As the 2023 season drew to a close, speculations started circulating about the potential departure of UCLA’s coach, Chip Kelly, who had been with the team for a long time. Despite extending his contract by two years in March, the school opted to keep their head coach following a season that ended with an 8-5 record.
Nevertheless, the narrative shifted when Kelly himself began exploring alternative opportunities. Similar to Caleb Downs choosing Ohio State over other available options, UCLA’s former coach favored Ohio State’s demoted position over retaining his head coaching role at UCLA.
Ohio State to hire Chip Kelly as OC
Chip Kelly has been appointed as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Ohio State, stepping into the shoes of Bill O’Brien, per Dispatch. The announcement of Kelly’s hiring comes with a three-year agreement.
Athletic director Martin Jarmond confirmed Kelly’s departure from UCLA in a letter, signaling the end of a six-season tenure with the Bruins.
Meanwhile, Buckeyes coach Ryan Day expressed his enthusiasm about the new addition.
“We are extremely excited to have Chip and his wife, Jill, joining our program. His experience as a head coach at Oregon, UCLA, and in the NFL will bring immediate value to our entire team. I am really looking forward to reconnecting with Chip, introducing him to our staff and team and chasing a championship together.”
Kelly’s tenure at UCLA had its share of challenges. He started with three consecutive losing seasons before a turnaround in 2021 resulted in an 8-4 record. However, the 2023 season witnessed offensive struggles attributed to quarterback inconsistency, prompting Kelly to explore new opportunities.
The former UCLA coach took a different route after the season, interviewing during the previous two weeks for several NFL offensive coordinator openings. Finally, he joined the Buckeyes after achieving a record of 35-34 during his time with the Bruins.
Nevertheless, under the terms of an extension signed with UCLA in March, he is obligated to pay the school $1.5 million for his departure.
What’s next for UCLA after Chip Kelly’s embarrassing choice?
Chip Kelly’s decision to transition from head coach to offensive coordinator has left UCLA in a challenging position. The move has raised eyebrows and triggered questions about the future of the UCLA program.
What adds a layer of complexity to Kelly’s departure is the timing. He chose to leave UCLA in February after other coaching vacancies in Division I football had been filled.
With the Big Ten on the horizon and spring practice approaching, UCLA finds itself in a scramble to fill the void left by him. The difficulties of managing this change are made more complex by the complicated legacy Kelly leaves at UCLA.
This situation prompts important inquiries about the future of the program and the obstacles mid-level teams encounter in the era of NIL.
UCLA now faces a limited range of obvious choices, particularly towards the end of a busy coaching cycle. Kelly’s departure for an offensive coordinator role, especially in UCLA’s new league, brings attention to the program and presents challenges like playing home games off-campus at the Rose Bowl and a fan base that tends to be apathetic.
The decisions made in the coming weeks will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the UCLA program and addressing the complexities introduced by this unexpected coaching transition.