Stick Salute: Chip Kelly Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is

Jennie LuptakCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2009

BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 3:  Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly looks out onto the field during the third quarter of the game against the Boise State Broncos on September 3, 2009 in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 19-8. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

At the end of college hockey games, players gather at center ice and ceremoniously raise their sticks in salute to the fans. Similarly, this weekly installment will pay homage to those feel-good stories that remind us how wonderful sports really are.

We’ve all thought about doing it. Whether it was a poor effort from our alma mater or an embarrassing upset by our unranked opponent, every sports fan has quietly shook his or her head, shuffled out the gates and muttered, “I paid to see that? I want a refund.”

Far fewer have actually demanded it.

Tony Seminary did.

According to Spencer Hall of Every Day Should Be Saturday, Seminary, a 1996 alumnus of the University of Oregon, was so angry with the Ducks’ performance in their season-opening loss to Boise State that he e-mailed head football coach Chip Kelly and requested a refund.

“I am sending you an invoice for my trip to Boise,” Seminary wrote. “The product on the field Thursday night is not something I was at all proud of, and I feel as though I am entitled to my money back for the trip.”

He even offered to send along receipts.

A few days later, Seminary received a personal check from Kelly, written out for the full $439 listed on the invoice.

Seminary insists he never actually expected anything to come of it.

“It was definitely sent in jest. Sometimes you send an e-mail, and you just feel better after you sent it? That’s kind of how I felt,” he explained.

After making a few copies of the check, Seminary tucked the original in a thank-you note and sent it back to Kelly who, Seminary pledges, will always be “my coach, our coach, through thick and thin.”

Ours, too.

This week’s Stick Salute goes to Chip Kelly, head football coach at the University of Oregon, for putting his $439 where his mouth is, and for understanding the plight of the fan.