Chip Kelly hasn’t won his last day at the University of Oregon.
First reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the talented offensive mind rebuffed potential NFL head coaching jobs at Cleveland and Philadelphia on Sunday night after a whirlwind of rumors, reports and ruminations following Oregon’s Fiesta Bowl win.
For Kelly, it marks the second straight year he has chosen his current position over one in the pros. Kelly reportedly broke the news to the Eagles sometime Sunday afternoon.
A University source confirmed the news to The Oregonian’s Adam Jude, among other media members.
Contributing to the flurry of information on social media, Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel tweeted that Kelly made an appearance late in the evening at a college coaches convention in Nashville.
Throughout the saga, especially following Oregon’s win in the Fiesta Bowl, Kelly said repeatedly he “would listen” to any NFL team interested in his talents. Yet he and other Oregon coaches never committed to either side of the fence. Following Thursday’s game, Kelly met first with the Browns, then the Bills. A lunch with the Eagles ran a reported nine hours, causing Kelly to miss a scheduled second meeting with the Browns.
Another factor in the decision may have been Nike co-founder and Oregon booster Phil Knight. The Oregon alum has been vocal about his support of Kelly and his desire for the coach to stay in Eugene.
“I want Chip,” Knight said, following the Fiesta Bowl win. “He listened to Tampa Bay for a long time, and he never did accept the job. We’ll see what happens.”
Oregon has gone 46-7 in Kelly’s four years as head coach. Only Boise State and Alabama have tallied more wins than Oregon during that same span. Duck fans at the Fiesta Bowl made it clear whose sidelines they hoped Kelly would prowl next year.
“We want Chip! We want Chip!” cascaded down during the trophy presentation. Kelly acknowledged the love in his press conference.
“I think it just, really for me, reaffirms what this place is all about,” Kelly said. “It’s a special place with special people. They accepted me six years ago when I was at New Hampshire. Not many people knew about me. Gave me an opportunity to come here. It really means a lot.”
The move also guarantees Kelly will be the head of the program during Oregon’s meetings this spring with the NCAA. Potential sanctions still hang above the program regarding the Ducks’ dealings with shady recruiter Willie Lyles.
“We’ve cooperated fully with the (NCAA),” Kelly said. “If they want to talk to us again, we’ll continue to cooperate fully. I feel confident in the situation.”
University officials are expected to comment on the situation Monday morning.