Will anyone land Chip Kelly this offseason?
After being presumed as the favorite for the head coaching vacancies at Florida and UCLA, both programs are reportedly seeking out other candidates.
According to Yahoo Sports‘ Pat Forde, the Gators remain engaged with the former Oregon and NFL coach, but are preparing to “widen” their search following a reported meeting with the coach in New Hampshire on Sunday.
“Kelly is the school’s top candidate for the job, and the coach has taken his time to engage in a deliberate evaluation of Florida,” Forde wrote. “But with other potential candidates becoming available for discussion this weekend, Florida officials appear to be ready to move on shortly after Thanksgiving if a deal has not been struck with Kelly.”
Forde noted that if Florida’s search does extend past Kelly, he expects UCF’s Scott Frost — a member of the Kelly coaching tree — and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen — a former Gators offensive coordinator — to be considered top candidates for the position.
Meanwhile, longtime Florida-based media personality Buddy Martin claimed that UCLA was “moving on” from its pursuit of Kelly, implying that the coach was expected to join the Gators and — despite noting that he wasn’t reporting anything as a fact — said he was “completely, 100 percent confident” in his sources during a Facebook Live broadcast on Tuesday.
“Everything we hear and have heard today indicates to us that things are progressing as we thought they would progress,” Martin said. “It’s an hour by hour story, and it’s fluid. I just got off the phone with one of my insiders who informed us about the flights to New Hampshire. We’re getting information from several sources …
“UCLA is moving on to someplace else, according to my source,” Martin added.”There ya go. There’s a lot of other evidence out there. They don’t have the cash to get Kelly. Nobody in our group of people, who are pretty smart, has heard a single word from anybody talking about Kelly and UCLA. They haven’t heard the Kelly people talking about it. I never bought into the UCLA thing.”
Kelly led Oregon to a 46-7 (33-3 Pac-12) overall record from 2009-2012, which included four BCS bowl game appearances, three Pac-12 conference championships and a BCS title game appearance in 2010.
While his NFL coaching career left much to be desired, there’s no denying that Kelly was one of college football’s best coaches while at Oregon. The Ducks were consistently a national contender and quarterback Marcus Mariota became the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner during his tenure.
Both teams are still early in their respective coaching searches and likely won’t announce anything until after the completion of the regular season this weekend. In fact, it was reported by Buddy Martin that Kelly may wait to sign with a team so he could get the rest of his buyout from the San Francisco 49ers.