As soon as Mario Cristobal left to become the Miami head football coach, rumors started popping up that Chip Kelly could return to take back the job he left after the 2012 season as Oregon Ducks head coach.
Kelly spent just four years with Oregon but he helped to turn the Ducks into a national program, leading them to a 46-7 record with two Rose Bowls, a Fiesta Bowl, and a National Championship Game appearance. He would find less success in the NFL but he’s resurrected his coaching career with the UCLA Bruins, getting them to 8-4 this season.
Kelly’s predecessor and former boss, Mike Bellotti, talked about how the idea of Chip Kelly coming back to Eugene might be more of a nostalgia trip than a good idea.
“Chip did a tremendous job when he was there, both for me as an offensive coordinator and then for me when I was the AD, as the head coach,” Bellotti said. “And the reality is, I don’t know if it’s possible to recreate lightning in a bottle.
“At that time, we were the most innovative program in the nation and Chip did a tremendous job. He’s had not as much success since he left Oregon. I don’t know if he would be interested in coming back and I don’t know if there’s true interest. I think from a fan perspective, you always say, ‘well, let’s put the old band together.’ That group of coaches is no longer available. Many of them have retired, would not come back, some are coaching elsewhere.”
Bellotti was sure to mention that, “in this day and age, anything could happen.” And that apparently could be the case as the Oregonian’s John Canzano is reporting that Oregon has asked UCLA for permission to talk to Kelly about the position.
This just in — the Oregon Ducks have asked for permission to speak with UCLA coach Chip Kelly about their fooball coaching vacancy, per University of Oregon source.
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) December 9, 2021
While it’s simply the first step in a much longer process, the news has a lot of people around college football talking on social media.
I can't remember when the "asking for permission" thing went by the wayside, but you don't hear it much anymore. https://t.co/N5ubmZ61IS
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 9, 2021
Etiquette in a coaching search? https://t.co/XfJfb5GjCG
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) December 9, 2021
Chip Kelly back at Oregon would be amazing https://t.co/AWWNN0d3Kc
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) December 9, 2021
time is a flat circle. https://t.co/TgV8eaKDtW
— Parker Thune (@ParkerThune) December 9, 2021
Can't even begin to imagine who the candidates might be at UCLA if Chip Kelly were to bounce to Oregon 🤔👀 https://t.co/BUMQsPpCCJ
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) December 9, 2021
We’ll see how it all shakes out but if Kelly does indeed return to Oregon, the expectations are going to be sky-high that he replicate his previous success. Not to mention it’s going to open up a very desirable position at UCLA. The coaching carousel simply keeps spinning.