Chip Kelly agrees to deal with UCLA

UCLA has caught the big fish in the college football coaching search: Chip Kelly.

The Bruins made the announcement Saturday, confirming reports from the Los Angeles Times and USA TODAY Sports.

Kelly, who replaces Jim Mora, agreed to a five-year contract worth $23.3 million with a $9 million reciprocal buyout, according to UCLA.

"I am thrilled to welcome Chip Kelly to Westwood," Bruins athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "His success speaks for itself, but more than that, I firmly believe that his passion for the game and his innovative approach to coaching student-athletes make him the perfect fit for our program. 'Champions Made Here' is more than just a mantra at UCLA, and I'm confident that Chip will lead UCLA Football back to competing for championships."

Kelly, who was hired on his 54th birthday, will be formally introduced Monday afternoon.

"It is an absolute honor to join the Bruin Family, and I am grateful to Chancellor Block and to Dan Guerrero for this incredible opportunity," Kelly said. "UCLA is a world-class institution with a distinguished history in athletics, and we will do our part to uphold its tradition of excellence."

Considered one of the top candidates available in a market that has several high-profile openings, Kelly also received interest from Florida, Nebraska and Tennessee.

Kelly last coached with the San Francisco 49ers, who parted ways with Kelly in January after just one season. Kelly led the Philadelphia Eagles for parts of three seasons before he was fired late in the 2015 campaign. He compiled a 28-35 record as an NFL head coach, hardly the success he had during his four seasons with the Ducks where he cemented his status as an offensive guru.

Kelly was 46-7 at Oregon and led the Ducks to the BCS Championship game in 2010. He previously served as an offensive coordinator in Oregon. 

Kelly has been a college football analyst for ESPN this season.

The Bruins (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) became bowl eligible on Friday night with a 30-27 victory against Cal, led by interim coach Jedd Fisch.

Although star quarterback Josh Rosen is likely headed to the NFL, Mora leaves behind plenty of elite talent at UCLA, which recently opened the $65 million Wasserman Football Center. The lavish training complex finally provides the Bruins with facilities approaching the standards of their Pac-12 competitors — even Oregon, with its famously impressive trappings backed by Nike boss Phil Knight.

UCLA plays at Oregon on Nov. 3, 2018.

Kelly left Oregon with the school under investigation by the NCAA for recruiting violations. The Ducks eventually got three years of probation. Although the NCAA determined Kelly didn’t know about the violations, he was still given an 18-month show cause order, requiring any school wishing to hire him to justify its decision to the Committee of Infractions. That order has expired.

Contributing: The Associated Press

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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