Florida awaiting Kelly’s decision

Former NFL and Oregon coach Chip Kelly is deciding on UF and UCLA. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Florida’s pursuit of Chip Kelly will come down to the coach’s decision between the Gators and UCLA, according to multiple reports.

Florida officials, led by athletic director Scott Stricklin, met with Kelly in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on Sunday to confirm his interest in the job, although money wasn’t discussed and no contract has been offered, according to industry sources.

“We continue to have very productive conversations related to our football team,” Stricklin told reporters at the airport late Sunday. “We’ve got a process we’re going through. There will probably be some more productive conversations in the days ahead. Lot of interest in the job.”

Kelly has been the target of UF since the week after Jim McElwain was fired.

UCLA met with Kelly on Tuesday, according to reports. The coach is mulling over both offers. Tennessee also jumped into the fray according to reports but he was not interested.

The 53-year-old Kelly, a New Hampshire native who is working for ESPN as a football analyst, is the only coach involved in discussions with UF because UF won’t talk to other coaches until their seasons are finished.

Kelly went 46-7 in four years (2009-12) at Oregon, which averaged 44.7 points a game during that span. He led Oregon to big bowls in each of his four seasons: Rose, the BCS title game, Rose and Fiesta.

Kelly’s tenure in the NFL was not as successful. He went a combined 28–35 in head coaching stints at Philadelphia (2013-15) and San Francisco (last season).


  1. If Kelly does not take the job (which I think he will), offer it to Charlie Strong. Then, go get Frost’s OC at UCF (Waters) with a nice paycheck offer, keep the RBs and LBs coaches, and Shannon at DC. That would be a great coaching staff and they would be a heck of a recruiting team. Just an idea.

    • What proof do you have that Shannon is a great recruiter… I have proof he is not.
      Amari Cooper 5* went to Alabama, Calvin Ridley 5* went to Alabama, both South Florida recruits. Then you have Derrick Henry Heisman trophy winner, Florida recruit that went to Alabama. Alabama has won 3 National Titles on the backs of Florida players if you include Trent Richardson from the panhandle.
      The reason Bama beats FSU and Florida on a regular basis is they have better Florida players than Florida schools. This must end ! Muschamp, McNoCan recruit and Fisher at FSU get their rears handed to them by Saban, simple as that. That school does not recruit anything less than 4* players and on top of that they over recruit and cut loose the 4 and 5’s that do not pan out, Bama calls it Gray Shirting. Saban is not a great coach, he wins because he has better players than you, You can not coach speed, you can not coach God given talent. Saban knows you do not win the Kentucky Derby on a donkey. I always said McElwain’s classes were not Florida type players and I think am right if you look at the roster. We are out matched, all these players should not have been given a scholarship at Florida, if you want to be Vanderbilt then take down the banners and close Championship Hall. But the next coach sure doesn’t have much to work with and he better keep Saban and everyone else out of Florida or whats the point. Like I told an LSU fan last week, you got your rears kicked again because Bama had better Louisiana players than you and LSU does. Recruiting ladies and gentleman its 85% recruiting that wins titles…. Fact !
      This coaching staff has failed miserably at that and every single one of them and their losing ways need to go… They do not hate losing enough to ever be winners. Including the no recruiting loser Shannon.

        • So you are saying we should just quit recruiting Florida’s 5* recruits and just be mediocre at best until he quits. That is all you have… Well I have news for you, somewhere you lost and you quit, so you are just a quitter, like our coaches have been at Florida for almost 7 years now. You just made my point that Shannon and this staff are losers so we should just keep them because we cant compete with Saban and Smart ( I call him Kirby Dumb ) because he is a fraud and in Atlanta, like the Auburn game he was and will be exposed. All due respects Derick, Sad Statement sir. And it is no answer to our problem at Florida. But thank you for proving my point, fans and coaches have quit at Florida. Everyone can be beat, even Saban with the right man, being a leader.

          • Why the hostility to Kirby Smart, Barry? He’s obviously a good coach, at least it seems that way so far (limited sample of games, you know the drill). He’s got a good team this year, probably for the next couple of years….big deal. Got his ass handed to him by Auburn, OK, it happens, maybe Auburn beats Bama and Georgia beats Auburn next time around in a couple of weeks. Our day will come again, at least I’m counting on it. Nobody wants to be “Vandy”, right? But I will concede your point for sure on recruiting and that Nick Saban isn’t the 2nd Coming of Bear Bryant….he does, however, recruit, recruit, recruit. You’re also spot on that he can be beaten, it has happened and will happen again. Maybe it’s Auburn’s turn?

      • Shannon was an assistant coach at Arkansas for alot of the time these recruiting battles took place. Richardson played at Alabama from 2009-2011.Shannon left Miami in 2010 and wasn’t even coaching in 2011. Shannon was a LB at TCU (2012) Arkansas (2013-2014) during alot of this time. He didn’t get Florida till 2015. Shannon is a good recruiter. But he wasn’t at Florida under Will Muschamp, when Cooper (2012-2014) and Henry (2013-2015) played

    • Rick Gilmore; Frost would be my next choice (or first), but I think your idea posted here has a lot of merit. While Strong failed at Texas, he was very successful at Louisville in part because of his ability to recruit the state of Florida. I think he and Shannon would be a powerful recruiting tandem against UM and FSU in south Florida. Just my thoughts as well.

    • I have a hunch–and that’s all it is, although pretty strong–that Kelly isn’t coming to Florida. I don’t think he ever was, but of course I could be wrong. Hell, I hope I’m wrong on both counts. Big fan of Charlie Strong myself, and c the advantage of being here in Texas not too far from Austin, I don’t consider him a failure there…..there were a lot of 8-Balls thrown in front of him from the get-go…..I’ll leave that alone….but c him deciding to clean house (which seriously needed done), it would have taken a good deal more time to put Texas back on its feet than he was ever going to be allowed. At the end of the day, though, I don’t seriously think we’d get him. I agree c both you and Dan, however, in that if we did, and got Frost’s OC as well as keeping Shannon at DC plus some other coaching changes…..well….that’s a winning ticket. Appreciate the AD’s strategy here, but damned if the clock isn’t ticking faster than we need it to right now.

    • No to Charlie Strong….he is a undisciplined and inconsistent coach. His current team leads the country in penalties and in penalized yardage. The gators have enough problem without adding this to the mix!

      • Charlie Strong is not the answer. If Florida were to hire him I think most of Gator Nation would feel a huge sense of disappointment. Good coordinator and good recruiter. He’ll always be a middle of the road head coach. Strong, IMO, is way down on the potential hire list.

        Go get Scott Frost. Not only is he a better fit but I think Kelly will take the UCLA gig. Expectations at UCLA are far less than they are at Florida. Couple that with a soft PAC10 and he’s set up for success right out of the gate. Money will be a non-issue.

        If Florida fails to land Kelly or Frost I’m not sure there is a clear #3 and I’m not real keen on finding out. Florida will be reaching at that point. The drop off after Kelly and Frost is steep.

  2. Hey Rick. We both know UF will not offer Charlie Strong no matter what. Frankly, I’d not want him as HC or DC. I’d actually prefer Scott Frost to Kelly, in that a fire burns strong in his belly that may not be present in Kelly. I also am not a fan of Shannon as DC because of the huge drop off this year with our defense and Shannon as first year DC and the lack of linebackers we have from someone who supposedly is a great recruiter. It’s probably moot who as established HCs will bring in their own DC and OC. Since we’re fantasizing wouldn’t it be great to have whoever comes in grab THBC as the OC? Imagine if Kelly were the HC and SOS was the OC. Now THAT would be fun. We would have the most entertaining press conferences in the nation.

    • I’m beginning to be sort of persuaded of that too, Joseph. But I still think Kelly is the best choice right now, if we can get him. That seems like a pretty big “if”. I’d be happy c Frost, naturally, but not being able to talk to him until everybody else can (eg, Nebraska, TAMU, Ol’ Miss, Tenn…et al) might be a bigger hitch in our get-along than we suspect.

  3. Think about this story, and the lead in:
    “Florida’s pursuit of Chip Kelly will come down to the coach’s decision between the Gators and UCLA, according to multiple reports.”
    Multiple reports? These are internet speculations from various on line venues, like SBNation etc… This is the internet giving life where none exists. No one from UF’s camp or from Kelly’s camp are saying anything. This is all based on speculation that UF met with Kelly as did UCLA. No one knows if Kelly is going to chose who or what. But I for one am so anxious to hear who will be our new HC I come here every morning just to see the latest news.

  4. I can’t understand the obsession with Kelly. Granted per the guidelines Stricklin placed on himself regarding not talking to coaches actively coaching, Kelly apparently is the only one available to talk to. But again, it appears he has been the first choice and has been since McIllwain’s firing. From what I have read about him, his background is not that great with his rather short stay with Oregon, the subsequent charges of violations during his tenure, his less than stellar time in the NFL, and above all his trading off UCLA and Florida now. And again, he apparently is not that easy to get along with, not different from McIllwain. The Gators deserve a top notch coach where there is no question he is really committed to the program. Unfortunately we Gators have not had that for awhile.

    • As a Gator (graduated in ’64) who has spent the last 40 years in the Pacific Northwest, I agree with many of Gator68’s points. Kelly had a great run at Oregon (4 years as HC and 2 as an assistant) during a time that the Pac12-North, except for Stanford, was pretty weak. He would certainly improve Florida’s offensive scheme and bring some excitement (at least initially) to the Florida program, but he has zero roots in the state of Florida or the Southeast. Like every other coach in the Pac12, he got his players from California. So my bet is that he will choose UCLA (unless Florida throws a lot more money his way). He knows the territory.

    • Hey Gator68….a chilling thought occurred to me after reading your post. When we got Urban Myer, we weren’t too far removed from being a championship level team. It’s been a long time now, and pretty far removed from elite status. Are we as attractive as we think we are?

  5. The Gators brought the mountain to Mohammad. Mohammad went to the UCLA mountain. It’s hard to tell if the latter indicates more interest. Time will tell I suppose.

    In the meantime let’s go kick some Seminole behind! GO GATORS!!!

  6. My first choice would be Kelly, with Shannon retained as DC. I’d keep Shannon because this year’s Gators could have quit after the Georgia game, but Shannon got them to play hard and keep fighting.

    How about this? If Kelly goes to UCLA, hire Strong as head coach, keep Shannon as DC, hire Scotty Spurrier as OC – and bring the Fun N Gun back to The Swamp

  7. You people who think Strong is a good candidate are crazy! He and Taggart are dead last on all the potential suitors to the position. Strong FAILED at Texas, what makes you think he will do any better here? Plus the guy is a defensive coach, Gator Nation is starving for offense. Kelly, Frost, Mullen, Norvell in that order.

    • Chris. Strong has a really good offense at USF and had an outstanding offense at Louisville. And offense was not the problem at Texas even. They scored a ton of points. Defense was the main problem, as Strong came in and dismissed about half his roster at Texas, many of which were on the defensive side of the ball. He cleaned up that troubled program and it cost him his job.

  8. This all sounds like nonsense. Why would Kelly take seriously any offer that did not include a discussion of money? Why would his agent even allow him to consider an offer in which no money was even mentioned? No money= not a serious discussion. It’s either not true, or else we are not serious about Kelly. When grown ups talk about jobs, they always talk about money.

  9. Same old rut with some of the comments above. Let it be a known productive offensive minded coach like Frost or Kelly.Shanon is a so so defensive coach that never blitzes and doesnt know how to be tough but he is a good recruiter, I agree but there are plenty of great defensive coaches that Frost or Kelly could bring in. Lets go with a new name, not has beens that never won major championships. For Charlie Strong Fans, wait until the Central Fla and South fla teams meet this weekend and you will see Strong cannot compete with Frost.

  10. Why would Stricklin have painted himself in a corner by stating he would not directly engage an active head coach until after their season is over, UNLESS he only had one candidate in mind from the get-go? (Kelly). My hunch is Kelly has just been toying with us, waiting for something more to his liking. Other schools are not limiting themselves from talking to other active head coaches (and that usually is a courtesy that is not extended–this is the big boy league).

    If UCF wins this weekend, that is another week gone, and we lose our chance of having a new HC named before early signing period, which was one of the stated goals, wasn’t it? (Assuming Frost is #2 choice).

    I think we swung and missed on Kelly–which will be a big embarrassment if true, given his NCAA issues. Sort of like selling your soul to the devil, then him saying no…

    • KG; Operative word on Stricklin’s statement is “directly” engage. This is big time money involved requiring big time salaries to run these programs, so there is no doubt that anyone in Stricklin’s position will have sole leval of back room contact between agents of UAA and the agent of any actively employed coach to gauge interest as early in the process that is needed. For example, and just guessing here, but Frost’s agent may have already advised a UAA emissary that his client has his heart set on Nebraska. Agents for coaches like Strong and Taggert may have quietly answered inquiries with their desire to not change jobs after only one year at their current spot. These are things that none of us know for sure, but logic and good business sense should give at least an idea that these things have occurred at some level already.

  11. All you guys are screaming for offense and that is very important, but defense wins a lot of games in the SEC, and can not be ignored. You can score 40 but if you don’t play D, it doesn’t matter, jut ask Summerlin TA&M, this is my what scares me about Kelly, Oregon put up 40 but gave up 45 a lot of times, No D, can not win in this league with that type of program, If I could get a quality Coach from out west, best fit for Florida would be Shaw out of Stanford, knows how to play SEC football, out west and has been successful.

  12. I don’t know what the issue with Dan Mullen is, but I think somebody needs to get over it and talk to him; we have passed by the most successful offensive mind to ever hit Gainesville other than Spurrier- and a guy who has a proven track record in developing QBs. He can recruit to Starkville, so he can recruit to G’ville. Also, he has ties to Florida and certainly knows what Gator Ball is all about- at its best.

  13. Why would we want someone with same disdain for boosters as the one that just got sh#tcanned. The only difference being that Kelly is a real offensive coach instead of a fraud. Scott Frost has worked miracles in just his second year. Listen, Frost was Kelly’s OC at Oregon. Just imagine what he could do with the resources Florida has to offer. I suggest watching UCF v USF. GO GATORS!!! BEAT fswho.

  14. Stop with the retreads and spewing all the same stuff. Chip will go to UCLA but has baggage anyway. His system was great for a week PAC-12 at the time. Look to the future, take a risk. We should be looking at Jedd Fisch,(UCLAs OC) see what Spurrier thinks. Or even Jim Mora who just got fired from UCLA. Yeah he got let go but so did Mark Richt last year and now look at Miami!

  15. It’s all about the money. If Kelly has a clause in his buy-out about not coaching in 2017, then he obviously would not want to jeopardize payment without careful consideration of timing.

    Florida also has timing concerns and does not want to be be left waiting at the altar. Sounds like a reasonable basis for the outlines of the agreement being reported by multiple sources.

    I’m not so sure about Kelly and how he would do here. The price tag is going to be hefty. Getting a just past prime, superstar football coach is a new twist for Florida. It’s going to be a big challenge to come into the South and the SEC and make an immediate impact. How much drive and passion is left in Kelly for the rigors of college coaching and recruiting?

    If he doesn’t work out? It’s going to set the Florida program back again. It reminds me of the decline of the UT program. Mike Hamilton was the new AD eager to make his mark on the Volunteers, bringing in superstar coach Lane Kiffin. New trophy cases were being ordered in Knoxville with the announcement.

    If Kelly is hired and it works out, then Gator fans will be happy and Stricklin will be a genius. There’s a lot riding on this first major decision of our new AD, the first head football coach he’s hired.

  16. If Chip Kelly, in my opinion, wants the job at U.F., and wants to compete in this tough SEC, he’ll sign-on this weekend (by Sunday night). I don’t see it happening though, kinda’ like Urban, he’s using Florida as a ”stepping stone”. But unlike Urban, who served 5 good years here, and a couple not so good, Kelly is just using U.F. to get a better paying deal elsewhere… like U.C.L.A. Where the pressure isn’t as tough, the comp isn’t as rough, and that says it all about Chip’s so-called competitive nature. Chip Kelly’s no Nick Saban, he’s no Steve Spurrier, he’s not even an Urban Meyer! So, U.F., go and get Strong, then get Kerwin as his O.C., and let’s re-do this thing, ”GATOR STYLE”! COME ON GATORS, GET UP AND GET THIS RIGHT!