- Chris Coduto/Getty
- UCLA has announced that they have hired Chip Kelly to be their next football coach.
- Kelly has agreed to a 5-year, $23.3 million contract.
- Kelly had canceled his normal Saturday studio duties, suggesting a decision was imminent.
- Florida had already moved on to Central Florida coach Scott Frost who is now at the top of their wish list.
The first major chip in the college football coaching carousel fell as Chip Kelly has returned to coaching in a surprising location – UCLA – and the University of Florida has already moving on to their Plan B.
Kelly met with Florida officials about their coaching vacancy and many assumed he would take that job. However, after UCLA abruptly fired Jim Mora Jr. last week, Kelly’s future may have taken a detour and now he has now accepted the Bruins’ job.
According to Bruce Feldman, Kelly has agreed to a 5-year, $23.3 million contract.
Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported on Saturday morning that UCLA was “finalizing a deal” to make Kelly their next football coach. The school later made the move official in a press release.
Earlier, Mark Schlabach of ESPN reported on Saturday morning that Kelly still hadn’t made a final decision but that “all signs point to” Kelly being the next Bruins head coach.
“All signs point to Chip Kelly accepting the UCLA job,” Schlabach said on ESPN. “I’m told he hasn’t made a final decision between the Bruins and Florida. But I was just told that decision could come today or tomorrow.”
Rece Davis of ESPN also noted that Kelly had canceled his normal Saturday studio duties on ESPN2, suggesting that a decision appeared to be imminent. Thamel also said an agreement with UCLA was expected by the end of the weekend.
Schlabach added that UCLA would give Kelly “complete control” of the program and “a top-ten salary.”
The ten highest-paid coaches in college football this season had salaries in the range of $5.0 million to $11.1 million. However, only three coaches – Nick Saban at Alabama, Dabo Swinney at Clemson, and Jim Harbaugh at Michigan – had salaries over $6.4 million. It is not clear how much Kelly’s salary will be next season, but his $4.7 million average annual salary would have ranked 11th in 2017.
Florida had already moved on.
- Logan Bowles/Getty Images
As for the Gators, Schlabach said they appeared to have moved on and that Central Florida head coach Scott Frost is at the top of their list now.
“Florida officials appear to be moving on,” Schlabach said. “A UF official told me yesterday that they feel their chances of landing Kelly has greatly diminished since meeting with him in New Hampshire last Sunday. Florida officials were hoping to meet with Frost and/or his representatives in Orlando on Sunday… But certainly Scott Frost is at the top of Florida’s wish list.”
UCF just completed an undefeated regular season, just two years after going winless.
Florida will need to move quickly on Frost. Nebraska fired head coach Mike Riley on Saturday and will almost certainly make a run at Frost. Schlabach said Frost would have a hard time turning down the school where he won a national championship as a player.
“Somebody close to Frost has told me if Tom Osborne comes calling, Frost is going to have a hard time turning down his alma mater,” Schlabach said.