Stricklin, UF officials pay Kelly a visit

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

[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.


          • gelco 30. Charlie Strong was set up for failure at Texas. He should have never gone there. Big mistake. But he cleaned up that sorry program at the time and recruited well. But the problems he inherited there were just too big to overcome and the boosters there did not want him to overcome those problems. Charlie recruited Bridgewater and most of the talent that won big at Louisville, including a thrashing of Florida and Muschamp in the Sugar Bowl. And Strong is doing an excellent job at USF this year and has a big game coming up this weekend vs. Frost and USF. And there is no finer person on earth than Charlie Strong. None. I met coach Strong in Tampa for the Outback Bowl (Florida DC at the time) and talked at length him. I came away from that conversation as impressed as I have ever been with anyone I have met for the first time. He knows football, is a great recruiter, is incredibly sincere and open, and develops great relationships with players and with fans if given the opportunity to do so. Give him a great OC at Florida and I believe he would win big in Gainesville. BIG. But I doubt he will ever get that chance. But I certainly would love to see him get it. Maybe he will.

          • Rick; Strong could and probably is a great guy. Does not mean he’s a great coach. He was 16-21 at UT on the biggest stage. He never even made .500, and UT gets the best players in the state. He lost to the coCains in the Peach Bowl. He had two successful years riding Bridgewater, then cashed in for big bucks although he failed. I would love him as an assistant at UF, but not as HC. Not even DC. I’ll never forget him giving away the game to the noles with a three man rush, not once, but twice. I agree with Brewski on this one. I’d much rather have Kelly, Frost, or Mullen (or Leach).

          • Rick Gillmore, a commentor with and opinion like everyone else in here, my comment was for gulf coast gator. Obviously you disagreed with their comment also

          • Derick. Trolls insult people without giving a civil and thoughtful response if they disagree with your post. Or they just post negativity to get under people’s skin. Don’t be one. That is all I am saying. Simply post an opposing viewpoint or perspective . That is what I did. Otherwise, the blog just gets nasty and decent perspectives disappear in time and only trolls are left. That is their goal. Ruin sites.

  1. Kelly, when he left Oregon and took the Philly job, said that he preferred living on the east coast. Then, after being fired by SF, he returned to live in New Hampshire on the east coast. Last time I checked, Florida has an east coast and California does not. But I am sure he and his agent will use UCLA to get a bigger paycheck from Florida. Meanwhile, the best head coach for Florida may be currently coaching at USF in Tampa. Charlie Strong. Maybe he will eventually get the job by process of elimination………….
    Kelly from ESPN to UCLA
    Mullen from MSU to Tennessee
    Frost from UCF to Nebraska
    Kiffin from FAU to UCF
    The Auburn coach goes to Arkansas
    Muschamp leaves SC to head back to Auburn
    SC hires current DC Robinson as their head coach
    Morris from SMU to Texas A&M
    Strong is then hired by Florida and Strong hires Sumlin as his OC and keeps Shannon as DC. Shannon keeps Rumph, the running backs coach, and the LBs coach from the current staff.

    • Then Florida keeps failing at defense since our top defense failed miserably this year, the 1st year of Shannon as defensive coordinator! This is what he called “simplifying it”, so simple it didnt work!

      • You do realize 7 players were drafted from the defense right? You do realize they then lost their leading tackler and leader of the defense during preseason and were starting multiple true freshman all year long on top of the insane amount of injuries for a second year in a row, right? You really expected the defense to not miss a beat? Go back and look at the 2007 defense under Meyer for a similar comparison. This was a defensive rebuilding season no matter how you look at it. It certainly wasn’t a reflection of Shannon’s coaching.

      • daz. Shannon simplified because of the youth and inexperience on the defensive side of the roster, and especially at LB and in the secondary. And a ton of injuries to key players did not help Shannon this year, along with suspensions. And the defense did not lose key games to LSU and A&M. But it lacked depth and experience in games vs. Georgia, SC, and Missouri. Shannon is a really good defensive mind and would have accomplished a lot more with more luck and a good offense this year. Just my perspective. And, if Shannon is not retained by the new HC, he will be in high demand as coaches seek to add brilliant defensive minds and leadership skills to their staffs.

    • Rick…I concur with most of your statements on this site…but, Charlie Strong as our coach…I have to say no…although like you said he is a very good man and his wife is a true sweetheart….I know him well and admire him and his family tremendously…some people are better situated as position coaches rather than a head coach,,, and I truly believe Charlie is better off as position coach at a power 5 conference, however at a non-power conference he nay do well…Florida needs and deserves a proven coach rather than an experimental coach, which over the past several years is exactly what we’ve had…but, I do wish Charlie , well…If we don’t get Kelly…my next choice would be Campbell …now there’s a guy who can win big boy games, both at home and away…his resume is very impressive, so far…

  2. There’s enough of an interest from Kelly for UAA to load the plane and make an offer in person. With all the openings right now, this environment is an agent’s dream. Not many schools can play in the Kelly Sweepstakes right now.

    • Well said. Unfortunately, Florida NEEDED a delegation to undo the PR disaster of SOS pushing for Frost on the radio and for waiting so damned long. Now, Kelly is going to sweat them for at least a day. Maybe now he doesn’t head to Gainesville at all because he doesn’t like what he hears about Spurrier and Foley lurking resentfully in the wings despite assurances from the plane full of brass (Spurrier should have been on that plane too to show solidarity). If Kelly says “no”, Florida needs to learn from what will become a major PR calamity. They will need to silence and exorcise the old ghosts haunting the program or the AD will be toothless and athletics seen to be run by a sort of shadow government that makes Florida too much a pain in the arse to work there. The good news is that UCLA’s academic requirements eliminate many prospects a priori and UF has far deeper pockets from which to compensate Kelly.

      • Spurrier and Foley want the best for UF and in my opinion have the right to voice their opinion regarding the next head football coach. I also know Spurrier made a statement saying he will support whatever decision Scott Stricklin makes regarding the new coach. I do know it’s important we hire someone with prior head coaching experience which Kelly has, however we need a coach who really wants to be the Gators Head Coach and I don’t get that from Kelly. Also, the suggestion Kelly might be reluctant to come to UF because of comments Foley and Spurrier made makes me wonder if he has the gumption to be the Gator Head Coach!! I just hope our new coach has great coaching ability as well as the coaching staff he hires. Our players deserve more than the same old tired plays they endured this year! Go Gators!!!

  3. If not Chip Kelly, then Mike Norville. Dan Mullen’s wife doesn’t like the pressure that is Florida and Frost would most likely jump at the chance to coach his alma matter. Nebraska has deep pockets as well. As far as keeping Shannon, not in a coordinator position. The defense was really bad this year and his defenses at Miami were ok. Regarding his ability to recruit, he is responsible for all of these 3 star players that we can’t seem to get coached up. He is good in press conferences and he is a good guy but not a great coach. No matter who the University hires, we all hope it will be somebody with energy, vigor, great coaching ability, and one that will put together a coaching staff that knows how to coach. Go Gators!

    • Yeah cause there’s a lot of defensive coaches out there that could lose 7 players to the draft, lose their leading tackler to an Achilles injury in the offseason, have several injuries to starters throughout the season and staring multiple true freshman and not miss a beat and have a top 10 defense, right? A lot of Gator fans are something else with their ridiculous expectations.

      • Joe you have a short memory. Muschamp had many injuries to his defenses when he was in Gainesville and yet we continued to dominate. He also lost a lot of players to the NFL every year as did Meyer. When you come in as a highly regarded recruiter and constantly only get 3 star players and no quality back-ups, you are not meeting expectations. If you are a position coach who cannot even recruit your position (Florida has had a lack of talent at linebackers the entire time Shannon has been here), then again you aren’t meeting expectations. It is not a ridiculous expectation to expect that a highly regarded recruiter and defensive mind would both recruit well and coach their side of the ball well. Perhaps you think the collapse of the defense is a good thing.

  4. ”A word of advice for Chip Kelly, Scott Frost, Dan Mullen or whoever the poor soul is who inherits the smoldering tire fire that former Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain has left behind. You better be an offensive genius, a defensive mastermind, a relentless recruiter, a strength and conditioning guru, an exacting disciplinarian and a facilities architect. In short, you better be a magician and a miracle worker.”
    ~(whinny) Mike Bianchi from Orlando’s news paper.
    And ”IF” Chip Kelly got hired, some Gator fans will be happy, and others won’t. I really feel for A.D. Stricklin, because not every Gator fan will be happy. That’s the only certainty in this uncertain search for a new Head Coach.

  5. Florida needs a leader who can instill in the players a commitment to playing sound, fundamental football. They need to execute consistently. The scheme won’t matter if players constantly miss their assignments as they have done the past few years. The primary difference I see in UGA this year to last is that Georgia’s players now execute with much greater consistency than the rest of the teams in the East. Is Kelly the guy to instill some some toughness in this team? Looks like we may just find out.

  6. It’s more advantageous for Kelly and his camp to slow play Florida until Dec 2, unless of course Florida gives in to his asking price and conditions. I didn’t get that from a source. It’s an educated guess, if not pure speculation, on my part. Try to relax and enjoy Thanksgiving without being the turkey.

    • rob. I encourage you to take a national poll on Florida being a lateral move from MSU. Please do it and get back to us. I am sure Chip Kelly does not see it that way. Nor Frost. Nor Stricklin, for that matter, since he left MSU for Florida in a none lateral move.

      • Actually, Rick…I think ROB was referring, tongue ‘n’cheek, to Mullens comment …when his DC left MSU to become the DC at Florida…he made the comment he didn’t know why his DC left MSU for a lateral position at Florida.

  7. Kelly, another coach who doesn’t train his players. Oregon was in the pathetic 12 conference. These coaches who don’t get behind strength and conditioning will end up with the Tennessee’s, South Carolina’s. It was not just the players at Georgia but the way they trained and played this year.