Chip Kelly Rumors: Florida to Widen Search; Remain 'Engaged' with Kelly

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2017

FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2017, file photo, San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Santa Clara, Calif. Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly is joining ESPN as a studio analyst next season. ESPN announced Friday, May 26, 2017,  it has signed Kelly to a multiyear deal. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

While Florida reportedly remains interested in hiring Chip Kelly to be its next head football coach, the school is widening its search, according to Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports. 

Kelly reportedly met with university president Kent Fuchs, athletic director Scott Stricklin and other Florida officials Sunday but the two sides did not come to an agreement. While the former Oregon coach is still considered the top candidate, the Gators could also look at UCF coach Scott Frost or Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, per Forde.

Florida has been considered one of the top openings in college football since Jim McElwain was fired in October. However, UCLA became an intriguing option after it fired head coach Jim Mora Jr.

According to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, the Bruins are expected to pursue Kelly and several opposing coaches expect him to choose the Pac-12 school if given the choice.

Tennessee also remains an intriguing possibility after firing Butch Jones this month.

Kelly had spent four years in the NFL with the Eagles and 49ers, accumulating a 28-35 record from 2013-16. However, he is such a hot commodity on the coaching carousel thanks to his work at Oregon. He spent four years with the Ducks from 2009-12, earning a 46-7 record and reaching a BCS bowl each season. His squad lost in the national title game after an undefeated 2010 regular season.

Every school is hoping he can bring his high-powered offenses to help return their programs to glory, although it seems Florida is at least hedging its bets by considering other options.