Oregon head coach Chip Kelly is leaving the Ducks to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles announced Kelly as the successor to former Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid, who was fired on Dec. 31.
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” said Philadelphia owner Jeffrey Lurie in a statement, per ESPN. “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.”
According to the Eagles website, Kelly met with Lurie, team president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman for nearly nine hours in Arizona after his Fiesta Bowl win. Both parties were “engaging in a wide-ranging, enthusiastic discussion of everything from football philosophy to management and organizational values and ideas.”
In the days after the Ducks’ Fiesta Bowl win, Kelly met with representatives from the Eagles, the Cleveland Browns and the Buffalo Bills. On the night of Jan. 6, reports indicated that Kelly had decided to stay at Oregon, though no extended contract had been signed.
Just 10 days after he said he was “ecstatic” that Kelly had decided to stay with the Ducks, Oregon director of athletics Rob Mullens released a statement after the athletic department confirmed the move:
“I want to thank Chip for his leadership and commitment to building on the Oregon Football foundation of excellence. We have enjoyed incredible success over the past four years. I have great respect for Chip, consider him a friend and wish him the best of luck in the NFL. 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.”
In the wake of the announcement, Kelly was so talked-about that he became a nationwide trending topic on Twitter. Former Ducks, current NFL players and sports media figures from around the U.S. sounded off on the surprise move.
Mat Kearney, the singer-songwriter and Eugene native who became a viral sensation in the days after the Fiesta Bowl for his “Chip Don’t Go” plea, was particularly heartbroken. “Should have been more specific about Philly. I failed,” he tweeted.
In four seasons at Oregon, Kelly had as many conference championships as he did conference losses (three), and guided the Ducks to four straight BCS bowl games, the longest active streak in the nation. Oregon was among the nation’s leaders in rushing yards, total offense and scoring offense throughout the Kelly era thanks to a high-octane, uptempo offense that has already been mimicked by several other coaches.
Kelly finished his career at Oregon with a 46-7 record, including Rose and Fiesta Bowl wins. This will be the 49-year-old’s first foray into coaching in the NFL.
1:25 p.m. — Chip Kelly, en route to a private plane heading for Philadelphia, paused to speak to reporters about his decision to leave Oregon for the NFL.