The long-awaited return to the NFL may be coming sooner for another one of college football’s most notable coaches. News broke on Tuesday night that UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly was interviewing for the open Seattle Seahawks’ offensive coordinator position.
Does this mean the end is officially here for the Kelly Era at UCLA?
Chip Kelly Interviewing with NFL
Kelly, who famously returned to the college football sidelines with the Bruins, has had a love-hate relationship with the Bruins fan base since he took over in 2018.
Famous for his offensive success over his career, it took a while for the Bruins to see the rewards of his offensive mind, and aside from the COVID-shortened 2021 season, UCLA hasn’t finished higher than fifth in the Pac-12 during his tenure.
With his previous NFL ties, it hadn’t been a surprise to hear his name in NFL coaching carousels over the past few seasons, but he seemingly never put pen to paper following any official interviews. However, this year may be different as it was reported he’s interviewing for a return to the Pacific Northwest to boot.
The Ringer’s Benjamin Solak tweeted late on Tuesday night that Kelly was interviewing with the Seattle Seahawks for their open offensive coordinator job.
Solak, not known for breaking news, is in person during Super Bowl week, and multiple outlets seemingly confirmed the news. If this truly were the end of the Kelly era at UCLA, fans likely would sour on the timing but absolutely be relieved after years of frustration with the program under his leadership.
Kelly’s Tenure at UCLA
Over the past six seasons, Kelly’s turnaround with the Bruins took some time. He has compiled a 35-34 overall record and a 26-26 conference record since the 2018 season.
While respectable, it wasn’t nearly what was promised nor hoped for when Kelly was announced as UCLA’s head coach. Having put forth a 46-7 record as the head coach at Oregon from 2009-2012, the bar was set ridiculously high for Kelly’s success rate with the Bruins.
Still, after three consecutive losing seasons to start his time at UCLA, fans wanted him out ahead of the 2021 campaign. New athletic director Martin Jarmond commanded change at the time of his hiring, but after a successful turnaround that saw UCLA win at least eight games in each of the past three seasons, Kelly had maintained his presence on the sidelines.
With his interviewing with Seattle, it’s clear that Kelly is either feeling the pressure of the rigors of being a college football in today’s landscape or feeling the proverbial heat from the hot seat he’s on with the Bruins.
Whether or not he is offered the job with the Seahawks, the real question now remains: Is the damage already done? Will the UCLA fans welcome him back to the sidelines or has his seat gotten any hotter?
No matter how it’s sliced, it’s apparent this is heading toward one final resolution and fans should start to wonder what’s next.
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