In a stunning turnabout, Oregon coach Chip Kelly has now changed his mind and will coach the Eagles, according to multiple reports. The news was first reported by Chris Mortensen of ESPN. The Eagles have confirmed the hiring.
Kelly had initially declined an offer to coach the Eagles, deciding instead to return to Oregon, a move aided in part by lucrative financial inducements from Nike CEO Phil Knight.
But Kelly reversed course and opted to go to the Eagles. He had also been offered the job as the Browns' head coach.
The Eagles had targeted Kelly as their No. 1 choice and met with him shortly after the Ducks played in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl earlier this month. Kelly also spoke to the Browns, and was the top choice for both clubs. But he announced that he was returning to Oregon, prompting both clubs to look elsewhere.
The Browns hired Panthers offensive coodinator Rob Chudzinski to succeed Pat Shurmur as head coach. The Eagles moved on to interview other candidates, most recently Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who met with the team yesterday. Bradley flew to Jacksonville this morning to interview for the Jaguars' head coaching vacancy. The Eagles also interviewed college coaches Bill O'Brien of Penn State, Brian Kelly of Notre Dame and Doug Marrone of Syracue.
“Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh energetic approach to our team.”
The 49-year-old Kelly had been with the University of Oregon since 2007, including the last four years as head coach. Kelly compiled a 46-7 (.868) record as head coach. He also worked as the team’s offensive coordinator from 2007-08.
Before joining the University of Oregon, Kelly was the offensive coordinator for the University of New Hampshire, his alma mater, from 1999-2006. He was that school’s offensive line coach from 1997 to 1998 and its running backs coach from 1994-96.
Under Kelly in 2012, Oregon averaged nearly 50 points per game (49.6) and his four-year scoring average with the Ducks was a whopping 44.7 points per game.