Chip Kelly, UCLA Agree to New 4-Year Contract After 8-4 Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 15, 2022

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly runs on the field before the team's NCAA college football game against Washington, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Chip Kelly's tenure as UCLA's head football coach will continue after he and the Bruins agreed to a new four-year deal Friday. 

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman first reported the news. 

Kelly is just 18-25 overall in his four years, but he led the Bruins to an 8-4 mark and a Holiday Bowl berth in 2021. COVID-19 issues within the UCLA program forced the Holiday Bowl's cancellation.

The Bruins also crushed rival USC 62-33 on Nov. 20. UCLA had lost two of its three games to USC under Kelly before its dominant 2021 performance.

The contract news comes after Scott Roussel of FootballScoop reported in December 2020 that UCLA was "not guaranteed" to bring Kelly back for the 2021 campaign and planned on vetting potential big-name replacements such as Urban Meyer and Chris Petersen.

However, athletic director Martin Jarmond shot down such rumors before the school brought Kelly back in 2021:

Martin Jarmond @MartinJarmond

Not true. Very disappointing <a href="https://twitter.com/FootballScoop?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FootballScoop</a> , how about you call me next time. Go Bruins! 💙🐻💛 <a href="https://t.co/HBqqyKhKNr">https://t.co/HBqqyKhKNr</a>

UCLA showed noticeable improvement in 2021 after three straight losing seasons to start Kelly's tenure.

Still, the hope for the Bruins when they hired Kelly was that he could replicate the success he enjoyed at Oregon from 2009-12.

He went 46-7 and was known for his innovative, no-huddle offense that exploited mismatches in the defense with tempo and speed. His Ducks teams went to the national championship game and two Rose Bowls during his tenure, and he won the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl in his final two seasons, respectively.

It seemed as if the Pac-12 would never catch up to Kelly's offense at the time, but he chose to test himself at the NFL level following such a successful run with the Ducks.

It appeared as if Kelly was well on his way to an impressive NFL career at 10-6 in each of his first two years with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2014, but he was fired in 2015 following a 6-9 start.

The San Francisco 49ers then fired him after just one season when he went 2-14 in 2016.

UCLA took a chance on Kelly hoping he could rediscover his collegiate touch. That wasn't the case from 2018-2020, but the offensive innovator's performance last season has created hope that brighter days are ahead in Westwood.