Good-bye, Chip Kelly. And good luck, Oregon Ducks.
In a move that stunned the football world (for the most part), Oregon coach Chip Kelly reversed field and, just days after announcing he would stay in Eugene rather than move on to the NFL, accepted an offer to become the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He is to be introduced on Thursday.
Kelly will replace Andy Reid, who enjoyed a mostly successful but sometimes frustrating tenure in Philadelphia--one that saw the Eagles get ever so close to, but ultimately fall short of, a Super Bowl win.
"Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. "He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team."
While some will question Kelly's ability to compete at the pro level--he's never coached in the NFL--there's no doubting his record of success in college. He was 46-7 during his four-year run in Oregon, and during that time established the Ducks as one of the Top 5 programs in the nation, not to mention the unquestioned power of the Pac-12--no small achievement, given the historic dominance of the Los Angeles teams out there.
In a statement, Oregon athletic director Rob Mullins thanked Kelly for his "leadership and commitment" during his time with the Ducks.
Said Mullins: "We have enjoyed incredible success over the past four years. I have great respect for Chip, consider him a friend and wish him the best of luck in the NFL. ... Oregon Athletics has executed two successful head coach transitions in the past eighteen years and each time we continued our ascent. We are focused on identifying a leader who is the right fit to guide Oregon Football."
That search begins now; the question, of course, is whether the Ducks will find another coach as dynamic, and as successful, as Kelly.
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