University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly stunned the college community Wednesday by taking an NFL job. He’ll be the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. The announcement came a little more than a week after university officials said Kelly opted to stay with the Ducks.
Eugene TV station KMTR caught up with Kelly at the Eugene airport Wednesday. He said leaving was a difficult decision, but that he’s confident the team will be fine:
“This program’s in great shape,” Kelly said. “They’ve got great players in the program, this thing’s always been about the players, and will always continue to be about the players.”
Some U of O students took the news hard. Here’s Casey Dahlstrom: “I was heartbroken. I felt really upset that he had kinda committed back to us, and then all of a sudden was leaving. And to Philadelphia? That’s really not a good jump in my books.”
Following Oregon’s victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, Kelly flirted with three NFL teams: Philadelphia, Cleveland and Buffalo. But after a weekend of rumors and speculation, the university announced that Kelly would stay.
Wednesday afternoon, Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens said he’s “laser-focused” on the search for a new coach. Under Kelly’s leadership, the Ducks racked up one of the best records in college football.
The Associated Press, KLCC radio and KMTR TV contributed to this story.