Report: Chip Kelly to Decide Between Florida, UCLA Coaching Jobs in Coming Days

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2017

Chip Kelly, entrenador de los 49ers de San Francisco, habla en conferencia de prensa después su partido contra los Seahawks de Seattle en Santa Clara, California, el domingo 1 de enero de 2017. (AP Foto/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Florida is apparently not Chip Kelly's only potential destination. Kelly, widely rumored to be the favorite for the Gators' vacancy, met with UCLA officials Tuesday and is expected to decide between the jobs in the "coming days."

 of ESPN.com reported the news, tweeting Kelly will not consider other openings.

However, George Schroeder of USA Today reported that UCLA's relationship with Under Armour is a "potential sticking point" given Kelly's relationship with Nike's Phil Knight.

Schroeder added Kelly is "believed to be intrigued" by the Arizona State job, adding that head coach Todd Graham's "status is tenuous." The report noted Arizona State's relationship with Adidas "might not be as difficult an issue with Knight."

Kelly also turned down Tennessee and Nebraska after overtures, per Schroeder. 

Kelly, 53, last coached for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. He was fired after he went 2-14, which gave him a 28-35 record across four seasons as an NFL head coach, three of which were with the Philadelphia Eagles.

UCLA fired head coach Jim Mora earlier this week. Mora went 46-30 in six seasons with the Bruins but had losing marks each of the last two years.

The Bruins job will require rebuilding on both sides of the ball. While UCLA's offense ranks among the country's most prolific through the air (No. 6), junior quarterback Josh Rosen is likely headed to the NFL. With a defense that ranks near the bottom of college football in most categories—highlighted by a 37.6-points-against average—the UCLA job appears difficult on the surface.

Florida fired Jim McElwain last month after a 3-4 start. McElwain went 22-12 overall and won the SEC East during each of his first two seasons in Gainesville but could not revive one of the sport's most moribund offenses. The Gators finished outside the top 100 in offense in each season under McElwain.

Rebuilding offenses has been Kelly's calling card throughout his career, and Florida has enough defensive talent returning.

The biggest question for Kelly could be the allure of a Pac-12 return versus the challenge of coaching in the SEC. Kelly knows he can have success in the Pac-12; he went 46-7 in four seasons at Oregon and built the Ducks into a perennial title contender. The conference is also lacking a powerhouse program. There's an opportunity for him to build UCLA into the Pac-12's pre-eminent school.

That won't happen at Florida. Alabama is going to be the conference championship favorite so long as Nick Saban is stalking the sidelines. Georgia and Auburn are Top 10 programs. LSU is always hanging around, and Texas A&M will probably make a big coaching splash if it moves on from Kevin Sumlin.

The prospect of taking a job where he's at best the second fiddle in a conference might be the one thing that turns Kelly in UCLA's direction.