[Updated: 7 a.m., 11-20] Florida made its pitch to former Oregon and NFL coach Chip Kelly on Sunday, flying UAA members, including athletic director Scott Stricklin, to New Hampshire to interview him about the school’s vacant head football coach’s position, multiple sources told The Sun.
It was not known whether Kelly was offered or accepted the job, as some reports suggested Sunday night. He still might be interested in talking to UCLA, which fired head coach Jim Mora on Sunday.
Kelly to Florida rumors have been swirling since last weekend. There have been reports that Kelly has been offered the job and a deal is in place, but UF has not confirmed the hiring and according to a source the deal is not finalized.
The UF contingent flew from Ocala to New Hampshire on Sunday to meet with Kelly. Kelly was not on the plane that returned to Ocala on Sunday night.
“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.”
Numerous UF players reacted to the Kelly rumors Sunday night on Twitter, all posting a contemplative emoji over a short span.
Stricklin said his search for a new coach is going to be private. It has been thus far, with almost zero information leaking last week from credible sources.
Kelly has been considered a candidate for the job since the start of the search, and interviewing him Sunday could be just part of the process.
Kelly has been listed as one of the top candidates to fill the Gators’ vacant coaching job. His name has been burning up social media since Jim McElwain was cut loose Oct. 29.
“I really enjoy doing what I’m doing now,” Kelly said when asked Sunday about the Florida job on ESPN where he works as an analyst. “I think Florida is an outstanding program and has had so much success with Urban (Meyer) and Steve Spurrier. I think whoever gets that job would be really lucky.”
The 53-year-old Kelly went 46-7 in four years (2009-12) at Oregon, which averaged 44.7 points a game during that span. Oregon lost to Auburn in the national title at the end of the 2010 season. His final team in 2012 went 12-1 and averaged 49.6 points per game. He left Oregon shortly before NCAA sanctions were handed down.
Kelly was hit with “failure to monitor” in the Will Lyles case. Kelly also was handed an 18-month show-cause penalty after he left to become the head coach for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
Oregon was accused of paying $25,000 to Lyles, a 7-on-7 coach, in exchange for his guiding players to the Ducks. The NCAA ruled that Kelly wasn’t aware of Lyles’ actions but said he was responsible for ensuring his program was in compliance.
Kelly’s show-cause penalty expired in late 2014, meaning he and any school that hires him would face no restrictions or penalties related to the Lyles case.
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).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.