Chip Kelly Rumors: Oregon Requests Interview with UCLA HC After Mario Cristobal Exit

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2021

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Chip Kelly of the UCLA Bruins reacts on the sidelines during the first half of a game against the California Golden Bears at Rose Bowl on November 27, 2021 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Michael Owens/Getty Images

Who said you can never go home?

According to John Canzano of The Oregonian, Oregon has requested to interview UCLA head coach Chip Kelly for its head football coaching vacancy. 

Chris Low @ClowESPN

Confirming <a href="https://twitter.com/johncanzanobft?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@johncanzanobft</a>'s report. <a href="https://twitter.com/oregonfootball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@oregonfootball</a> is making a hard push to bring back Chip Kelly as the Ducks' head coach, sources tell ESPN. He has a lot of support there after taking Oregon to the national championship game in 2010. His buyout at UCLA is $9 million.

Kelly famously served as the Ducks head coach between the 2009 and 2012 seasons. 

The 58-year-old also served as the program's offensive coordinator in the 2007 and '08 seasons, and his fast-paced spread offense helped revolutionize the college game. 

It also led to one of the most successful periods of football in Oregon's history. With Kelly as head coach, the Ducks went 46-7 across four seasons, 2-2 in bowl games and reached the BCS Championship Game in the 2010 season, losing to Florida State. 

Kelly's Ducks twice were ranked No. 1 overall in the country by the Associated Press, and finished as a Top Four team in those rankings in his last three seasons. 

Jim Rome @jimrome

.<a href="https://twitter.com/BruceFeldmanCFB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BruceFeldmanCFB</a> on a possible Chip Kelly return to Oregon. <a href="https://t.co/OBqjyxz7B4">pic.twitter.com/OBqjyxz7B4</a>

But the New Hampshire native left for the NFL in 2013, taking over as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach. In three seasons with the Birds and one with the San Francisco 49ers (2016), he went just 28-35, with only one playoff berth. After two 10-win seasons in his first two NFL seasons, he was fired in 2015 after a 6-9 start to the season and only last one year with the Niners following a 2-14 disaster. 

So Kelly returned to the college game in 2018 with the UCLA Bruins after taking a year off from coaching. In four seasons at Westwood, he's gone just 18-25, though the team finished 8-4 in 2021 and earned a Holiday Bowl berth. 

If he takes the Oregon job, Kelly would be replacing Mario Cristobal, who departed for the Miami Hurricanes gig. Cristobal was 35-13 in parts of five seasons at Oregon, winning two Pac-12 titles.