Chip Kelly departs as UCLA football coach – Daily News

The Chip Kelly era has concluded in Westwood.

After six seasons at the helm at UCLA, Kelly is expected to become the offensive coordinator at Ohio State, according to multiple reports.

The veteran head coach was said to be emotional while talking with players during a meeting Friday as he explained his decision to leave. An interim has not been named.

UCLA has started a national search for a new head coach. Athletic director Martin Jarmond has asked the players for a 96-hour window before making any decisions to transfer from the university.

“Timing is a challenge,” Jarmond said. “I’ll be honest, timing is a challenge, but any time you go through a change or a search, there’s never a good time. That’s life. So we aren’t going to focus on that, we’re going to focus on doing what we need to do to get the next leader of this program.”

Erin Adkins, Christina Munger-Rivera and Josh Rebholz are among the executive team members who will assist Jarmond with the coaching search.

The athletic director told reporters that the university was not caught off guard and was ready to move forward with its coaching search after he received a call from Kelly on Friday morning about his intentions to leave his post.

Jarmond also expressed confidence that the university will do well with its search for the next head coach, despite being the only program in the sport that will have a search going on while the bulk of the college coaching job cycle already settled down.

The roster could take a significant hit with players now having a 30-day window to transfer out of the school and find another university to continue their careers. The Bruins were expecting to see several players return for the 2024 season, including quarterback Ethan Garbers, receiver J.Michael Sturdivant and linebacker Kain Medrano among others.

The Bruins will join the Big Ten Conference for the 2024 season with an unfavorable schedule that features a nonconference game against LSU before playing Oregon, Penn State, Washington and USC.

Several UCLA running backs, including starting running back TJ Harden, have shared posts on social media asking for DeShaun Foster to become the head coach.

Foster is a former player and running backs coach for the program, who took a job as the Las Vegas Raiders’ running backs coach earlier this month. He was promoted to associate head coach before the 2023 season by Kelly.

“The qualities I’m looking for: First, we want a person of integrity. We do things the right way here at UCLA. We don’t cut corners. We do it right.” Jarmond explained. “This is a tough job being a football head coach, nowadays in this world you need a CEO who embraces all aspects of a successful program. That’s NIL. That’s recruiting. That’s donor relations. That’s the development of young people. It’s all of that.”

Jarmond stated he spoke to the players soon after the coach did and mentioned that the program’s culture is important and that the players share similar qualities they look for in their next coach.

“One of the things that the young men mentioned was they wanted someone that can relate to them,” Jarmond said. “That relates to them not only as a football player, but a young man off the field. They want someone that they can talk to and connect with. That’s important to them.”

Jarmond also confirmed that Kelly must pay UCLA a $1.5 million buyout. Kelly’s decision to pursue an opportunity at Ohio State will reunite him with head coach Ryan Day and Justin Frye, the associate head coach for the offense.

Frye was Kelly’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at UCLA before leaving for a job with the Buckeyes in 2022. Day played quarterback at New Hampshire with Kelly as his offensive coordinator from 1999 to 2001. Kelly went on to become the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and hired Day as his quarterbacks coach in 2015. Day also followed Kelly to San Francisco where both held the same positions for the 49ers.

Day and Kelly were on a golf course together when they found out that the Bruins would be joining the Big Ten in June 2022.

Kelly finishes his UCLA tenure with a 35-34 overall record (26-26 in Pac-12 play). The Bruins were 6-12 against teams ranked in the Top 25 with Kelly at the helm and were bowl-eligible just three times during his tenure.

The Bruins (7-5 overall, 4-5 Pac-12) finished the 2023 regular season losing three of their last four conference games, with the only victory coming in a rout of crosstown rivals Caleb Williams and USC. In December, the Bruins used a strong third-quarter effort to beat Boise State in the LA Bowl at SoFi Stadium.

Several reports over the past month had indicated that Kelly was exploring opportunities to return to the NFL.

He has a 28-35 NFL record after coaching the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2015) and the San Francisco 49ers (2016) before he arrived in Westwood.

First appeared on www.dailynews.com

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