*Kelly was previously the head coach at UCLA
*Before that, Kelly was the head coach of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles
*Kelly will play his old team, as UCLA joins the Big10 next season
Chip Kelly was ready for a change, not just from UCLA, but from his role as a head coach at the collegiate level. His decision to forgo a $6 million salary for the 2024 season, along with a $4 million severance he would likely have received after potentially being let go (to reportedly accept the position of offensive coordinator at Ohio State) speaks volumes.
This shift became a possibility when Bill O’Brien departed from Ohio State for the head coaching position at Boston College. Despite Kelly’s apparent interest in similar roles within the NFL (none of which materialized), Ohio State emerged as an attractive alternative for him.
Kelly Leaves Millions In Cash On The Table To Leave UCLA For Ohio State
Kelly was slated to make mega-bucks as a college football coach next season with UCLA. In fact, he was to be one of the highest paid coaches in all of professional sports. Though Ohio State’s compensation will not match the $10 million Kelly stood to gain by staying at UCLA, leaving such a significant sum indicates a strong motivation for his departure.
Several significant motivations factor into Kelly’s move from UCLA. Financial constraints at UCLA, especially with the anticipated future earnings from joining the Big Ten, are not viewed as ready to compete at the highest levels of the conference. USC’s poaching of D’Anton Lynn, Kelly’s defensive coordinator, by simply doubling his salary, underscores this point. Additionally, UCLA’s challenges in the area of name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights further complicate player retention.
While these reasons are compelling, it seems more like Kelly knows he’s only good for one thing: calling offensive plays – and even that came under fire this past season.
Back in 2017, when Kelly was a candidate for both the Florida and UCLA coaching vacancies, it seemed improbable to many that he would choose UCLA over a program like Florida, with its rich history of national championships. However, Kelly’s penchant for offensive innovation & a less conventional approach to recruiting made UCLA appear as a more suitable match for his coaching style.
Since then, the landscape of college football has undergone significant changes, including the introduction of the transfer portal & NIL agreements, as well as expanded conference play. These changes have made coaching in college football more complex & less appealing to some, including legendary coach Nick Saban.
The recent trend of high-profile college coaches transitioning to different roles, like the retirement of Nick Saban & Jim Harbaugh’s departure from Michigan to move to the NFL, reflects broader concerns about the future of college sports. While not every coach may follow this path, those who do are indicative of the evolving challenges within the collegiate sports environment.
It’s simply, really: Adapt, or die.
Chip Kelly’s departure is part of this broader narrative, highlighting a desire for change amid an increasingly complex college football scene. So, to get ahead of this ever-evolving sport & narrative, Kelly has decided to hide in the back while ALSO picking a school that will play his old team in their new conference.
Do you think America will be tuning into that game? I think so.