If Chip Kelly Leaves for the NFL, Which Coaches Would/Wouldn't Go with Him?

Shannon HartleyContributor IIIDecember 19, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Head coach Chip Kelly of the Oregon Ducks waslks down the sideline after his Ducks scored a second quater touchdown against the Auburn Tigers in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Chip Kelly transformed the Oregon football program when he first took the job as offensive coordinator for the Ducks in 2007. 

Since his start at Oregon, Kelly has implemented a football system that is unlike any other in the country. The only way for Kelly's system to work, though, is to have everyone in the program buy into it.

Not only the players, but the assistant coaches as well, which is exactly what they have all done.

With talks of Kelly leaving for the NFL, it seems unlikely that he would start fresh and reteach his system with a completely new coaching staff.

If Kelly were to leave, here are the coaches that would either accept or decline his offer:

Coaches Who Would Decline

Mark Helfrich, Offensive Coordinator

Mark Helfrich probably has the best backup option if he doesn't join Kelly in going to the NFL. More than likely, Helfrich would take over for Kelly and become the head coach for the Ducks. 

Mark Helfrich is an Oregon native who has loved the Ducks since he was a boy. I don't see him turning his dream job down for the offensive coordinator job under Kelly in the NFL. The only way I could see Helfrich turn it down would be for a head coaching job of his own in the NFL, not under Chip Kelly.

Nick Aliotti, Defensive Coordinator

Aliotti has been around the block a few times. He started out coaching as a graduate assistant for the Ducks in 1978, but he left after '79 to find a coaching position he could make a living out of. After a few stints at Oregon State and Chico State, Aliotti ended up back at Oregon as the linebackers coach under Rich Brooks. When Brooks' chance opened in the NFL, he took it and brought along Aliotti to be his special teams coach.

After three years in the big leagues and a short, one-year job at UCLA, Aliotti found his way back to Eugene in 1999, this time as the defensive coordinator.

From what I can tell, Aliotti genuinely loves the Oregon program, the fanbase and the Eugene area. He has already had his try in the NFL, and I so I see no reason for him to leave once again.

Gary Campbell, Running Backs Coach

Gary Campbell loves being a mentor to the athletes that come through the Oregon program. Campbell not only mentors his players on a football standpoint, but also instills everyday life lessons into their lives. Players such as LaMichael James have said numerous times that coach Campbell is a father figure. He connects with the players on a very personal level.

Campbell is coming up on his 30th year of coaching at Oregon, and I don't see his loyalty to the program running off. If he did leave for the NFL, Campbell wouldn't be able to be much of a mentor, with the NFL being run more as a business than a college-like atmosphere where students take in as much wisdom as they possibly can.

Steve Greatwood, Offensive Line

Greatwood is a Eugene native with more than 30 years of coaching experience under his belt. Other than at Oregon, Greatwood has coached at Maryland, USC and two seasons in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams. 

Like Aliotti, Greatwood has been around the block a few times. It's time for him to settle down in his hometown and coach one of college football's powerhouse teams. What a crap life that must be.

Greatwood isn't going anywhere.

Scott Frost, Wide Receivers Coach

Scott Frost recently interviewed for the head coaching job at Louisiana Tech, which was given to Skip Holtz, son of Lou Holtz. 

It seems that more than anything, Frost wants to start a legacy of his own. I don't see him going to the NFL or staying at Oregon very long—once he lands a head coaching job, he will take it.

Coaches Who Would Accept

Jerry Azzinaro, Defensive Line

Coach Azz has accumulated almost 30 years of coaching college football. He has coached various positions as well as being the head man. As the defensive line coach at Syracuse, Azzinaro prepared now-NFL-superstar Dwight Freeney for the draft.

Azzinaro is a New York native, so I doubt he has much connection with Oregon or the university. 

Coach Azz's high energy would fit right in with NFL. With what he has done at Oregon with subpar talent, I can't imagine what he could do with NFL talent.

Because he has never taken a shot at the at the big leagues, I think Azzinaro would follow if Kelly offered him a position.

John Neal, Defensive Backs Coach

John Neal, a graduate of BYU, has accumulated over 30 years of coaching experience in multiple conferences, including the powerhouse SEC. As Oregon's defensive backs coach, Neal has coached many athletes to be NFL-ready. 

In the last four seasons, Neal has sent four defensive backs into the NFL draft, including Patriots safety Patrick Chung, Browns safety TJ Ward and Bills safety Jairus Byrd

Although Neal has 30 years of coaching experience, his biggest tie to the state of Oregon is football. He has not yet coached in the NFL, and I believe he could end up leaving the Oregon program should Kelly take off.

Tom Osborne, Tight Ends/Special Teams Coach

Osborne consistently turns Oregon tight end recruits into NFL-caliber players. In his second stint with the Ducks starting in '07, "coach Oz" has sent his two starting tight ends, Ed Dickson and David Paulson, to the NFL. Dickson starts for the Baltimore Ravens, and Paulson is a backup to Heath Miller in his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In recent years (this year has been terrible), the Ducks special teams units have been impactful and consistent. When Osborne came back in 2007, Oregon was second in the conference in kickoff return yards and fourth in kickoff coverage. That was after a year of being special teams bottom-dwellers in the Pac-10. 

It's every coaches dream to coach in the NFL. Since Osborne hasn't yet, I don't see why he would turn it down.

Don Pellum, Linebackers Coach

To be honest, I'm not sure about Pellum. He graduated from Oregon after playing football for four years and has coached there most of his career. Although he seems loyal to his alma mater, I think Pellum might take a shot at the NFL if given the opportunity.

Pellum has been known to utilize his players' talents, even if they are undersized or playing out of their normal position. He has proved his abilities with players such as Boseko Lokombo and Spencer Paysinger, who are both undersized backers but use their speed, smarts and athleticism to excel.

Pellum would be a good fit for the NFL. I'm sure Chip Kelly would love for him to tag along.

If Kelly leaves...


    Auburn Lands 2019 4-Star ATH Jashawn Sheffield

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Auburn Lands 2019 4-Star ATH Jashawn Sheffield

    SDS Staff
    via Saturday Down South

    Florida State Lands 2019 4-Star DE Curtis Fann

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Florida State Lands 2019 4-Star DE Curtis Fann

    Tallahassee Democrat
    via Tallahassee Democrat

    Lane Kiffin Signs 10-Year Extension at FAU

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Lane Kiffin Signs 10-Year Extension at FAU

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Ex-Rutgers DB Aiken Killed in Single-Car Crash

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Ex-Rutgers DB Aiken Killed in Single-Car Crash

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report