Title: Chip Kelly Departs UCLA to Assume New Role as Ohio State’s Offensive Coordinator
Former head coach of UCLA’s football team, Chip Kelly, surprised the sports world by accepting a demotion and leaving the school to become Ohio State’s offensive coordinator. Despite vocal criticism and calls for his job, UCLA had backed Kelly just two months prior to his sudden departure. The news has left UCLA scrambling to find a replacement, as the coaching carousel has slowed down and few top candidates are available.
Kelly’s move to Ohio State took many by surprise, as he was also linked to offensive coordinator positions in the NFL. However, his long-standing ties with Ohio State’s head coach, Ryan Day, seem to have played a significant role in his decision. The departure strains his reputation on campus, as it was marked by an abrupt exit.
UCLA athletic director, Martin Jarmond, expressed his gratitude to Kelly for his time at the school and announced that a nationwide search for a new coach has begun. Jarmond emphasized the need for a CEO-type coach who can effectively handle all aspects of running a successful football program.
While Kelly’s offenses were often successful, the 2023 season saw a step back in performance. Critics also derided Kelly for not fully embracing name, image, and likeness endeavors and for his recruiting efforts, which had a detrimental impact on the program. UCLA’s most recent recruiting class was ranked 58th nationally, marking the lowest point in the program’s recent history.
The departure poses a challenge for UCLA in finding a successor, as the coaching carousel has slowed down, and the pool of available top candidates has dwindled. Potential replacements for Kelly include Nebraska defensive coordinator Tony White, former Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Stanford coach David Shaw, former USC and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, and Cleveland Browns tight ends coach Tommy Rees.
UCLA must also anticipate potential roster turnover, as players are given 30 days to enter the transfer portal after a coaching change. The incoming head coach will face the daunting task of navigating a tough 2024 schedule, with hopes of achieving greater success than Kelly’s teams, which never finished higher than tied for second in the Pac-12 South.
As part of his contract, Kelly will need to pay UCLA a $1.5 million buyout. This financial requirement further underscores the magnitude of his departure.
With Kelly’s departure and UCLA’s search for a new leader underway, the future of the football program hangs in the balance. As eager fans and players await the announcement of a new head coach, all eyes will be on UCLA’s next move to determine the trajectory of the program in the coming seasons.