Oregon has requested permission to speak with former coach Chip Kelly about its coaching vacancy, the Oregonian reported Thursday.
Kelly currently coaches UCLA and his buyout is reportedly $9 million.
The Bruins are 8-4 this season but only 18-25 overall in Kelly’s four seasons at the school. UCLA is set to play in the Holiday Bowl against North Carolina State on Dec. 28.
Oregon is in the market for a coach after Mario Cristobal departed to become coach at Miami, his alma mater.
Kelly went 46-7 with the Ducks from 2009-12. Oregon reached the national championship game in 2010 but lost 22-19 to Cam Newton-led Auburn.
Kelly departed to the NFL to become coach of the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15) and was fired after three seasons. He then was hired by the San Francisco 49ers (2016) and dismissed after one season.
He went 28-35 as an NFL head coach and made one playoff appearance (a loss in 2013 with the Eagles).
Former Oregon coach and athletic director Mike Bellotti expressed mixed feelings about the 58-year-old Kelly possibly returning to Eugene on Sirius XM Pac-12 radio earlier this week.
“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.
“But I think that in this day and age, anything could happen. You’re never surprised by anything. When you start looking at it, (Lincoln) Riley going to USC and (Brian) Kelly going to LSU … it’s an interesting world. And I think if there was the belief that Chip could replicate, both in his mind and in the minds of the boosters and administrators, the kind of success he had here previously, then there’d be no question he’d be certainly one of the first people they call. I don’t know if that’s happening.”
BYU coach Kalani Sitake is also reportedly a candidate for the opening.
–Field Level Media