EUGENE, Ore. — First he stayed, now he’s gone. Long rumored to be headed the NFL, the University of Oregon announced today that Ducks head coach Chip Kelly would be filling the spot vacated by Andy Reid as head coach of the Eagles.
The story broke early this morning through ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that Kelly was leaving, despite no official announcement. Then at 9:15 AM both the Philadelphia Eagles and the University of Oregon confirmed the news with press releases through their Twitter pages.
This comes just ten days after it was reported that Kelly had called UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens to inform him that he intended on staying with the Ducks.
Kelly caught a private flight out of the Eugene Airport on Wednesday afternoon to Philadelphia. The Eagles are planning on introducing Kelly soon according to a press release sent out Wednesday morning that said in part:
“[Kelly] met with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, team president Don Smolenski and general manager Howie Roseman early in the head coach search in Arizona after the Fiesta Bowl for almost nine hours with both sides engaging in a wide ranging, enthusiastic discussion of everything from football philosophy to management and organizational values and ideas.”
The UO held a press conference at 2:00 PM on Wednesday to take questions and confirm Kelly’s split from the program. Athletic Director Rob Mullens said he did not feel as though Kelly was misleading toward the university and instead spoke about finding a new coach for the upcoming season.
“We will be interviewing multiple candidates,” said Mullens.
When asked if Ducks Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich was the top candidate for the job, Mullens was non-committal, “We’ve got several coaches that could be head coaches, but we’ll also look outside the program.”
While the University has publicly stated that their plan of succession for the football team includes Helfrich, Oregon state law requires all universities to interview at least one minority candidate for all open head coach searches.
Oregon’s search is therefore expected to take at least a few days to complete while the athletic department interviews candidates.