University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly was hired as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, bringing his fast-paced offense to the National Football League.
Kelly, 49, compiled a 46-7 record in four years at Oregon and reached four straight Bowl Championship Series games. His offensive system averaged 49.5 points a game this past season, the second-highest at college football’s top level, and 44.7 points during his tenure.
Kelly succeeds Andy Reid, who was fired Dec. 31 after the team finished 4-12 and missed the playoffs for the second straight season. Reid’s 14-year run in Philadelphia was the longest of any active coach in the NFL.
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh, energetic approach to our team.”
Kelly interviewed with Lurie, team President Don Smolenski and General Manager Howie Roseman for nine hours in Arizona following Oregon’s 35-17 Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State on Jan. 3. ESPN reported three days later that Kelly would remain at Oregon after interviewing with the Eagles and for the Cleveland Browns’ coaching job.
The Eagles said in their news release that Kelly had decided he wanted to stay at Oregon, yet continued to evaluate the opportunity to work in the NFL. The Ducks won the Rose Bowl for the first time in 95 years after the 2011 season and were in position for a spot in the national championship game this past season before a Nov. 17 loss to Stanford.
“I have great respect for Chip, consider him a friend and wish him the best of luck in the NFL,” Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens said in a statement on the school’s website. “Oregon Athletics has executed two successful head-coach transitions in the past 18 years and each time we continued our ascent. We are focused on identifying a leader who is the right fit to guide Oregon football.”
Kelly becomes the Eagles’ 21st coach and the first hired by Philadelphia from the college ranks since Dick Vermeil left UCLA in 1976.
Kelly was Oregon’s offensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008 before taking over as coach. He was an assistant coach at the University of New Hampshire, his alma mater, from 1994 to 2006.
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