Report: Chip Kelly expected to decide between Florida and UCLA soon
The former Oregon coach is one of the hottest commodities on the coaching market
Update: While the possible return of Chip Kelly to the college coaching ranks remains fluid, two reports have stated that Florida and UCLA are the prime candidates to land the former Oregon coach.
ESPN reports that Kelly met with UCLA officials on Tuesday and is expected to decide between the Bruins and the Gators "in the next few days." That report also states that former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman, who is a member of the program's search committee, is orchestrating a "full-court press" to get Kelly, who is not expected to entertain any other college offers.
However, USA Today indicates Kelly's list of suitors could be more wide open. While Florida and UCLA are considered the frontrunners, this report says Kelly is "believed to be intrigued by a potential opportunity at Arizona State." Todd Graham is sill the coach of the Sun Devils. Per USA Today, Kelly has turned down an offer from Tennessee, the potential "mystery team" in the Kelly sweepstakes.
The Gainesville Sun reported Sunday that officials from Florida flew to New Hampshire to meet with Kelly about its vacant coaching position, which just so happened to be the same day that UCLA fired Jim Mora. Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated reported that Kelly will likely be the top target of the Bruins.
Now a third team has reportedly jumped into the ring. But who?
FootballScoop.com reported that, in addition to UCLA officials meeting with Kelly, another school has been in contact with people close to Kelly to gauge interest if the job at the mysterious third school opens up. In other words, that program does not currently have a vacancy.
What school could that be? Reports surfaced that Kevin Sumlin's divorce from Texas A&M on Saturday, regardless of outcome. Nebraska coach Mike Riley's time in Lincoln seems to be coming to an end relatively soon, as does Bret Bielema's at Arkansas. The Razorbacks are set to make a push for Auburn's Gus Malzahn after the season, which could open up another high-profile program that's married to spread principles in a fertile recruiting ground.
One thing is certain, though. As CBS Sports' own, Kelly is the real superstar coach driving the 2017 silly season, not Jon Gruden.
So what factors will Kelly be considering?
Money is not going to be an object for any of the heavy-hitters in this market; it will be more about fit.
Does Kelly want to get in the rough-and-tumble SEC recruiting wars, despite publicly sayin in 2013 -- when he was coach of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles -- that he doesn't miss recruiting at all? Would he favor a return to the West Coast where, even though he's a New Hampshire native, he found the most success he's had as a head coach? How would he fit in at Texas A&M after the fact that he received an 18-month show cause order for his part in the improper use of recruiting services from Willie Lyles, who was based in Texas?
That all remains to be seen.
But it's clear at this point that the market for Kelly right now is white hot and about to crank up to "scorching."
Kelly was 46-7 in four years as Oregon's coach from 2009-12. He won the Pac-10/Pac-12 championship in each of his first three seasons at the helm and earned a berth in the BCS Championship Game following the 2010 season. He spent four seasons in the NFL from Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15) and San Francisco 49ers (2016), compiling a record of 28-35.
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