
Florida intensified its efforts to hire Chip Kelly and met with the coach on Sunday, but they =were unable to seal the deal.
Here’s what the Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu reported on Sunday night:
The Sun has confirmed that six UAA members flew to New Hampshire on Sunday to meet with Chip Kelly. The UAA members are returning to Florida without Kelly tonight.
— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) November 20, 2017
According to a source, Kelly and UF have not reached any kind of agreement. The source said Kelly wants to talk to UCLA, which fired Jim Mora on Sunday.
— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) November 20, 2017
That news comes amid some rumors that Kelly was set to take the Florida job.
Another report later said the Bruins will meet with the free agent coach on Monday. Football Scoop also reported that Kelly met with Florida on Sunday and did not agree to a deal with the Gators. They say he will meet with UCLA representatives on Monday.
Kelly, 53, has taken the season off from coaching after being fired by the 49ers following his only year on the job. He still is being paid by the Niners thanks to his 4-year contract. Most believe that UCLA would not have the finances to compete with Florida on a coaching offer, but it seems they are in contention for the coach. It’s unclear if money from the 49ers for the next two years could help make a difference in offsetting pay.
Though Kelly is from the Northeast, he already proved at Oregon that he could win big in the Pac-12, which could make the UCLA job appealing to him. He has never coached in the SEC.