By: AJ Untermeyer and Spencer Orofino 

Every phone in Eugene was buzzing Wednesday, everyone’s newsfeed on Facebook was filled with the same claims, and by 10 o’clock AM, Chip Kelly confirmed them all.

After four years as Head Football Coach of the Oregon Ducks, he will be taking his talents to the N.F.L. with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Emotions are mixed in the Oregon football world, as everyone is grateful for what Kelly has done for the program, but sad to see him go. Just four years ago Kelly became head coach of the Ducks, and instantly became famous for his fast paced offense, gutsy fourth down play calls, and strict policy of player conduct and standards.

The announcement comes as a shock to the Oregon football community, as just days ago Kelly, made the decision that he would forgo the move to the N.F.L., and stay in Eugene.

What changed the mind of the 49- year old signal caller, since his original meetings with N.F.L teams in the days following his teams win over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl?

We may never know, but he may have felt this was his last chance to make the jump from the college level to the pros.

Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens spoke to Chip Kelly on the Sunday following the Fiesta Bowl, and that was the last time that the two of them had talked together about coaching in the N.F.L., that is, before his phone rang at 7:15 am Wednesday 3

“When he had called me the Sunday after the Fiesta Bowl I did think that was it” – Rob Mullens

A search for a new coach of the Oregon football team may take a little longer than some think. A national search needs to be done, due to a new Oregon State Law which provides a national search must take place,. That could prevent a direct handover to a current in house coach, without a look elsewhere.

This doesn’t mean that candidates such as current Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich will fall off the list, but rather means it will take time. Many different candidates will be interviewed, to truly try and find the perfect fit.

 “Timing is less than ideal, no doubt… We are in a critical period (recruiting), our assistant coaches will remain on the road and the recruiting process will continue” – Rob Mullens

Kelly’s reign as head coach was an impressive one boasting a 46-7 record and various other accomplishments. In his first year leading the Ducks, he carried them to a 10-2 regular season record, and the Pac-10 title, their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1994, and along the way managed to win the award of Pac-10 ‘Coach of the Year.’

From there he took the team to new heights with another 3 consecutive B.C.S. Bowl Games including a 2012 Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin, as well a 2013 Fiesta Bowl victory against Kansas State. Kelly has kept the team ranked in the Top 5 for the past 3 years and brought two Pac-10 Titles,and the first ever Pac-12 Title to the Oregon Ducks.

Kelley boarded a private jet around 10:30am Wednesday from Eugene heading directly to Philadelphia where he will be introduced as the 21st and new Head Coach of the Eagles at 1:30p (ET) Thursday.

No terms have been released of Kelley’s new deal, but insiders say he wanted to be the highest paid Coach in College Football, and the Ducks were only prepared to make him among the top-5.

Kelley was seeking a raise of near $5.5 million dollars per year from Oregon.

Meantime, most of his coaching staff is strung out across the Country recruiting players with the signing day just 2-weeks away, and many suspect Kelley’s departure could hurt their chances to land many top recruits.

At the same time, Eagles fans were reacting to his hire, and many question if he can make the Birds as successful as the Ducks.

Hear Philadelphia Inquire sportswriter Zach Berman’s interview on ESPN 940-AM.

[buzzsprout episode=’73215′ player=’true’]

Posted in

Jay Reese

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *