A week after it seemed like the coach would be staying in Eugene after all, Chip Kelly bolted for the Philadelphia Eagles head coaching job.
Just hours later, the school went into full search-mode to find their next head coach and try to put the surprising departure of Kelly behind them. Athletic director Rob Mullens released a statement later on Wednesday about the state of his football program:
“We’re here moving forward. We’re not going to worry about what happened. He made a decision that was best for him and we wish him well. He’s been great for Oregon football and we’re moving on.”
It’s hard for the university to be mad at the coach for leaving since he turned them into instant title contenders and a scary team to play.
Kelly was easily one of the best coaches in college football– he had what it took to win on this level– but is it too soon for the coach to be leaving for the NFL?
Well, let’s take a look at his history. Just seven short years ago, he was the offensive coordinator at New Hampshire– a position that he held for seven years. Before that, he never held a head coaching job and made stops in Columbia and Johns Hopkins before landing a job in New Hampshire as the offensive guy.
He then accepted the role of a lifetime as the offensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks, leading them to two straight Pac-10, now known as the Pac-12, scoring titles.
In 2009, then-head coach Mike Bellotti was promoted to athletic director which led to the promotion of Chip Kelly to head coach, his first head coaching job in college football.
Kelly had been the coach of the Ducks since 2009 and led them to four straight double-digit win seasons, including an appearance in the 2010 national title game. He finished either first or tied for first in each of the four seasons and won the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl in his final two seasons as coach.
Final record at Oregon for Kelly was 47-7, including an incredible 33-3 record in conference play.
But is he ready for the NFL?
I would like to say yes since he is such a talented head coach, but I feel like this may be too soon to be thrown into the fire. He was only a head coach for four years, although he did prove himself to be very talented as a coach.
He is offensive-minded, and that could be a perfect fit for the Eagles with such a talented offense. The up-tempo style that Kelly utilizes could work to give Michael Vick another chance in Philadelphia, while giving LeSean McCoy more carries than he had under Andy Reid.
Overall, it was a risky hire by the Eagles, but one that could pay off in the long-run.
Will Kelly be a failure in the NFL like Nick Saban, or a success like Jim Harbaugh? Time will tell.